BTwatch
This release
: #301
December 2018: 54pp
Releases/year: 10+
Click for more details of this release

Executive brief

Group

Research & Innovation: Watson calls for convergence and collaboration [p.6]

  • McRae talks tough with vendors…
  • … but has positive words for Huawei

Restructuring: Facilities management outsourced in restructuring step [p.10]

Suppliers: BT to remove Huawei from EE core as controversy rumbles [p.12]

  • Tensions rise between UK watchdog and vendor
  • Political pressure builds across the West

People [p.15]

  • Table: People movements

Consumer

5G: EE to use network slicing for football broadcasts in 2019 [p.19]

ESN: Emergency Services Network enters network coverage testing phase [p.20]

  • ESN products revealed to date
  • telent on a roll
  • LinkedIn chat reveals continuing concerns, suggests 5G research could help

Products & Services: Launch of Smart Hub 2 and Complete Wi-Fi for BT Plus customers [p.24]

  • Smart Hub 2 capabilities trumpeted
  • BT still adding gloss to packages

Tarriffs & Pricing: Pressure builds on BT pricing practices [p.27]

  • CMA provides added impetus

Television Services: BT-backed YouView ties with Amazon, VOD 365 [p.29]

Enterprise

Public Sector Contracts: BT cops IT implementation contract with police chiefs [p.31]

  • Northern Ireland provides further good news

INLINKUK [p.32]

Global Services

Cloud Services: BT's cloud disperses [p.35]

Contracts: BT has good SD-WAN chemistry with IXOM [p.36]

BT Security: BT Security plans European surge [p.38]

Openreach

Networks: Forward-focused Openreach tripping up on current capacity problems [p.41]

  • Openreach on the case
  • Openreach trials going slower to speed up

Competitors: Openreach ready for fibre build battle royale [p.44]

  • Brexit raises its head
  • Openreach faces new kid on the block for full-fibre
  • FibreNation in search of street cred
  • Ofcom gets 'flexible' on fibre regs

Further reading

Index

Symbols

21st Century Fox
- Sky
- NOW TV 29
Sky Sports 50

A

ADVA Optical Networking 7
Alphabet
- Google
- YouTube 19
Amazon 28, 29, 35
- Alexa 29
- Amazon Prime 29
- Amazon Web Services 35
Apple 24
Arqiva 29
Aviva 15

B

Betfred 28
BMW 17
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 15, 28, 29
- iPlayer 29
Broadband Forum 6, 19
BT Group 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 21, 27, 45
- Asia
-- Tech Mahindra 9
- BT Consumer 19, 24, 45
-- BT Cloud 35
-- BT Scotland 15
-- BT TV 26
-- Plusnet 24
- BT Enterprise
-- BT Business & Public Sector 15
-- BT Facilities Services 10
-- BT Fleet 17
-- BT Ireland 33
-- BT Wholesale & Ventures 15
-- InLinkUK 32, 50
- BT Global Services 9, 15, 34, 35, 36, 39, 51
-- BT Americas 15
-- BT Global Communications India 9
-- BT Security 15, 38, 39, 51
- BT Pension Scheme 15
-- Spencer, Paul 15
-- Thoresen, Otto 15
- BT Technology, Service and Operations
-- 21CN 12
-- Adastral Park 9, 49
-- Azure 23, 31
- Directors
-- du Plessis, Jan 45
-- Rake, Sir Michael 45
- EE 8, 12, 14, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 50
-- Emergency Services Network 12, 20, 50
- Executives
-- Allera, Marc 19
-- Brown, Kevin 15
-- Burger, Bas 15
-- Chamberlain, Gillian 33
-- Dick, Brendan 15
-- Hindhaugh, Jamie 19
-- McRae, Neil 7, 13
-- Meller, Hila 38
-- Murnaghan, Paul 32
-- Selley, Clive 44, 45
-- Watson, Howard 6, 8, 9
-- Watson, Marc 26
-- Wood, Jane 15
- Ex-executives
-- Galvin, Mike 15
-- Hanif, Mansoor 8
-- Hughes, Mark 15
-- Reynolds, Paul 47
-- Staples, Damien 15
- Openreach 15, 20, 21, 25, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51
Business in the Community 15

C

Capgemini 15
Carillion 21
CBRE Group 10, 49
Cisco Systems, Inc. 7
Citrix 35
CityFibre 44, 47
CK Hutchison
- Three Group
-- Three UK 22
Communications Workers Union 10, 49
Competition and Markets Authority 28
Cushman & Wakefield 16

