Let us look at some of the key events in the telecom industry. This week, we are looking at Samsung stepping up its game in the 5G market, winning another contract. Meanwhile in Chile, the country has a highly ambitious 5G rollout plan while trying to maintain the highest security standards. The shares of Telecom Italia are in trouble as the uncertainty about the national broadband network grows. In Britain, the BT “Project Gigabit” will connect the first million rural premises in a broadband programme. Nokia is trying to fight for regaining its position against the biggest rivals – Ericsson and Huawei, and they successfully sign a five-year agreement with AT&T.
On Monday, Samsung Electronics announced it won the 5G contract from NTT Docomo Inc, a Japanese mobile operator. Following the agreement, Samsung will supply the 5G network equipment and support for open interfaces.
“This announcement cements Samsung’s position as a major 5G RAN supplier,” said Stefan Pongratz, Vice President at research firm Dell’Oro.
Currently, the 5G mobile network equipment market is largely dominated by Huawei and the two European telecoms – Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia. However, Samsung is trying to gain its market share and challenge the well-established telcos.
Recently, the company won a $6.6 billion 5G contract from Verizon that Nokia was eyeing. It has also agreed to provide the 5G network equipment for SaskTel in Canada and is currently in the process of talks with European operators.
Chile wants to roll out a 5G network in most of the country in the next two years. Having said that, it keeps strict security rules as the tensions over cybersecurity is growing.
“As long as (the regulations) are respected, we neither have nor are we going to influence the supply chain nor the nationality of the companies,” Pame Gidi, the Telecommunications Undersecretary said.
Not only would the ambitious rollout plan give Chile an advantage over its neighbors, but it could also attract Amazon’s web services unit and give them an incentive to install a southern cone data center in Chile.
“We think obviously (5G deployment) can help in the decision of Amazon and other companies that in the future decide to settle in Chile,” Gidi said.
5G spectrum in Chile will be established by Chilean Entel, Spain’s Movistar, and the WOM, a mobile telephone brand established by the investment firm Novator Partners. The speculations indicate that WOM will choose Huawei as the supplier of the technology.
“We give freedom to the companies that concession the spectrum to make their commercial decisions freely provided the (cybersecurity) technical standards are respected,” Gene said adding that it is up to the company to decide on an appropriate way to roll out 5G as long as it is within their contract.
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On Friday, Telecom Italia’s shares fell by more than 6%, due to the uncertainty about the single super-fast broadband network that Italy is planning
Italy has been attempting to create a national network by merging Open Fiber and Entel, with the landline grid assets coming from Telecom Italia. However, the plans have not been finalized and now, the project stands still with growing doubts.
On Friday, Giancarlo Giorgetti, the Industry Minister of Italy said that the project’s goal was closing the digital gap between Italy and the rest of the continent and speeding up the fast broadband rollout.
“If the single network project offers answers to the broadband coverage goals then it is acceptable, if it an obstacle to them, then it becomes a problem,” Giorgetti said.
Vittorio Colao urged the officials to resolve the project in a swift manner in order to ensure fast connectivity in the whole country by 2026. However, on Thursday he also announced that other options are also considered.
“While the new ministers’ commitment to accelerate the ultra-broadband national coverage looks clear, how this should occur in their view is not,” Intesa Sanpaolo said in a report.
TIM has said numerous times that they require at least 50% of any network that is creating by a merger with Open Fiber.
“Governance remains the biggest issue to be solved on the single network project,” Mediobanca Securities wrote in a note.
The Birish “Project Gigabit” is about to launch with the first one million rural homes and businesses getting gigabit broadband. It is the first phase of a total $7 billion project that will connect premises that commercial roll-out by BT and their rivals do not reach.
Up to 510,000 premises in Cambridgeshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, Durham, Essex, Northumberland, South Tyneside, and Tees Valley will be the first to benefit, it said on Friday, with building due to start in the first half of 2022.
Up to 640,000 premises in Norfolk, Shropshire, Suffolk, Worcestershire, Hampshire, and the Isle of Wight, will be the next in the plan, called ‘Project Gigabit’.
“This broadband revolution will fire up people’s businesses and homes, and the vital public services that we all rely on, so we can continue to level up and build back better from this pandemic,” Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said.
It was also announced that BT will connect 20 million additional premises by the end of 2020s.
“As the nation’s largest independent full fibre platform, with a build programme underway to a third of the UK market, CityFibre is ready to extend our network even further to reach rural communities,” said CityFibre chief executive Greg Mesch. “We look forward to participating in this important programme to ensure no one is left behind.”
British’s BT got the regulators’ greenlight to build fibre like fury which will let them charge the providers for premium services in order to support the investment. After the Thursday announcement, BT’s shares were up and reached a 13-month high.
“Full fibre broadband will be the foundation of a strong BT for decades to come and a shot in the arm for the UK as we build back better from this pandemic,” Philip Jansen, the Chief Executive of BT said.
“We aim to allow all companies the opportunity to achieve a fair return over their whole investment period, and do not expect to introduce cost-based prices for fibre services for at least ten years,” Regulator Ofcom said.
Up until now, Britain has been behind other European countries in building high-standard fibre networks for homes and businesses and relying on a mixture of fibre and old cobber connections that were not keeping up with the developments and demand.
Ofcom Regulator said about 70% of British customers would now have a choice of gigabit networks.
Nokia’s Plans To Become A Big Competitor In The 5G Market
Just last week, we were writing that Nokia will cut thousands of job as the newly appointed Chief Executive, Pekka Lundmark is taking risks and cutting costs to get ahead of the rivals in the 5G domination.
In the past year, there are several deals that Nokia lost to its biggest competitors on 5G networks – Huawei and Ericsson.
Lundmark has announced drastic changes after taking over the company less than a year ago. He has decreased the leadership team from 17 to 11 and decided to cut 10 000 employees from the total number of 90 000 in the next two years.
“I want to decentralize decision making and reduce bureaucracy, and really empower those people who are the most competent ones to make a decision,” Lundmark told Reuters.
“The market share we got in the first phase of 5G in China was tiny … We did not have the right product at the right time,” Lundmark said, adding Nokia will increase their focus on the Chinese market.
“It is a big company and the timeframe for turning the ship around is short but the new leadership starts off with more credibility than the old one which was constantly behind on the targets it set,” OP Bank analyst Kimmo Stenvall said.
On Thursday, Nokia revealed they signed a five-year deal concerning the 5G network with the U.S.-based AT&T. The Finnish telecom will deploy the 5G network on the C-Band spectrum in the selected parts of the United States.
Ed Cholerton, President of Nokia North America, said: “Nokia is ready to support the launch of 5G services into this valuable new spectrum on our customers’ timelines by leveraging our powerful portfolio of C-Band solutions and by being the first to demonstrate a live C-Band network in the U.S. in 2020. Our flexible and comprehensive portfolio will enable AT&T to enhance its 5G services in areas across the nation,” Ed Cholerton, President of Nokia North America said.
Nokia did not disclose the value of the agreement.
Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President of Wireless and Access Technology AT&T said: “AT&T is committed to bringing the power of 5G to businesses and communities across the nation, and our C-Band deployments with Nokia will help add 5G capacity where it’s needed,” Senior Vice President of Wireless and Access Technology AT& T, Igar Elbaz said. “Nokia has been our trusted collaborator for more than 20 years as we’ve rolled out each generation of wireless technology, and its C-Band portfolio brings the right capabilities to help enable AT&T to deliver an exciting and powerful 5G experience that our subscribers have come to expect from us.”