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Airtel, IBM complete first phase of Open Hybrid Cloud Network deployment with Red Hat

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NEW DELHI: IBM and Bharti Airtel have completed the first phase of Airtel’s Open Hybrid Cloud Network built with IBM and Red Hat’s portfolio of hybrid cloud and cognitive enterprise capabilities.

With this deployment, Airtel’s customers and ecosystem partners will have a flexible foundation to build and deploy innovative applications on the cloud network. They will also gain enhanced performance, availability, automation and scaling, all the way from the core to the network edge.

Telecom operators worldwide are expected to spend over $111 Billion by 2022 upgrading their network cloud and platform.1 With the ever increasing customer demand for seamless connectivity services and the continuing exponential growth in data traffic, Airtel has embarked on this massive cloudification program to make its network agile, robust and scalable.

Airtel has been working with IBM to integrate end-to-end advanced automation and plans to embed AI capabilities in the future as a core part of its network transformation. In this first phase, IBM and Airtel have co-developed a “single click” automated hybrid cloud design and deployment capability and “light touch” operations. This will enable Airtel to rapidly improve network connectivity and accelerate its continued core network transformation. As a result, Airtel will be able to scale to meet increased customer demand, onboard new partners more quickly and speed the launch of innovative cloud-based services.

The architecture, which is built on open source technology, including Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift, enables Airtel to manage communications across distributed network environments. This gives Airtel’s customers and ecosystem partners the flexibility to create more targeted, cutting edge solutions in the cloud or on-premises location of their choosing. Additionally, this open architecture enables Airtel to embrace open source Radio Access Network (RAN) to improve interoperability for ecosystem partners using RAN equipment.

Once fully implemented, Bharti Airtel’s Open Hybrid Cloud Network will help millions of partners and customers across industries rapidly harness the power of emerging technologies like 5G and edge computing. For example, a customer could use the network to leverage AI, IoT and edge computing capabilities to power applications that can deliver better insights from factory floors or enable remote doctor visits.

IBM Services is setting up the infrastructure, designing and implementing Airtel’s open hybrid cloud network and executing overall program management. This collaboration draws on IBM Services’ deep industry experience in helping strategize, design build and develop hybrid cloud platforms that integrate technologies, like AI and analytics, to enable the automation, management and operations of a virtualized network.

“Airtel has been at the forefront of adopting leading edge technologies to modernize our network architecture. By adopting an open hybrid cloud network with the support of IBM and Red Hat we are building a scalable and future-ready network to serve our customers with best-in-class services.” said Randeep Sekhon, CTO, Bharti Airtel.

“Telco companies are at an inflection point in modernizing their networks and harnessing an open hybrid cloud architecture is fundamental to driving the scale, cost efficiencies and innovation they need. Together with Bharti Airtel, our most recent automation benchmarks have demonstrated our approach can shorten RAN service deployment times from weeks to a few days — compelling improvements in innovation for Bharti and their customers” said Steve Canepa, Global Managing Director, Communications Sector and Worldwide Head of Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment Industry, IBM.

“With an open hybrid cloud architecture built on Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift, Airtel can fuel faster innovation with greater flexibility, consistency and agility. With IBM and Red Hat, Airtel is strengthening its network foundation so it can rapidly adapt to the shifting needs of its partners and customers and deliver advanced solutions, all the way to the edge,” said Darrell Jordan Smith, Senior Vice President, Industries and Global Accounts, Red Hat.

Mobile Services

Kumar Mangalam Birla tells government he is willing to give up promoter stake in Vodafone Idea

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NEW DELHI: Kumar Mangalam Birla has told the government of India he his willing to offer his stake in Vodafone Idea Limited (VIL) to any state-owned or “domestic financial entity” to keep the stressed telecom company afloat.

Birla, VIL’s promoter and chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, made the suggestion in a letter to union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba on June 7. VIL has a debt of around Rs 1.8 trillion, which includes deferred spectrum obligations and adjusted gross revenue liabilities. Its board had last September announced a plan to raise Rs 25,000 crore but investors have not been forthcoming in the absence of government support.

