Displaying items by tag: telecom news

Virgin Mobile, Vodacom and Bua Group are among companies potentially interested in buying 9mobile, formerly Etisalat Nigeria, according to a report by ThisDay. 9mobile recently rebranded after the UAE’s Etisalat terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian unit, giving up its 45 percent stake to a trustee.

Etisalat pulled out of Nigeria after its firm couldn’t come to an agreement with its lenders to restructure its $1.2 billion debt after it missed payments. Following Etisalat’s exit, the Nigerian firm announced it had rebranded as 9mobile and said it is open to discussions with new investors.

According to the report, Virgin Mobile, Vodacom and Bua Group, a local diversified business with a stake in various sectors, all plan to submit their memoranda of interest and technical presentations to a consortium of banks which have appointed advisers to evaluate acquisition bids.

Virgin Mobile is said to be willing to absorb the balance of the $1.2 billion debt 9mobile owes to 13 financial institutions, and stands out as the likely winner. Virgin’s chances are also high because of Vodacom’s rivalry with South Africa’s MTN over the years, therefore several former MTN Nigeria executives are backing Virgin’s potential bid.

If Virgin successfully takes control of 9mobile, it will reportedly execute a development strategy in which every cell site will be upgraded to 3G or 4G. The move could be extremely beneficial for a nation that has mostly 2G cell sites.

9mobile has about a 13 percent share of Nigeria’s mobile market, according to GSMA Intelligence, behind MTN, Glo Mobile and Airtel.

Published in Telecom Operators

With an estimated 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming how we live, and the Enterprise of Things is transforming how we work. As such, BlackBerry Limited announced productivity and security enhancements to its enterprise software platform designed to power the Enterprise of Things.

As part of BlackBerry Secure, the most secure and comprehensive platform to connect people, devices, processes and systems, BlackBerry® Enterprise Mobility Suite provides secure, management policies and controls across key platforms (iOS, Android™, Windows® 10, macOS, and Samsung Knox™) and device ownership models such as BYOD and Corporate Owned. It can be delivered on premises, as a cloud service, and now includes the following features to improve productivity and security:

  • Manage and Secure Microsoft Office 365 Mobile Applications: IT can manage and apply protection policies to Microsoft Office 365 mobile applications such as Word®, Excel®, and PowerPoint from BlackBerry UEM.
  • Access Business Data on Unmanaged Laptops: Users of BlackBerry Access, will now be able to securely work with business data on their personal or BYOL (Bring-Your-Own-Laptop) Windows 10 and MacOS computers.
  • Provide In-line Comments, @Mentions and DocuSign: BlackBerry's secure Enterprise File Synchronization and Sharing (EFSS) solution, BlackBerry Workspaces, has been updated to allow in-line comments, @mentions and alerts. DocuSign has also been integrated, adding a key workflow for legally binding documents such as loan applications and financial transactions.
  • Leverage Application Analytics: BlackBerry Analytics can now track daily and monthly active users, daily minutes used, usage by OS type and version, daily launch count and user engagement by feature (such as 1:1 chat vs group chat). This application analytics capability gives IT and developers the key insight they need to increase business productivity, such as modifying UX flow, modifying training or altering maintenance schedules.
  • Manage More Wearables: BlackBerry has extended its endpoint management software capabilities to include modern workforce devices such as smart glasses. Applications specific to wearables, such as Ubimax and Atheer, can also be securely managed.

"The explosion of devices and consumer applications is making it increasingly difficult for enterprises to balance information security and compliance with productivity and connectivity," said Billy Ho, executive vice president of enterprise software, BlackBerry.

"MDM and EMM are simply not enough, which is why we offer a Unified Endpoint Management platform that lets companies secure and manage these devices, plus the associated applications. By making it easier to use, we are removing one of the biggest IT challenges - getting employees to use corporate applications."

The company's industry-leading security is trusted by organizations in government, defense, intelligence and other environments with the most stringent security requirements. In addition to more than 80 security certifications, BlackBerry was once again named a Leader in Gartner's June 2017 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites.

This year, the company moved higher in execution and farther in vision and was one of four EMM vendors to be positioned in the Leaders' Quadrant. BlackBerry also received the highest score in all six use cases of Gartner's August 2016 "Critical Capabilities for High-Security Mobility Management" report.

French telecom giant Orange announced it has launched the sell-down of approximately 133 million shares that its subsidiary Atlas Services Belgium owns in BT, representing around 1.33 % of the share capital of BT, through a private placement by way of an accelerated bookbuilt offering.

BT will acquire up to GBP 200m in the placement of BT shares, part of which for the benefit of its Employee Share Ownership Trust, at the placement price. Such order will be fully allocated by Orange.

Simultaneously, Orange announced it has launched an offering of bonds exchangeable into BT shares due 2021 for a nominal amount of approximately GBP 520 million, at a premium of 35% to 40% above the share placement price carried out by way of a private placement.

Orange would initially retain a 2.66% stake in BT. In case of exercise in full of the exchange rights underlying the bonds, Orange would retain a 1.33% stake in BT.

The exchangeable bonds, with a maturity of 4 years (except in the case of early redemption), are issued in GBP. They will bear a coupon between 0% and 0.375% and will have negative interest rate after hedging in euros. They will be offered at an issue price of between 100.5 % and 100 % of the principal amount, corresponding to an annual yield to maturity of between -0.125 % and 0.375 %.

The exchangeable bonds are expected to be issued in principal amounts of GBP 100,000 per bond and will be redeemed at par at maturity (except in the case of early redemption).The holders of exchangeable bonds may exercise their exchange right at any time from 7 August 2017 until the 55th calendar day before the maturity date of the bonds. Orange will have the flexibility to settle in cash, deliver ordinary shares of BT or a combination thereof.

The underlying exchange property (being initially only BT shares) will be subject to customary adjustment upon the occurrence of certain corporate events pursuant to the terms and conditions of the bonds.

The final terms of the placement and of the exchangeable bonds issue are expected to be announced on 20 June 2017 at the latest. Settlement for the placement of the BT shares and the exchangeable bonds issue are expected to take place on 22 June 2017 and 27 June 2017 respectively. An application will be made for the exchangeable bonds to be admitted to trading on the Marché Libre d’Euronext Paris.

Orange will agree to a 90-day lock up for its remaining shareholding in BT, subject to waiver from the joint bookrunners and certain exceptions, in particular the possibility to sell BT shares to a strategic investor (provided that this investor agrees to be bound by a similar lock-up commitment) or to monetize scrip dividend.

The proceeds of these transactions will be used for the general corporate purposes of Orange.

The placement of the shares and the exchangeable bonds issue are targeted at eligible institutional and qualified investors. The definitive terms will be determined following the completion of the accelerated bookbuilding process. There will be no public offering in any country.

Published in Finance

The Canadian heritage minister rejected a recommendation to introduce a new five percent tax on high-speed internet services in the country on June 15, just shortly after the proposed tax was made public by a parliamentary committee.

Canadian politician Melanie Joly told Global news that “there are no plans for a new tax” on high-speed internet services such as Netflix, Apple Music and Crave. Joly added that the Canadian government is committed to reducing taxes, not increasing them. The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed Joly’s words at a stop in Montreal.

The Canadian House of Commons initially released the tax recommendation report with 20 recommendations aimed at improving Canada’s slowing media industry and help it adapt to the ever-changing landscape. One of the suggestions was applying a five percent tax to internet services, which is already applied to broadcasters.

The goal of implementing the tax, according to the committee, was to lift up the industry and force it to adapt to technological changes and evolving consumer habits. Committee chair and Liberal MP Hedy Fry said, “At the moment, as you well know, there is a five percent levy on broadcast media in order to be able to help them bring [in] Canadian content.”

Fry added, “We found that this was a risk that they would go into streaming and escape the usual five percent tax… so we’re suggesting that the five percent levy be expanded to include streaming.”

But the proposal was strongly condemned by the Conservative members of the committee, who said the tax would have added hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues to the Canadian Media Fund, which already gets a levy on cable bills to finance the production of Canadian content.

Other recommendations by the committee include requiring the publicly funded CBC to get rid of advertizing on its digital platforms, which would allow media companies to deduct taxes on digital advertizing on Canadian-owned platforms and a tax credit for print outlets for a portion of their digital investments.

“Change brings disruption,” said Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, whose party rejects any increased government involvement in the media and adding more taxes. “In our view, higher taxes and government control of the news is not the answer to the problem.”

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation also spoke out in favor of the rejection of the new tax proposal. Federal director Aaron Wudrick said, “A new internet tax is a terrible idea, and would make the internet less affordable for Canadians.” Wudrick added, “Even worse would be using the revenue to create a new corporate welfare slush fund for the government to subsidize their favorite media outlets.”

Published in Government

Worldwide mobile subscribers hits 5 billion, says GSMA

Written on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 09:30

The world’s mobile industry has signed up its 5 billionth unique mobile subscriber, according to real-time data from GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA. The 5 billion milestone means that more than two-thirds of the global population is now connected to a mobile service. It has taken four years to add the latest 1 billion subscribers.

