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Huawei To Release Massive MIMO AAU Products At MWC 2018

At the pre-MWC briefing in London, Huawei revealed that a full series of scenario-based Massive MIMO AAU (MM AAU) products would be released at the MWC 2018. These products accommodate various 5G deployment scenarios and make operators ready for 5G in advance based on 4G networks.

Using Wireless AI technologies that simplify O&M, these AAUs provide several times better user experience compared with common 4G network construction technologies and better meet the requirements of prospective mobile Internet services.

MM AAU series products to be released are all 5G ready. The "Dual 200" MM AAU was launched at MBBF 2017 (click for more information). It operates on the C-band and applies to large-capacity deployment in urban areas. Other MM AAUs will be released at the MWC 2018, including the dual-band MM AAU and MM AAU EasyBlink.

The dual-band MM AAU realizes the co-deployment of C-band and other bands, and features the best engineering performance. The MM AAU EasyBlink is a new-generation product designed specifically for pole sites.

The multi-user spatial multiplexing technology of Massive MIMO works with the large capacity feature and high-speed single-user experience feature to provide Gbps-level cell throughput and ultra-large user capacity. They also provide exclusive bandwidth and QoS guarantee functions the same as wired networks. Massive MIMO is one of the important air interface technologies of 5G and is the core technology to differentiate 4G and 5G networks.

The "Dual 200" C-band MM AAU solution is suitable for large-capacity scenarios in urban areas. This cost-effective product meets the future capacity evolution requirements for the next 5 to 10 years. This way, only one-off hardware deployment and site visit are required, significantly reducing related engineering and maintenance costs.

The AAU is the industry's first 3D-MIMO product boasting ultra-large capacity and bandwidth. It can cope with the challenge of operators' C-band spectrum acquisition. A single AAU module provides 200 MHz bandwidth capability on the C-band to save antenna space and reduce network construction costs. This AAU can achieve a peak rate of 10 Gbps per cell, meeting the large-capacity service demands in the future.

For operators that have C-band and other frequency bands, two MM AAUs are required for the deployment of Massive MIMO on two bands. However, the number of antennas is limited at some existing sites and the load-bearing capacities of towers are incapable.

As a result, two MM AAUs cannot be installed. The dual-band MM AAU solution can resolve these issues. This product supports C-band and another band using 200 MHz bandwidth. It can effectively expand the application scenarios of the band other than C-band, and also support the 5G-oriented evolution to simplify the antenna space and reduce the overall engineering costs.

For areas where above-mentioned solutions are not considered feasible, the EasyBlink simple pole site solution serves a perfect choice to improve 5G coverage.

In the future, 5G networks will grow increasingly complex, equipped with multiple bands and RATs. Massive MIMO in the 5G era will be nearly a hundred times more complex compared with that in the 4G era. Through Wireless AI technologies, O&M can be dramatically simplified with efficiency enhanced by several times. In addition, Huawei's innovative Massive MIMO 3D-shaping technology improves the downlink coverage gain by several dBs and 5G network coverage by the introduction of full-channel beamforming and sweeping.

Zhou Yuefeng, Huawei Wireless Network Chief Marketing Officer, said that "Massive MIMO is one of the important air interface technologies of 5G and is the core technology to differentiate 4G and 5G networks. The rational planning and deployment of MM AAUs are crucial.

The full series of MM AAU products apply to diversified 5G deployment scenarios. They will make operators ready for 5G in advance based on 4G networks. Through simplified O&M using Wireless AI technologies, these AAUs provide several times better user experience compared with common 4G network construction technologies, and better meet the requirements of future mobile Internet services."

Huawei's Massive MIMO products have seen large-scale deployment in over 40 countries, such as Japan, China, Spain, UK, and Saudi Arabia. As early as 2016, Huawei worked with SoftBank to test TDD Massive MIMO and multi-carrier aggregation using the 40 MHz bandwidth on the 3.5 GHz band, achieving a downlink throughput of over 1 Gbps.

