Today, we will look at the past week in Telecom and the most important events that you may have missed. Xiaomi blacklisting has been overturned by the US Court, Nokia and Ericsson continue the fierce competition as the Finnish telecom will cut 10 000 jobs in the next two years to increase its R&D investments. United Group telecom plans to replace Huawei with a new telecom equipment vendor to align with the United States. Verizon project a giga spending on the 5G rollout while AT&T is more conservative. Samsung has had a great week as one of the head engineers has been chosen to lead a 6G global group and the company has also managed to strike a patent deal with Nokia. Find out what was happening in the telecom news in the second week of March.
On Thursday, one of China’s biggest smartphone makers, Xiaomi, released the information that they will purchase shares up to $1.29 billion on the open market, as a part of the repurchase program.
The shares of Xiaomi have suffered a large loss after the company was blacklisted in the United States in mid-January, losing ⅓ of their share price.
“The board believes that a share repurchase in the present conditions will demonstrate the company’s confidence in its own business outlook…and create value to the shareholders,” Xiaomi said in a statement.
On Thursday, the legendary Finnish telecom, Nokia, revealed that it has come to an agreement with Samsung regarding licensing patents that cover its innovations in video standards.
The financials involved in the agreement were not disclosed by the companies but as Reuters states, “Samsung will make royalty payments to Nokia”.
Currently, Nokia has more than 20 000 patent families and more than 3500 patents essential to 5G.
United Group, Balkan-based telecom, and media company was up until now dominated by Huawei equipment. Having said that, as it tries to align itself with the US government, it is now considering replacing Huawei with a new Telecom great vendor.
United operates in several Eastern and Southern European countries including Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, and Serbia, offering both broadband internet and fixed telephony, cable TV, and mobile. In most of these countries, Huawei gear is primarily used for all of the infrastructures, being cheaper than Nokia and Ericsson. Thus, switching to a new vendor will be a costly time-consuming operation, having to rip out the current gear to install another.
“I think a gradual and measured switch to something that is more U.S.-approved is the right approach, and it’s one that we’re considering,” The Chairman of the United Group, Nikos Stathopoulos said.“We cannot ignore their wishes but, in an ideal world, we should also receive financial help (from governments) for switching to new infrastructure, as it will cost us millions of dollars to do so.”
On Tuesday, Nokia announced that over the next two years, the will cut up to 10 000 jobs. It is a part of their restructuring plan and attempting to save costs and invest in research. The new CEO of Nokia, Pekka Lundmark, has taken over last year. Since then, he has been very clear that he is ready to do everything to take the lead in 5G and not only become a fiercer competitor against the Swedish Ericsson but also get some of Huawei’s share.
So far, Ericsson has been ahead in the rivalry, mostly due to winning several 5G contracts in China. So far, Nokia has not signed any China contracts. That has also suffered a major hit when the contract about supplying the 5G equipment to Verizon went to Samsung instead of them.
“Decisions that may have a potential impact on our employees are never taken lightly,” Lundmark said in a statement. “My priority is to ensure that everyone impacted is supported through this process.”
On Tuesday, worried users of the encrypted messaging app, Signal, started reporting that the app does not work in China unless a virtual private network (VPN) is used.
The cyber authorities in China have been more scrutinized in the past years, as more apps and media outlets are banned in the country. However, Signal is still available for download on the AppStore in China.
Having more than 100 million downloads worldwide, Signal has been downloaded more than 510 000 times on the Chinese iOS. It has previously been unavailable for access in China several times with no reason to ever been given.
Chinese Cyberspace Administration did not respond to comment. The press team of Signal has also not responded to the news as of now.
On Tuesday, Samsung Electronics said that the group’s senior researcher, Choi Hyung-jin, will lead an international group on 6G commercialization and standardization.
Huying-jin has been appointed into his new role by the International Telecommunication Union-Radiocommunication (ITU-R), an international decision-making body that is in control of radiocommunication regulations and telecommunication standards worldwide. ITU-R also serves as a body providing a road map for R&D in telecom.
The 6G group will define the key capabilities of 6G, research technologies and create timelines on when commercialization and standardization will be possible.
6G vision is expected to be completed by 2023.
In his last days in the office, the former President, Donald Trump, has been actively going after the Chinese big tech, banning and blacklisting several companies. On the 15th of January of this year, Xiaomi has been blacklisted in the United States and the company has subsequently sued the government. Now, the judge has overturned Xiaomi’s blacklisting, saying that there is no reason for Xiaomi to be on the list of Chinese companies that are a substantial risk to the United States..
“The Court concludes that a preliminary injunction is an appropriate exercise of its discretion here. Accordingly, the Court will preliminarily enjoin the prohibitions against Xiaomi in full,’ the ruling of the District Judge Rudolph Contreras reads.
After the ruling, Xiaomi issued their own statement that states, “We would like to emphasize once again that Xiaomi is a listed company with independent operation and management, decentralized equity and open stock trading. Our electronic products are for ordinary consumers. We believe that the inclusion of Xiaomi in the list of Chinese military-related enterprises is an arbitrary and arbitrary decision, and the judge also agreed with it. We will continue to ask the court to finally rule that the decree is invalid for Xiaomi.”
Rogers Communications will buy its rival, Shaw, in a deal worth $21 billion.
“As part of the transaction, the combined company will invest $2.5 billion in 5G networks over the next five years across Western Canada, which will enhance competitiveness, offer consumers and businesses more choice and improved services, help close the digital divide between urban and rural communities, and deliver significant long-term benefits for businesses and consumers,” the operators said in a joint statement.
Verizon decided that it will spend the whopping $10 billion over the next three years on the 5G rollout on its C-band spectrum.
“We have definitely line-of-sight to a return, well above our cost of capital as a result of the investment we made, both in the auction itself and in the additional network rollout spend,” said Matt Ellis, Verizon’s CFO. “The return is significantly driven the revenue generation,” he said.
Hans Vestberg, Verizon’s Chief executive seconded that opinion, saying that Verizon “will compete effectively in this market”
AT&T does not plan to spend as much as it rival Verizon on the 5G rollout. The US company has estimated spending of $6 billion to $8 billion in the next 3-4 years.
On Friday, Jeff McElfresh, the CEO of AT&T Communications announced the spending plans for the C-band, as well as HBO Max and fibre. McElfresh reminded people who attended that the telco hiked the mobile network investments lately in order to cover the launch of the first responder network FirstNet
“As that program begins to enter its final stages, we’re shifting our investments in wireless to more densification, which includes the deployment of our C-band spectrum,” McElfresh said. “So it will be an allocation shift within our current portfolio.”
If you are interested in telecom news, 5G, Telecom companies, Xiaomi blacklisting, regulatory issues and more, be sure to come back next week for another weekly telecom news highlights. Meanwhile, you may enjoy: