VEON launches large-scale 5G network trial in Kazakhstan
Across the world, pockets of 5G connectivity are popping up on a daily basis, as major players in the telecommunications and Internet connectivity space seek to modernise and expand their coverage.
Dutch internet and wireless connectivity provider VEON announced this morning that its joint venture company, KaR-Tel (which operates under the Beeline brand) has launched a large-scale 5G network trial in Shymkent, Kazakhstan, in partnership with Nokia.
"This large-scale trial with our long-standing partner KaR-Tel LLC is an important step towards the broad deployment of 5G technology in Kazakhstan and Central Asia,” said Mikko Lavanti, Head of Central East & Central Asia at Nokia.
“Real-life testing is crucial for developing a 5G ecosystem to the benefit of consumers, industry and the economy,” he continued. “Nokia is enabling this trial with our end-to-end 5G technology, as well as sharing our experience of more than 100 technical 5G engagements around the world."
Beeline, a large-scale mobile network operator in the country, is hosting the 5G trial, making this one of the largest 5G trials to date in Central Asia. The network architecture is aligned with the latest 5G release, and allows 5G devices to aggregate LTE and 5G radio channels to achieve higher download speeds. Initial speed tests, using the 3.7 GHz band, show a downlink speed of 1.0GB per second.
The trial's 5G coverage spreads over thirteen square kilometres, allowing a number of fixed wireless and mobile use cases to be tested in real-life conditions, including robotics for industry applications and virtual reality experiences such as gaming and 360-degree TV streaming.
"Our 5G trial in Kazakhstan is a further sign that VEON is embracing a 5G future that provides customers with cutting-edge technology to empower their personal or business ambitions,”said Yogesh Malik, VEON's Chief Technology Officer. “This 5G trial, alongside others in our operating companies, will provide valuable insights so we can learn, test and evaluate the most efficient applications of 5G for our customers."
The Talent War for Skilled Tech Workers
Post-pandemic, our biggest problem might be a lack of skilled tech talent. As companies move forward with their digital transformation plans, they aim to hire new staff and train their current employees. Out of 750 UK companies polled in a Studio Graphene digital report, 45% plan to hire new tech staff in the next 12 months and more than half (53%) intend to invest in training for their current workers.
Companies are realising that their survival now depends on a limited pool of qualified technology workers. Among the hardest-hit economies are those in Brazil, Indonesia, and Japan, but even the United States and the UK will experience the squeeze. “It’s pure supply and demand”, said Alan Guarino, a Korn Ferry vice-chairman. “Companies are paying more...but there’s still a shortage of high-skilled workers. Technology is the thread that runs across every aspect of business”.
Which Jobs Are In Demand?
According to a 2021 IT salary report by Robert Half Technology, the most in-demand tech jobs of the year include information security professionals, cloud architects, database administrators, systems analysts, and DevOps engineers, among others. But in those fields, it’s difficult to find hires with significant experience, multiple specialisations, and a high level of expertise. And multinationals such as Google, Apple, and IBM usually scoop them up.
Regardless of the exact role, companies need workers who can implement advanced security systems, target cloud and network vulnerabilities, document risk points and failures, and abide by new industry tech regulations. This will likely mean that companies start to take certifications like the ones pioneered by Google and Amazon, instead of insisting on four-year undergraduate degrees.
But even as coding boot camps and year-long certification programmes have ramped up to try to close the gap, smaller tech firms and startups struggle to compete with their bigger counterparts. Remote work doesn’t help matters. “Hire-from-anywhere policies will only heat up a tight candidate market”, said Ryan Sutton, a district president of technology staffing services at Robert Half. “Companies who were already having a hard time recruiting are no longer just working against local competitors, but potentially desirable companies across the country”.
How Can CIOs Solve the Crisis?
As governments try to do their part—Poland offers residency and potential citizenship to skilled tech workers, India offers broad IT, telecommunications, and cybersecurity programmes, and the Netherlands lets its foreign employees earn 30% tax-free income—company executives must take measures of their own.
Some CIOs have started looking to other countries to source expert talent. In the United States, where 80% of U.S. employers state that tech recruiting is a significant challenge, some firms are looking to Mexico, where 20% of college graduates have engineering degrees. As a result, tech companies such as Cisco and Intel have sourced labour from both the U.S. and Mexico.
To compete, here are some first steps:
- Invest in cybersecurity and cloud development training programmes
- Hire based on skills and expertise, not necessarily degrees
- Outsource to other countries with high percentages of skilled engineers and programmers
Overall, companies that broaden their search for talent and upskill their current employees will be best equipped for digital transformation. As Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “Our research shows that, on the whole, UK businesses have adopted a long-term mindset [towards] technology and innovation”.