Meanwhile, performance testing of Huawei FDD Massive MIMO have been conducted on more than 10 commercial networks in countries such as China, Thailand, Turkey, and Kuwait. The network capacity is 4 to 5 times higher than that of the live network.

It is estimated that Huawei FDD Massive MIMO will begin large-scale commercial deployment in 2018 through to 2019. This will help operators owning FDD spectrum resources to prepare and seize the imminent opportunities of the 5G era in advance.

Huawei Goes For A Fully-connected, Intelligent World

Huawei at the beginning of this month held a Pre-MWC 2018 Media and Analyst Briefing in London, during which the company called on all industries to work together and go beyond traditional boundaries in the areas of capabilities, connections, business, experience, and partnerships for a fully-connected, intelligent world. 

The 4th Industrial Revolution – where ICT networks are the foundation and AI is the enabler – is bringing us to an intelligent world where all things will sense, all things will be connected, and all things will be intelligent. This will create a digital transformation market worth US$23 trillion. Huawei's Global Industry Vision (GIV) shows:

  • By 2025, the number of personal smart devices will reach 40 billion, 90% of smart device users will have an intelligent personal assistant, and many households will have a robot. As devices are able to sense and two-way human-machine communication and proactive information services are a reality, individual potential will be significantly unlocked.
  • At the business and societal levels, 100 billion connections that will be created around the world by 2025 will be widely used for public utilities, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, finance, and other sectors, driving them to go digital. By 2025, 85% of enterprise applications will be deployed in the cloud, and 86% of global companies will adopt AI.
  • By 2025, 180 ZB of data will be generated around the world every year, a 20-fold increase compared with today. Such new data will become a huge "data oilfield", serving as an inexhaustible source of intelligence and value. 

Moving forward, Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Ryan Ding, Executive Director of the Board and President of Huawei Carrier BG, said: "Huawei focuses on ICT infrastructure and smart devices to provide a plot of 'rich soil' for the development of information, automation, and intelligence technologies. In this 'soil', partners can grow their content, applications, and cloud." 

Ding added, "Before entering the intelligent world still, we are still faced with many challenges. To achieve sustainable business growth, we need to keep moving beyond existing constraints and boundaries, first internally and then externally." He called on all industries to go beyond the boundaries in the areas of capabilities, connections, business, experience, and partnerships and together shape a better future.

 

  • Beyond today's capabilities, from digital to intelligent: As a general purpose technology, AI has been integrated into Huawei's many products and solutions and has greatly improved the efficiency of live networks. For example, Huawei's All-Cloud intelligent networks can generate millions of bills in minutes and help users search billions of pictures in seconds.
  • Beyond today's connections, creating unlimited potential: With 5G, carrier networks will have many more purposes and serve more types of targets, including people, things, and industries. One physical network will promise millions of use cases. In 2018, Huawei will invest CNY5 billion in R&D for 5G, and launch a full range of commercial 5G equipment, including wireless access networks, bearer networks, core networks, and devices. Additionally, Huawei will drive the large-scale commercial deployment of NB-IoT networks around the world, and increase the number of NB-IoT connections to over 100 million.
  • Beyond today's business, unlocking new growth: Business success is the ultimate goal of a company. Carriers should pursue broad business innovation by making the most of existing networks and adopting a forward-looking approach:
  • In new domains like the Internet of Things (IoT), carriers can innovate business models based on the ecosystem to create higher potential for growth and drive the fast development of smart cities, smart industries, and smart homes. By making video a new basic service, carriers can make it a new engine for revenue growth. A better video experience will also promote the development of network infrastructure. In 2017, over 100 carriers around the world made video their basic service, with this number expected to increase to 150 in 2018.
  • In traditional business domains, Huawei helps carriers delve deeper into their services and improve user experience. Huawei's scenario-based site solutions help connect the unconnected individuals. Huawei's quality home broadband solutions deliver a new Wi-Fi speed of 300 Mbps for households. Huawei's integrated cloud-network synergy solution enables deep integration of resources and services between enterprise private lines and cloud services.
  • Beyond today's experience, hitting the ROADS: Huawei's digital operations solutions enable all-online data, operations automation, and intelligent decision-making. They help carriers deliver a Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY, and Social (ROADS) experience through their internal O&M processes. Externally, these solutions enable carriers to build a 360-degree customer experience assurance system across all channels, all processes, all services, and the entire lifecycle.
  • Beyond today's partnerships, building a richer ecosystem: Huawei works with partners to build an open, collaborative multi-layered ecosystem that thrives on shared success and to jointly shape the future of the industry. These partnerships take the form of joint incubation of business solutions, active participation in open source communities and industry alliances, and building OpenLabs. 