D

Deloitte 15, 31, 50
Deutsche Telekom 48
DMSL 15

E

ECI 43
Eleven Sports Network 26, 28
Emirates Airline 9
ExCel Arena 19

F

Facebook 28
Football Association
Football League 28

G

Google 35
Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ, UK) 13

H

Home Office (UK) 20, 21, 23, 50
Huawei
- Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre 13
Huawei Technologies 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 19, 42, 43, 49

I

IBM 35
Indian Institute of Science 9, 49
INEX 33
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
- Broadband World Forum 6
ISS 10, 49
ITV 29
IXOM 36, 51

K

Kingston Communications (KCOM) 11

L

Liberty Global
- Virgin Media 24, 26, 46, 47
LinkedIn 15, 23

M

M&G Prudential 47
- InfraCapital 47
Microsoft 23, 31, 35
Motorola 20, 21, 23, 50
Motorola Solutions
- Airwave 20, 21, 22, 23

N

National Police Chiefs Council 31
Netflix 29, 50
Nokia 7, 36, 42
- Nuage Networks 36
Northern Ireland Public Sector Shared Network 32, 50

O

Ofcom 8, 11, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51
- USO 11

P

Phones4u 14, 49
PricewaterhouseCoopers 14

Q

Qumu 39

R

Renault 17

S

Samsung 24
Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6, UK) 13
Setanta 28
Setanta Sport 28

T

TalkTalk Telecom Group 24, 25, 29, 46, 47, 51
- FibreNation 46, 47, 51
Tech Mahindra 9
Technology
- 2G 23
- 3G 23
- 5G 6, 7, 8, 13, 19, 23, 49, 50
- Artificial intelligence 29
- Broadband 6, 8, 11, 15, 19, 24, 25, 27, 41, 43, 45, 46, 48, 49, 50, 51
- Convergence 49
- Fibre 24, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51
- Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) 41, 43, 48, 51
- Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) 42, 46, 47
- G.fast 24, 42, 43, 45, 51
- IP 33
- OTT 29
- Unified Communications 39
- VDSL 41, 43
- VDSL2 41, 42, 43
- Vectoring 43, 48
- Wi-Fi 6, 7, 8, 24, 25, 32, 49, 50
Telecom Infra Project 7, 8
Telecom New Zealand 47
Telefónica 14, 22
telent 20, 21, 50
The Climate Group 17
Twitter 10

U

Ultimate Fighting Championship 26
United Nations 17

V

Vodafone 14, 22
- UK 14, 22
Volkswagen 17

W

Which? 27, 50
Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) 6, 8

Y

YouView 15, 29, 50
- Halton, Richard 15

Z

ZTE 13

  • EE’s 4G network coverage for the Emergency Services Network (ESN) is now being tested using an application developed by telent Technology Services.

The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) has started coverage testing of EE’s 4G network that underpins the ESN, using the application-based ESN Assure product developed by Openreach supplier telent Technology Services (see below).

It had been widely expected that ESN Assure would be the first of the ESN services to be rolled out to the emergency services. It is designed to help detect gaps in 4G coverage, with EE required to fill any gaps that fall within its contracted coverage.

The start of network coverage testing certainly suggests that progress is being made with ESN, which is ultimately expected to replace the existing Airwave service. As reported by BTwatch over recent months, the ESMCP has been beset by problems, is well behind schedule and apparently over budget, and has faced persistent speculation that its ESN project could be shelved entirely. Following its latest, recently completed review, the Home Office has now confirmed it will adopt a phased approach to the rollout of ESN, and is due to sign revised contracts with EE and Motorola Solutions by 2019 (BTwatch, #291, #294, #295, #297, and #300).

 

ESN products revealed to date

  • ESN Assure: launched in its first phase on 9 November 2018, the product will help the emergency services to measure ESN coverage in their area and report on where it needs to be improved. It consists of a package of tools on a handheld ESN device including the telent application, which monitors coverage while on the move as well as offering a view of what areas are predicted to be covered.
  • ESN Connect: a SIM-only data connectivity service that will connect vehicle modems with the ESN data service. The solution is expected to be released at the start of 2019.
  • ESN Connect+: a SIM-only voice and data plan that is expected to follow the ESN Connect service.
  • ESN Direct: early access to push-to-talk (PTT) and critical messaging services on a smartphone. Motorola Solutions has already intimated that PTT services on ESN could ultimately be based on technology from its subsidiary Kodiak Networks (BTwatch, #300 and passim). The first iteration of the PTT product is expected to arrive at the end of 2018/start of 2019.
  • ESN Prime: described as the “ fully comprehensive new-generation public safety communications service, on a smartphone”, expected to be available from mid-2020 and completed by end-2022 to mid-2023. It will offer a “full suite” of public safety communications services, including critical voice PTT, messaging, public telephony, video, and ESN Mobile Device Management (the AirWatch application from Motorola Solutions), and is aimed at organisations that are ready to start transitioning from Airwave.

telent on a roll

telent announced in late-November 2018 that it was awarded the “multimillion-pound contract” to test the ESN for the Home Office, and was responsible for the development of the ESN Assure product.

telent’s remit includes the full testing of the 4G commercial network from all of the mobile network providers for the emergency services. It will initially manage up to 150 individual user accounts and 50 simultaneous user logins for access to all software analysis of testing. The vendor highlighted the potential to develop the application to allow for more capabilities once ESN is made available.

