LIVE FROM FYUZ22, MADRID: Operators detailed progress in working with the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to bolster global digitalisation efforts through improved mobile access, a feat founding members including Meta Platforms conceded had proven more challenging than they originally expected.

Eran Tal, director of connectivity ecosystems, and Samira Naraghi, director of connectivity partnerships at Meta Platforms explained TIP’s initial work around disaggregating elements in data centres was not easily replicated in the telecoms market.

Tal stated TIP “had a lot more liberty” to tackle data centre disaggregation than a telecoms sector which Naraghi noted brought complexity around “interoperability, safety” and regulatory issues.

Despite the increased complexity, Tal and Naraghi pointed to progress in delivering disaggregation to the telecoms sector: specifications around open RAN were a high-profile example, they noted, while also highlighting progress in testing and validation processes, along with recent movement towards developing open Wi-Fi standards.

TIP chair and Vodafone Group executive Santiago Tenorio highlighted the pay-off of the group’s work in terms of adding value for operators, a feat TIP executive director Kristian Toivo credited, in part, to a community-oriented approach delivered by the organisation’s more than 650 participants.

A programme unveiled by TIP today (26 October) will deliver a “more market-matching way of testing, validating and badging both products and solutions”, Toivo explained.

A key theme of the day was the need for collaboration among the various sections of the industry.

Tal noted operators including Telefonica and Vodafone had been the “spark that propelled TIP”, while Indonesia Ministry of ICT director of standardisation of post and information technology equipment, Director Mulyadi offered an overview of various programmes the nation had undertaken in collaboration with the private sector to bolster access to mobile technology and services, along with fostering the technical skills among its workforce to deliver on this goal.

The country tapped TIP to help steer its efforts with a firm focus on the societal good connectivity can deliver, with the TIP Academy offering an open RAN curriculum to tackle the skills element.

Ana Armas, director of telco with NTT Data, discussed its work to deliver similar digitalisation benefits to societies in Latin America, which are also the result of public-private-partnerships.

“What is the point of making connectivity if it [cannot] reach not only people but it can be affordable and profitable”?

Paying off
Dell Technologies CTO and SVP of networking solutions Ihab Tarazi stated there had “never been a greater need” for TIP and the O-RAN Alliance to work together to “drive a common vision”, while Caroline Chan, VP and GM of the network platform group at Intel’s infrastructure division, noted there are also elements around the supply chain to be considered, with cloud computing offering perhaps more diversity than the telecom industry required.

But a panel of leading operators noted the community efforts were definitely paying off.

Andrea Folgueiras, CTO Hispam at Telefonica, explained collaboration had directly driven the connection of remote villages in Peru by multiple service providers, with the operator now employing this and similar efforts in Argentina and Brazil to refine the design and deployment model.

“TIP has been the seed that allowed us to grow”, she said.

And Atoosa Hatefi, director of innovation in radio and environment with Orange, highlighted progress in programmes to deliver a “plug-and-play” approach to infrastructure, a vision which she believes is now starting to be realised.