At the upcoming Mobile World Congress 2018, Huawei will launch over 20 new products, showcase the results of its cooperation with over 300 partners, host five forums, and engage in many other activities to share its practices and exchange views with the industry. The aim is to jointly embark on the ROADS to a fully-connected, intelligent world. 

The Mobile World Congress 2018 will be held in Barcelona from February 26 to March 1. At the MWC, Huawei will give keynote speeches, host forums, and engage in many other activities under the theme of "ROADS to a Better Future".

The company is looking to discuss plans for industry development with industry players and, together, shape a better future. During the MWC, Huawei will also showcase its latest products and solutions and, together with partners, provide demonstrations in multiple scenarios. 

Huawei's exhibits will be located at booth 1J50 in Fira Gran Via Hall 1, booth 3130 in Hall 3, and the Innovation City Exhibition Zone in Hall 4. For more information, please visit: www.huawei.com/mwc2018.

Huawei Goes For A Fully-connected, Intelligent World

Huawei at the beginning of this month held a Pre-MWC 2018 Media and Analyst Briefing in London, during which the company called on all industries to work together and go beyond traditional boundaries in the areas of capabilities, connections, business, experience, and partnerships for a fully-connected, intelligent world. 

The 4th Industrial Revolution – where ICT networks are the foundation and AI is the enabler – is bringing us to an intelligent world where all things will sense, all things will be connected, and all things will be intelligent. This will create a digital transformation market worth US$23 trillion. Huawei's Global Industry Vision (GIV) shows:

  • By 2025, the number of personal smart devices will reach 40 billion, 90% of smart device users will have an intelligent personal assistant, and many households will have a robot. As devices are able to sense and two-way human-machine communication and proactive information services are a reality, individual potential will be significantly unlocked.
  • At the business and societal levels, 100 billion connections that will be created around the world by 2025 will be widely used for public utilities, transportation, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, finance, and other sectors, driving them to go digital. By 2025, 85% of enterprise applications will be deployed in the cloud, and 86% of global companies will adopt AI.
  • By 2025, 180 ZB of data will be generated around the world every year, a 20-fold increase compared with today. Such new data will become a huge "data oilfield", serving as an inexhaustible source of intelligence and value. 

Moving forward, Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. Ryan Ding, Executive Director of the Board and President of Huawei Carrier BG, said: "Huawei focuses on ICT infrastructure and smart devices to provide a plot of 'rich soil' for the development of information, automation, and intelligence technologies. In this 'soil', partners can grow their content, applications, and cloud." 

Ding added, "Before entering the intelligent world still, we are still faced with many challenges. To achieve sustainable business growth, we need to keep moving beyond existing constraints and boundaries, first internally and then externally." He called on all industries to go beyond the boundaries in the areas of capabilities, connections, business, experience, and partnerships and together shape a better future.

Deutsche Telekom, Intel and Huawei Achieve World's First 5G NR Interoperability In Operator Environment

Deutsche Telekom, Intel and Huawei prove the world's first 5G interoperability and development testing (IODT) based on the 3GPP R15 Standard with a commercial base station in an operator lab environment.