Birla’s letter highlighted the need for urgent measures from the government while offering to give up control of the company. “It is with a sense of duty towards 27 crore Indians connected by VIL, I am more than willing to hand over my stake in the company to any entity-public sector/government/domestic financial entity or any other that the government may consider worthy of keeping the company as a going concern,” Birla said in his letter.

Birla owns over 27 per cent stake in VIL, while Vodafone Plc holds over 44 per cent. The current market capitalisation of VIL is over Rs 24,000 crore. The two promoters have decided against infusing fresh funds in the company. Vodafone Plc has already written off all its investment in VIL following continuous

losses.

“To actively participate in the fund raising, the potential foreign investors want to see clear government intent to have a three player telecom market (consistent with its public stance) through positive actions on long-standing requests such as clarity on AGR liability, adequate moratorium on spectrum payments and most importantly, a floor pricing regime above the cost of service. In the absence of definitive steps in this regard, the potential investors have understandable hesitation to invest,” Birla wrote.

Birla further said that VIL’s financial situation will drive its operations to an irretrievable point of collapse without immediate active support from the government on these three issues.

Last month the Supreme Court dismissed petitions of VIL and Bharti Airtel seeking correction in alleged errors in calculating the AGR. VIL had calculated its remaining AGR dues at around Rs 21,500 crore after making a payment of Rs 7800 crore. However, the department of telecommunications concluded the company’s total AGR liability of around Rs 58,000 crore.

Source: Press Trust of India

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Kaspersky partners Bharti Airtel for selling cybersecurity software

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NEW DELHI: Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky has partnered with Bharti Airtel to reach out to its over 34 crore customers for selling its security softwares at lower prices.

The collaboration between the two companies will allow Airtel customers to purchase Kaspersky Total Security solutions directly from the Airtel Thanks app exclusive deals on them, a joint statement by Kaspersky and Airtel said.

“We are very much looking forward to supporting Bharti Airtel in its goal to protect their users, create a more secure internet, and build a safer digital world together with Kaspersky.

“I am convinced that this partnership will further contribute to establishing Airtel as an innovational pioneer and a leader in its industry,” Kaspersky CEO Eugene Kaspersky said in the statement.

According to Kaspersky, mobile threats in India have drastically increased since 2019 and are becoming more targeted and sophisticated in nature. India ranked seventh among the countries attacked with mobile threats in 2020, Kaspersky said.

“Airtel is working round the clock to deliver a secure network experience through world-class infrastructure and partnerships.

“We are delighted to partner with Kaspersky and make their solutions easily accessible for Airtel customers, who can purchase and install these in a matter of minutes and enjoy complete peace of mind,” Bharti Airtel Chief Information Officer Pradipt Kapoor said.

Source: Press Trust of INdia

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In boost for Indian IT, US to conduct rare 2nd lottery for H-1B applicants

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NEW DELHI: The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that a decision was taken after determining that the computerised draw of lots for H-1B visas conducted early this year did not give them enough number of Congressional mandated H-1B visas.

The H-1B visa, most sought-after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

We recently determined that we needed to select additional registrations to reach the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 numerical allocations. On July 28, we selected previously submitted electronic registrations using a random selection process, the USCIS said in a statement.

The petition filing period based on registrations selected on July 28 will begin on August 2 and close on November 3. Individuals with selected registrations will have their myUSCIS accounts updated to include a selection notice, which includes details of when and where to file, it said.

The move by the USCIS to conduct the second lottery will provide another chance to several applicants, including hundreds of Indian IT professionals, who could not make it in the first random selection.

The federal agency said that only those petitioners with selected registrations for FY 2022 are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions. The initial filing period for those with selected registrations for FY 2022 was from April 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021.

The USCIS said an H-1B cap-subject petition must be properly filed at the correct service center and within the filing period indicated on the relevant registration selection notice.

Online filing is not available for H-1B petitions. Petitioners filing H-1B petitions must do so by paper and must include a printed copy of the applicable registration selection notice with the FY 2022 H-1B cap-subject petition.

Registration selection only indicates that petitioners are eligible to file H-1B cap-subject petitions; it does not indicate that the petition will be approved. Petitioners filing H-1B cap-subject petitions, including those petitions eligible for the advanced degree exemption, must still submit evidence and establish eligibility for petition approval based on existing statutory and regulatory requirements, the USCIS added.

Source: Press Trust of India

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