Spe……what?

Yup, we get to speculation, we all do it, and it is at times not a bad thing, but only as long as you are aware of the fact that you are doing it, remain aware of the missing fact and remain aware of the adjustment required n your side of the equation. As such the red banner got waved in front of my face. This tends to happen when Vodafail, I meant Vodafone is part of any equation and the Reuter news (at https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-vodafone-group-germany/vodafone-hit-by-three-hour-mobile-network-outage-in-germany-idUKKBN2831WE) gives us ‘Vodafone hit by three-hour mobile network outage in Germany’, first of all, outages will happen, they tend to happen with some regularity, yet the back up systems tend to fall into place and for the most none of the users (with perhaps an unlucky few) notices anything, this is how systems tend to work. Yet Reuters gives us “hotspots in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt and other cities”, when you know your geography, it is a much larger issue, and that is where it tends to get interesting. When you consider the distances of these places, there is an optional picture we get to see. And this is where speculation comes into play.

I am wondering whether this was a mere outage, or if this is a software flaw that never dealt with congestion on a larger scale before. I merely wonder if Vodafone is one of the first that has to deal with a system unable to comprehend or properly address congestion. Open Signal in 2019 (at https://www.opensignal.com/reports/2019/05/germany/mobile-network-experience) gave us “They are likely a result of network challenges such as poor network routing, peering issues or a side effect of increased congestion”, as well as “Vodafone’s lead is slipping, and it needs to ensure it addresses any congestion issues if it hopes to stay ahead of the pack”, this was Open Signal giving us a business case where Vodafone might lose business if unaddressed, and now we see an optional first case where the system is unable to deal with a million hungry 4G mobiles and it cannot deal with the stage unless it throttles EVERYONE down a few notches. 

As I state, this is speculation, yet Vodafone gives us “Vodafone said the network problem had been caused by the failure of control equipment in Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin”, which makes me wonder why ‘control equipment’ all fail at the same time, or almost at the same time. It almost sounds like a person saying, he has no reason to drive a car AFTER they parked their car in the Hamburg Harbour parking lot, where we see that ‘he has no reason to drive’ basically means ‘he is currently unable to drive his car’, I think you al get the gist of it, even as we move to Light Reading who gave us in July (at https://www.lightreading.com/5g/disadvantage-towers-vodafone-plays-game-of-risk/d/d-id/762639) “While Vodafone does not report any profitability metrics in its quarterly statements, its margin for earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) rose 1.2 percentage points in its last fiscal year, to 33.1%”, this does not signal congestion, but it set a dangerous premise for any company to cut corners, and that same source gave us three weeks ago (in the UK) ‘Vodafone UK to swap big part of Huawei for open RAN’, I wonder how far these approaches are in Germany, it would signal a larger side towards congestion, but as I stated earlier, it is speculative. And we have seen in the past that Vodafone executives are always ready for a game of Risk (the Hasbro kind), for me the thought is that if this is a first case of congestion, how large would be the impact in France and Spain? Consider that there are issues in either place and these issues cannot be communicated because of congestion, will there be a secondary impact? And let’s face it Vodafone is not the smallest player here. 

Speculatively, I hope I am wrong, I knew that we were heading in these dangerous grounds, but if there is any truth to my speculation, we got here almost 1-2 years ahead of schedule and that implies that infrastructures are presently in a dangerous place. A force stage of change whilst other players are basically not in a better place at present.

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