This successful test in Bonn, Germany, is another important milestone after the three partners initially verified the first 5G NR interoperability in Huawei’s Shanghai labs. 

The test is based on Huawei's 5G commercial base station and Intel's third generation 5G NR Mobile Trial Platform (MTP). It is a critical step towards the early development of full commercial 5G equipment in 2019, accelerating the 5G ecosystem. 

The test configuration used by the three parties is based on the largest C-band cell bandwidth defined by the 5G NR standard. It also incorporates the latest Massive MIMO multi-antenna and beamforming technology enabled by the standard framework.

Arash Ashouriha, Senior Vice President Technology Innovation of Deutsche Telekom said: ” The successful testing in our 5G:haus operator environment is  another significant step on the path to 5G ecosystem maturity and early 5G commercialization.” 

Huawei has been innovating and investing in 5G for years. Huawei will spend a minimum of US$600 million on 5G research and innovation by 2018. At present, Huawei has more than 2,000 5G R&D engineers and 11 5G R&D centers around the world, including three centers in Europe and six centers in China.

Huawei has forged alliances with ecosystem partners from around the world. By March 2016, HUawei had more than 30 partners, including leading global carriers, industry alliances, organizations, and vertical leaders. 

Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G product line, said: "As the standard continues to be updated, Huawei will continue to work with all parties to step up additional interoperability tests and promote the 5G industry maturity process, and to welcome the arrival of the entire industry digitization.” 

Asha Keddy, Vice President Client, and General Manager Next Generation Standards, Intel Corporation, said: "Intel has been actively working with leading 5G companies to take advantage of Intel's unique end-to-end 5G NR technology and to accelerate 5G testing and commercialization based on the latest 5G NR technology.

The Intel®XMM™8000 modem family maturity and time to launch will significantly benefit from this early multi-vendor interoperability progress and the realization of a global 5G NR industry ecosystem, with initial launches in mid-2019 and large-scale scaling in 2020.”

Huawei Launches First Urban 5G “Wireless To The Home” CPE Trial In North America

Huawei announced the launch of an end-to-end user trial for “Wireless to the Home” (WTTx) 5G service using a specially-designed 5G CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) unit. 

The trial is taking place in downtown Vancouver’s “5G Living Lab,” a co-venture with TELUS, Canada’s fastest growing telecommunications company. It is compliant with the global 5G 3GPP standard and is believed to be the first trial of its kind in North America, and among the first globally.   

“This trial represents continued progress toward the launch of 5G, as we start to replicate both the in-home experience and network footprint we will see when 5G becomes commercially available in the near future,” said Ibrahim Gedeon, CTO at TELUS.

“Wireless 5G services will generate tremendous benefits for consumers, operators, governments and more through the use of advanced IoT devices, big data applications, smart city systems and other technologies of the future.” 

For Huawei, the use of a new 5G CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) represents another milestone in bringing consumer-oriented 5G-ready products to market. 

The current trial is being conducted in the homes of Vancouver-based TELUS employees and is based on the successful 5G 3GPP mmWave tests that TELUS and Huawei conducted in June 2017. The 5G wireless trial system provides users with a fibre-like experience with their home network.  

In addition to the unique 5G in-home equipment, the network utilizes the 5G gNodeB and related elements built as part of the TELUS/Huawei 5G Living Lab. The trial system operates on the 28GHz mmwave band with 800 MHz of bandwidth and includes many 3GPP key technologies, such as Massive MIMO, F-OFDM, and Polar Code. 

5G-capable wireless solutions have the potential to complement fibre to the home (FTTx) solutions by providing an alternative “last-mile” solution consumer and business services.  In both urban and suburban regions, the ability to deploy 5G wireless solutions will help reduce costs for operators and increase accessibility of 5G for end customers.

5G networking equipment also requires a much smaller footprint than traditional mobile networks, reducing requirements for government approvals of new tower locations.

The first trials were initiated on December 4th, 2017 and the initial application has successfully achieved single-user download speeds of over 2 Gbps. 

"mmWave technology will be an important tool in ensuring widespread deployment of 5G technology in Canada. Huawei’s 5G solutions and terminals will enable 5G coverage over a neighbourhood or small community cost effectively, while providing more convenient and high-speed home broadband Internet access services." said Dr. Wen Tong, Huawei Fellow, and CTO Huawei Wireless, "This friendly user trial will drive the global 3GPP unified 5G standard and build a solid foundation for the 5G early commercialization."

NITA-U’s Missing Links Project Gets Parliament, PPDA, World Bank Clearance

On Tuesday, the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) was hosted by the Parliamentary Committee on ICT to update them on the enquiries raised on Uganda’s Missing Links project.

The Government of Uganda (GoU), through NITA-U, is implementing the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-Government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project to connect all major towns across the country including Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies via an optical fiber cable network so as to reduce the cost of public administration, support delivery of secure e-Government services as well as enhance communications services in the country.

Following the successful completion of Phases I – III of the NBI/EGI Project, as part of a deliberate effort to ensure the network is able to consistently provide 99.9 per cent, the Missing Links project was started upon.

The Missing Links project details laying out of concentric rings connected through optical fiber cable that will ensure self-resilient National Communications Infrastructure.

During the discussion, the Chairperson of the ICT Committee, Hon. Annette Nyakecho welcomed views from the committee members on how to proceed in-light of two letters from the World Bank and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority that provided guidance that the procurement was ongoing and the Evaluation report wasn’t available to enable the investigation into the allegations made.

It was further noted that according to Paragraph 24.7 of the World Bank Guidelines 2014, NITA-U is barred from sharing information in any form relating to the evaluation until the publication of the award of the contract.

It was therefore against this background that the Parliamentary ICT Committee Chairperson directed that NITA-U be excused from the meeting and would be invited back once the Missing Links procurement process had been concluded.

NITA-U welcomes this guidance from the Parliamentary ICT committee, World Bank and the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) as it will allow for the conclusion of the procurement process of the national strategic project, Missing Links.

The expected benefits of this project include:

  • Improve redundancy for the existing National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) by creating more rings on the NBI and create redundant routes across the country geographically.
  • Extend the reach of the NBI/EGI to other major towns and regions that are not covered under the current scope of Phase I – III. It was a process undertaken over several years and borne out of existing high level requirements to cover the West Nile and some of the Northern Uganda Regions not covered in previous phases.
  • Extend connectivity to the major border points across the country and achieve the objective of regional connectivity.

NITA-U remains steadfast in its resolve in collectively driving economic development in Uganda through the leveraging of ICT an enabler to spur growth and improve livelihoods across the nation.

Bribery Allegations Hit Uganda’s Internet Project

The Missing Links project, which is part of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure and e-government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project, has been hit by bribery accusations involving a renowned Member of Parliament.

Government of Uganda along with its agency National Information Technology Authority- Uganda (NITA-U) through a bidding process is searching for a contractor to complete development of the World Bank funded internet project. Six companies submitted in their bidding proposals for consideration.

Sources privy to the bidding process allege that some firms in contention of the Missing Links project are doing all they can to get the deal including bribing MPs to block the ongoing procurement process.

One of the MPs allegedly targeted by a Chinese company interested in the deal is influential Nandala Mafabi. He was allegedly offered $30, 000. We couldn’t establish if Mafabi accepted the money. Mafabi’s involvement in this bribery act is made known by another MP who preferred not to be named.

The revealing MP says Mafabi ‘was told by Chinese telecom company ZTE, one of the bidders for contract, to delay and disrupt the ongoing World Bank funded internet project, using his influence in Parliament.’

Mafabi appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on ICT recently accused NITA-U officials of taking bribes to give the bid to Huawei, another Chinese company. Mafabi’s statement, according to committee members were not backed with evidence.

