Verizon is expanding its presence by connecting 21 more US cities to the 5G internet network. FCC re-establishes the 5G security council after the cybersecurity threat level is higher than ever before. Gulf Energy bids the record-high $5.4 billion for Intouch Holdings in what can potentially be Thailand’s second-largest deal in history. UConn and AT&T in a partnership that can bring 5G to Stamford. The Romanian government officially approves the bill that, de facto, bans Huawei from the market, leaving the space wide open for the European telecom leaders – Ericsson and Nokia. Millicom pulls out of Africa by closing its operations in Tanzania, their biggest market with 13 million customers. The company will focus only on Latam from now on. To find out more about these and other telecom tech news stories from the past week, stick around to learn the details.
One of the largest U.S. telecom companies, Verizon, said it will launch the 5G internet for 21 U.S cities this month. With that decision, Verizon will expand its presence from Chicago, Houston, and Los Angeles, as it plans to expand its 5G services throughout the country.
Verizon is offering a 10-year price lock, no data limits, and plans to vary from 100Mbps to 400Mbps.
In its plans to target business customers, Verizon has also struck deals with Microsoft and Nokia to help clients with automation of factory floors and speeding up data traffic using private 5G networks.
Gulf Energy Development, the biggest power producer in Thailand just offered a $5.4 billion bid for Intough Holdings, a company in charge of the leading mobile phone operator AIS.
The bid revealed on Monday may lead to the second-biggest intra-country acquisition in Thailand’s history.
“We see that Intouch is a good platform with diverse companies in its portfolio, whether digital or satellite businesses, e-commerce, and other technologies,” Smith Banomyong, chief of Gulf asset management, said. “It also has good cash flow and stability, good partners and shareholders, and strong management.”
Intouch and AIS acknowledged the bid in separate filings. AIS did not comment further, while Intouch could not be immediately reached for a comment.
The University of Connecticut (UConn) and AT&T announced their new partnership through a press release on Monday. UConn and AT&T are partnering in order to advance the innovation on the Stamford campus by using the AT&T 5G+ millimeter wave and Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) technology.
“With UConn-Stamford and AT&T 5G together, the possibilities are as exciting as they are limitless. In UConn’s hands, ultra-fast, reliable connectivity will open doors of opportunity for students, businesses, and the community, enabling innovation in countless areas,” said John Emra, President, AT&T New England Region. “We are grateful to the entire team at UConn Stamford for their collaboration. And we applaud Governor Lamont for taking his vision for a modern, connected, and cutting-edge Connecticut and making it a reality.”
According to the press release, the AT&T technology will let the university advance their academic progress and expand their entrepreneurial activity.
“5G opens the door to new business models, products, services, and solutions. The widespread adoption of 5G technology can transform the business world across all sectors and bring exponential benefits,” said Anne Chow, CEO, AT&T Business. “Leading universities like UConn Stamford are utilizing 5G to empower students and faculty to innovate and make learning come alive in the most extraordinary ways. There’s no better place for 5G to be explored than on college campuses with our next generation of leaders.”
AT&T and UConn expect the new 5G lab that is going to be a result of the partnership to support a number of innovations that can serve as a huge help for the university and its students not only in terms of entrepreneurship but also data science.
“5G is a real game-changer. Access to ultra-fast wireless speeds is critical to our economic future for business and residents of our state,” said Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont. “The work with AT&T is another step in setting the groundwork for future capabilities that will help unlock new economic development opportunities for Connecticut and UConn Stamford.”
“Our collaboration with AT&T helps make the University and the state stronger and enhances our focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and business partnership. We are honored to work with AT&T to explore the future of 5G and MEC-powered innovations,” said Thomas Katsouleas, President, University of Connecticut.
The FCC is re-establishing its Communications Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC). The largest emphasis of the council will be improving the security of the 5G network.
CSRIC VII was disbanded in March. However, recently the threat of cyberattacks and large scandals such as the SolarWinds breach has shown that CSRIC is needed now more than ever.
“I am committed to working with our federal partners and the private sector to increase the security and resiliency of our nation’s communications networks,” Jessica Rosenworcel, the Acting Chairwoman of the FCC said. “That is why I am refocusing and revitalizing the FCC’s Communications, Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council for the challenges of today and tomorrow. The damage from recent supply chain attacks, like the SolarWinds software breach, demonstrates our need for a coordinated, multifaceted, and strategic approach to protecting our networks from all threats.”
CSRIC VIII will be established on June 30 at the latest and they will perform their duties connected to the 5G network security for at least 2 years.
The council will serve as a federal advisory committee and provide recommendations to the US telecoms regulators, in order to make sure the communications systems in the country are as secure as possible.
On Thursday, the Romanian government approved the US-backed bill that will ban China and Huawei from developing the 5G network in the country.
“The government just approved this bill of paramount importance for Romania, sealing a 2019 memorandum signed in Washington, meaning that China and Huawei are ruled out from any would-be partnership on 5G with the Romanian state,” Pavel Popescu said.
Under the memorandum, the two governments said during the summer of 2019 “as part of risk-based security approach, careful and complete evaluation of 5G vendors is necessary.”
“National security is a key goal, and protecting Romania’s future generations’ personal data is crucial,” Popescu added
The recent developments in Europe shutting out the Chinese company is an advantage for the biggest European players – the Swedish Ericsson and the Finish Nokia. The companies could become a supplier duopoly in the EU market if Huawei is banned by more countries.
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Strategy Analytics forecasted that the global smartphone wholesale revenues will go up by 13% in 2021 which is the best result in the past 6 years.
The increased demand is likely the increased price of the devices, as well as the pent-up demand which is the result of the Covid-19.
“We expect global smartphone sales volume will grow + 7% YoY at 1.4 billion units, and global smartphone wholesale average selling price (ASP) will grow +6% to US$294 in 2021, resulting in smartphone wholesale revenue exceeding US$400 billion,” said Linda Sui, Senior Director at Strategy Analytics. “We expect the ultra-premium segment (US$600 wholesale and above) to perform particularly well due to iPhone 12’s super cycle, and to contribute to almost half of the overall wholesale revenues this year,” she added.
The report also points out the geographical concentration, with more than half of the global smartphone wholesale value accounted for in the four biggest markets: China, the US, India, and Japan.
David Kerr, Senior VP at Strategy Analytics, believes that that level of concentration carries large risks.
“A downside risk remains in terms of volumes and value in India and Brazil which are suffering through significant surges in COVID-19 currently. However, in general, we remain modestly optimistic about both replacement sales and new customers,” he says.
Millicom, the emerging markets telecom group, announced that it is discontinuing its operations in Africa and will shift its focus entirely to Latin America.
Currently, Millicom, via its Tigo brand, has more than 52 million mobile subscribers in 11 countries across Latin America and Africa. However, the company has been slowly moving out of Africa, selling its operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, and Chad during the last 4 years.
Last week, the company decided to pull out of Ghana, and on Monday they decided to sell its Tanzania operations to Madagascar-based Axian. This means the company will fully exit the African market.
Tanzania, the last African market standing, was Millicom’s biggest African market, with 13 million customers. The company was among the top three telecom operators in the country. However, last year’s revenues show that the Tanzanian market accounted for barely $366 million in revenues which is 6% of Millicom’s total revenue.
“We knew that asset for a while because Tanzania has huge potential,” Hassanein Hiridjee, Axian chief executive, told the Financial Times. “When we found that Millicom was divesting from Africa we said: ‘We must go there, we must’.”
The company admitted that while Africa has historically brought in lower revenues, Latin America has been highly profitable.
“Millicom is a Latin American focused telecom company with 95 percent of our revenues coming from that region. With the announcement, today of the divestiture of our remaining African businesses we draw a close on a chapter in our history and open another solely focused on the Latin American region,” Mauricio Ramos, Millicom CEO, told the Financial Times.