The contract additionally includes: drive and walk test services for the ESN and 4G commercial networks; the provision of a helpdesk to support and maintain all components of the solution; a training service; and full reporting on all tests carried out.

The infrastructure services vendor has a longstanding relationship with BT Group as an Openreach supplier, and earlier in 2018 took full control of a major network support services contract with Openreach following the collapse of its joint venture partner Carillion (BTwatch, #2009.07, #250, #284, and #292).

ESN: latest facts and figures from the ESMCP
(updated on 30 November 2018)

  • EE will provide ESN coverage along major and minor roads, selected buildings, road tunnels, and railway facilities, as well as twelve miles out to sea and up to 500 feet above the ground.
  • EE is upgrading its existing commercial 4G network and building new sites to support the ESN. The operator is said to have completed construction of 354 of the new sites required, with the remaining 111 masts “due to be finished shortly”.
  • ESN users will get priority use of the EE 4G network via a dedicated network code and utilise priority radio and core network bearers to access ESN public safety services.
  • The Extended Area Service (EAS) programme is responsible for providing ESN coverage in remote regions by building a new network of masts that will complement the EE network. Construction started on the first mast in the new EAS network on 1 October 2018 at Boreland, near Lockerbie, in Scotland and was completed at the end of October 2018. Thirteen further sites have entered the build stage; 50 are due to be completed in the coming six months and the network is scheduled for completion by end-2019. Around 292 EAS masts are required: 194 new sites, about 18 site shares with other mobile network operators, and around 80 Airwave site shares. All four mobile network operators in the UK — EE, Telefónica UK, Three UK, and Vodafone UK — will have access to the EAS on “equal and non-discriminatory terms.

LinkedIn chat reveals continuing concerns, suggests 5G research could help

John Swarbrick, Founder and Managing Direct of Andromeda, which created a two-way radio system that works over 2G and 3G networks, sparked something of a debate on LinkedIn when he posted a graphic of a “revised timeline” for the ESN project within ESMCP.

In response, Dean Fell, Acting Head of Communications at the ESMCP, told Swarbrick that the graphic was out of date, even though Swarbrick said it was a publicly published Home Office document dated August 2018. As Fell pointed out, the graphic was produced prior to the completion of the recent Home Office review. He did not respond to a request for a more up-to-date timeline.

Subsequent comments highlighted the ongoing concerns within the emergency network community as to whether ESN will be fit-for-purpose to replace Airwave as a communications network for first responders in the UK. Terry Slane, Airwave Network Manager at Merseyside Police, said the new Home Office plan to implement a phased rollout for the ESN “is fine for commercial services”, but warned that a piecemeal approach to replacing Airwave for the emergency services could take police forces back to the days when they were “unable to communicate across their own force areas”.

Peter Clemens, Chief Designer at Quixoticity Index, which provides analysis tools to measure and model the move towards the next generation of critical communications, opined that the incremental approach “is clearly better than the original nonsensical big-bang, but my concern is that there are now too many increments and, ironically, a lack of ambition, playing into the hands of Motorola Solutions”.

In his view, the whole programme requires a fresh look that also encompasses the work being done within 5G testbeds funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, in the areas of software-defined networking, network functions virtualisation, heterogeneous networks, network slicing, and more. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see the idea of a 700MHz 5G slice for emergency services back on the table soon in the UK”, Clemons added. Emergency services use has long been a likely use-case for 5G network slicing, and BT has certainly alluded to its potential for ESN in the past.

  • Motorola Solutions, which not only holds a contract for ESN delivery but also manages the current Airwave contract after buying the remnants of the business in 2016 (BTwatch, #282), announced it had won yet another deal in the UK emergency services field. UK security company G4S awarded Motorola Solutions a ten-year contract to supply what it described as the UK’s “first cloud-based, integrated CommandCentral Control Room Solution [CRS]” to Lincolnshire Police. The deal was touted as preparation for the police force “to use [the ESN’s] enhanced data capabilities”. According to Land Mobile, the contract is worth £6m. Motorola Solutions is said to be using the Microsoft Azure private cloud to host the CRS.

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