It is also alleged that Mafabi has a history of dealings with ZTE, one of the six bidders for the Missing Links project. Mafabi is the landlord of Chinese companies in his luxurious buildings in Kampala and they have sponsored him for several trips to China.

“Mafabi should be thoroughly investigated to establish his motive in this NITA-U project,” the unhappy MP stated, adding, “Otherwise he will continue abusing parliament for personal gain.”

Recently, Mr Nandala was accused of taking bribes during his tenure as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairperson from 2006 to 2011 by a one Hamidah Nassimbwa, a member of FDC’s Women’s league.

In a leaked WhatsApp chat between the two enemies, Nassimbwa accused Mafabi of taking bribes adding that he robbed more than the PAC culprits.

She further alleges that the bribes Mafabi used to take, he used them to put up mega structures, one of which the Chinese company rents in Naguru, an upscale suburb of Kampala.

The Missing Links project will add more links to the Government backbone network (NBI/EGI) and to further ease operations and have more services go online, including application for passports, Driver’s license, National ID and etc., to increase the efficiency of service delivery and finally integrate our markets with International markets.

The Executive Director NITA-U James Saaka told Parliament that the evaluation is still going on and the successful bidder has not yet been awarded. The project’s bidding document was issued on August 14, 2017 and bids received November 7, 2017. Saaka explained that bidding document was developed by internal expertise resident in NITA-U that has managed the national backbone since 2007.

High Internet Costs: Does NITA-U’s Backbone Infrastructure Offer Solutions?

The National Transmission Backbone/E-Government Infrastructure (NBI/EGI) project is a government imitative by Ministry of Information Communication Technology of Uganda through its mandated body NITA-U, intended to ensure that high bandwidth data connection is available in all major towns of Uganda at a reasonable rate.

This Infrastructure is also designed to reduce the cost of doing business in government, improving communications between government agencies, and reducing the need for officials to commute for meeting and, thus, increasing efficiency.

This project has so far witnessed approximately 2400km of optical fibre cable laid countrywide connecting 33 towns, 322 government offices, and Free Wi-Fi coverage in 186 locations.

The Project which has been supported by the China government through a concessional loan, has seen the successful completion of 3 Phases, and Huawei was contracted to construct the National Backbone, this has also come with multiple benefits to the Government operations which among the many are some listed below;

  • Lowering the Cost of Internet Bandwidth for Government MDAs and Local Governments therefore lowering the cost of doing business in Government from the traditional costs which were as a result of absence of infrastructure.
  • Provision of high speed connectivity throughout the country to all major towns and District headquarters, fully leveraging the IT benefits into highly efficient operations and governance.
  • Lower of Cost of transportation of Internet Bandwidth from the East African Coast hence the reduction in the prices for the services due to integrated regional backbones.
  • Provision of connectivity to schools, Institutions of Higher Learning (16 Universities and Research Institutions,5 Hospitals to facilitate research, learning and telemedicine) and other target user groups enhancing the easy access of information, learning material which are characteristics of a digitized economy and systems.
  • Provision of high speed Internet bandwidth to the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Centers.

 The deployment of the e-government platform as part of the NBI/EGI project has led to the increased transparency of government activities, enabled departments to share public data and enhance inter-departmental coordination, reduced government administration costs, and generally improved work efficiency.

With a dedicated government network, the Ugandan government can more easily construct and maintain its official website and implement a business information platform capable of attracting more foreign investment and generating employment opportunities. Thus, the government could both improve its international reputation and seek to further boost economic development.

These benefits have been exhibited through some of these initiatives;

  • Provision of e-Government Services such as eHealth, online Education, eTax and IFMS IPPS etc.to all this districts and towns across the Country
  • Integrated, Seamless, Secure and efficient Regional Government Communication and information sharing.
  • Improved Service delivery using online services provisioned through the NBI and Integrated, Seamless, Secure and efficient Government Communication facilitating economies of scale in provision of IT services across Government furthermore accelerating e-Transformation initiatives across Government

The Project , through the recently concluded Phase 3 in 2016 has established 3 uplink connections to 3 countries, i.e. Kenya through Malaba and Busia Border points, Tanzania though Mutukula and Sudan through Elegu border point boosting the resilience of the Government Network through the;

  • Provision of redundancy in Regional Communication due to the creation of alternative transmission routes with neighboring Countries through the Border Posts of Mutukula, Busia, Malaba, Elegu, Katuna and Mpondwe, Vurra and Oraba
  • Facilitate Regional System Integration (JLOS, Immigration, Education, Agriculture and Trade etc.), o Foster Innovation and Research through Inter-Regional Collaborations (Regional Info. Security Advisory Groups, Innovation and Research hubs etc.) And access to more shared/On-line services (eHealth, eEducation, eTax etc.) from the Region.

All these have been envisioned to improving the livelihood of Ugandan Citizens through reduction of Internet bandwidth costs and more work is still underway in the Phase 4 of the project to connect more towns which haven’t yet harnessed these benefits,

What is the Significance of the Missing Link Project?

The Missing Links project will add more links to the Government backbone network in the West Nile, Karamoja and the Rwenzori regions connection to the rest of the country, This will further ease operations and have more services go online, reduce unnecessary delays and paperwork and at last Ugandans will be able to apply for passports, Drivers license, National ID, Visa and other important documents online without having to line up in long queues wasting a lot of time, this will furthermore boost tourism in the country though increased usage of IT, Social media platforms, Integration of our markets with International markets and enabling farmers to market their produce easily both inside and outside Uganda.

This automation of processes through the seamless interconnection between different districts, organizations and government agencies through the National Backbone that has been constructed will furthermore boost the economy of Uganda as we harness the benefits of IT and automation thereby bringing a more digitized fast growing economy.

 

China’s ZTE Indicated In NITA-U Contract Blackmail

Uganda’s important National Backbone infrastructure (NBI) has attracted controversy after information emerged indicating that a Chinese company ZTE, is alleging that National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA U) and the Ministry of Information and Communication (ICT) are ‘colluding with the companies that built and maintain the national internet backbone to fleece Ugandans’.

Chinese ICT firm ZTE is interested in completing the project and according to sources is working hard to ‘disadvantage the rest of companies bidding for the final phase of the NBI which seeks to connect government departments with high speed interconnectivity.’

Quoting media reports, sources say ZTE accused President Museveni and NITA-U officials of signing ‘unfavourable internet provision contract with SolitonTelmec, a Kenyan company’. Allegedly, according to ZTE, the deal with Soliton was bad for the country.

‘In so doing, they are positioning themselves as the company which might offer the country a better deal, in the final phase of the NBI project.” A source told this website, adding that ZTE wants ‘government entity NITA-U to be denied its mandate and be offered to a telecom company which they can easily manipulate.’

The president recently said that as part of plans to revamp UTL, he wanted the government to start purchasing data service from the struggling telecom.

The president was told that for every Mbps of Internet delivered to any government agency through a cable owned by government through NITA-U, the Kenyan company Soliton charges NITA-U $200 (Shs725, 400) as transport charges.

But Nita-U strongly dismisses these allegations saying whoever makes such blatantly lies was unhappy about the recent contracts handed to other firms, but theirs.

Bidding Process

To win the right to work on the National Backbone infrastructure, ZTE will have to out-compete Huawei, Klawanchi Telecomm Camusat, Raubex and BCS & Fiber Home. Source intimate that Huawei, another Chinese ICT firm, has a more competitive bid; something that stands in the way of ZTE.

Online publishers Chimp Reports quoting a source this week reported that detractors have been recycling old lies to discredit Nita-U. However NITA-U says that during the pre-bid stage, all suppliers were invited to view the bid specification.

At this stage, NITA-U says that at this stage bidders were asked to register concerns with the bid process and stakeholder involved. No concern or complaint was registered paving way for the bidding process to continue.

NITA-U Communications Manager, Steven Kirenga says the authority didn’t handover any form of regulation of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) to any third party.

“NITA-U outsourced the management of the NBI to a managed services provider, SolitonTelmec, to manage the day to day operations to ensure that we provide a reliable and consistently ‘on’ service to our customers, Ministries, Departments and Local Governments,” said Kirenga.

NITA-U Responds

Government spends about Shs12bn on managing the infrastructure which the whistleblower says is a huge amount given the nature of task at hand.

Kirenga said the contractor’s scope of work goes beyond maintenance.

“The day to day operations include maintenance of all NBI equipment at MDA sites and transmission sites across the country i.e. Network equipment, Generators, air conditioners, CCTV, UPS, Inverters etc,” he said.

The contractor is required to maintain over 2,400kms of fibre, pay electricity bill for transmission sites and the main distribution center, make payments of fuel for generators and meet costs of health insurance and salary of staff.

Soliton also foots the bill of insurance of the Infrastructure; maintains vehicles and fibre network and all NBI equipment; and also run a network operating centre and help desk.

Uganda government did not seek to manage the network hence securing a service provider.

Kirenga says globally, the Managed Services model is the best practice and allows for institutions to benefit from shared value by having a Network partner take over the management and enhancement of highly evolved network process capabilities which leads to significant enhancement in the delivery of a superior Customer Experience.

“The assertion that NITA-U has overseen the financial loss of tax payer’s money is not true as the engagement of a managed service partner is an industry best practice. Reference can be made to banks and telecommunications companies where Business Process Outsourcing has been carried out as testimony to this being, indeed, best practice,” he observed.

Outsourcing is part of Government’s BPO program as outsourced parties provide employment to Ugandan citizens.

While NITA-U is providing high speed internet to Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the cost remains a contentious issue.

The whistleblower said in his/her report to President Museveni that Soliton charges NITA-U $200 per Mbps to a government ministries, departments and agencies.

Kirenga wondered: “Surely, on the face of it, if NITA-U charges $70 per Mbps to a ministry, how would it manage to pay $200 per Mbps for the same capacity to Soliton in transport charges? This is clearly not true.”

He said NITA-U remained committed to digitizing Uganda by reducing the cost of internet connectivity country.

“This effort has been deliberate and we are happy to have led the industry in reducing the cost of connectivity to Government offices by over 84 percent since 2010, when 1Mbps cost a government office $1200 to the current cost of $70 for 1Mbps.”

Technology Minister Applauds Huawei For Technological Transformation

Technology Minister Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye who is also the Chairman of Ntare School Alumni applauded Huawei for technological transformation in Uganda. 

This happened at the Ntare School Alumni fundraising dinner at Sheraton Hotel Kampala on 13th December where Huawei contributed 15 laptops for information technology boost in Ntare.   

“I thank Huawei for this wonderful contribution of 15 laptops to Ntare School. This is a big boost for the school’s technological transformation”, says Hon. Elioda Tumwesigye, the Minister of Science Technology and Innovation and Chairman of the Ntare School Alumni.

Huawei’s Executive Director of Government and Enterprise Business Mr. Benny Bai commended the school’s Alumni for birthing great leaders and influential people in Uganda.

He also added that, “one of our Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives this year is to invest in Education, that is why we carried out activities such as: the ‘Seeds for the Future’ training program in China for the 10 selected best university students, the Seeds for the Future internship program that has seen 400 plus students receive hands-on training since 2012 of which many have acquired permanent employment at Huawei. We have this year donated 40 laptops to Kamwenge district schools to boost technology, 5 laptops and 200 school bags to Kireka Police School and today we shall give 15 laptops to Ntare School”. 

Also present at the Ntare School fundraising dinner was the Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, Hon. Matia Kasaija, the Minister of Finance and Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities among Others.

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