“Reaching the 5 billion subscriber milestone is a tremendous achievement for an industry that is only a few decades old, and reflects the many billions of dollars that mobile operators have invested in networks, services and spectrum over many years,” commented Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

“Today mobile is a truly global platform, delivering connectivity and, perhaps more importantly, social and economic opportunities to citizens in all corners of the world. This massive reach allows the mobile industry to be a key player in delivering global initiatives such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” Granryd added.

More than half (55 percent) of mobile subscribers are based in the Asia Pacific region, which is home to the world’s two largest mobile markets: China and India. China accounts for more than a billion of the world’s subscribers, while India accounts for 730 million.

The most highly penetrated region in the world is Europe, where 86 percent of citizens are subscribed to a mobile service. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least penetrated region at 44 percent.

It is forecasted that the number of unique mobile subscribers worldwide will increase to 5.7 billion by the end of the decade. By that point, almost three-quarters of the world’s population will subscribe to a mobile service. India is expected to account for the largest share of growth over this period, responsible for around 30 percent of new unique subscribers by 2020.

“Subscriber growth opportunities over the coming years will be focused on connecting mainly rural, low-income populations; operators are developing a range of sustainable solutions to deliver affordable connectivity to underserved communities,” said Granryd.

“Meanwhile, in mature markets where subscriber growth is slowing, operators are evolving their business models to capture increasing value within the expanding mobile ecosystem, and providing the platform for a new digital world as we enter the 5G era,” Granryd added.

Published in Devices

Global management consulting and professional services company Accenture announced that it will achieve a gender-balanced workforce, with 50 percent women and 50 percent men, by 2025.

“We believe strongly that gender equality is essential for a high-performing, innovation-led organization,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and CEO. “Diversity makes our business stronger and more innovative and, most important, it makes the world better. With this new goal, we are sending an important message to our people and our clients that our future workforce is an equal workforce.”

Currently, Accenture has 150,000 women, nearly 40 percent of its global workforce. Over the past several years the company has set milestones on the path to gender equality. These include: setting a goal to reach 40 percent women new hires by 2017 – and achieving it a year early; promoting its largest percentage of women to the managing director level in 2016 (30 percent); and growing its percentage of women managing directors to 25 percent globally by 2020.

Accenture has taken a number of steps to attract, retain, advance and sponsor women on its path to achieving a gender balanced workforce, including sponsoring a global executive leadership program for the company’s most senior women. Since its inception six years ago, approximately 80 percent of the women in the program have been promoted or have significantly expanded their areas of responsibility.

Accenture is also delivering on a commitment to transparency. The company has set and published clear, measurable targets to grow its number of women, and has published its workforce demographics in many countries including the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Japan, India and ASEAN countries.

The company is also launching initiatives that provide women with in-demand skills. For example, the company’s Women in Technology program helps fast-track the careers of high-performing women toward the position of Technical Architect, a high-demand and short-supply role. In addition, Accenture is collaborating across business and government to further gender equality in the workplace, with commitments that include the White House Equal Pay Pledge, Paradigm for Parity, and Catalyst CEO Champions for Change.

“We embrace diversity as a source of creativity and competitive advantage,” said Omar Boulos, regional managing director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa. “As we work toward ‘50 by 2025’, globally and in the Middle East region, our goal is to create a truly human environment where people have a real sense of belonging, where they can show up every day, be who they are and be their best, both professionally and personally.”

Tigo Rwanda, owned by telecom and media giant Millicom, has partnered with Ericsson to completely overhaul its Business Support System (BSS) ecosystem. Tigo has been operating in Africa since 1993, in Rwanda since 2009, and serves more than 25 million customers in Africa.

Tigo Rwanda is the first operator across the Millicom group that has transformed its BSS operations and gone live with Ericsson's 'as a Service' model for its complete BSS needs. The solution covers the full spectrum of charging, billing, provisioning, mediation and roaming functionality combined with advanced customer care and self-care solutions for management and ordering of services.

The partnership enables Tigo to better serve its customers with new and innovative offerings combined with shorter time to market, improved customer experience and increased operational efficiency.  

Xavier Rocoplan, Chief Technical and IT Officer at Millicom says, "This is another major step in our IT transformation and process improvement journey. The 'as a Service' operating model is a very important component of our long term strategy. This new way of looking at BSS activities is a cornerstone in Millicom's operational excellence program that strives at always delivering a better experience for our customers in a more efficient manner. The partnership with Ericsson has enabled us to quickly meet our strategic needs and provide a solid foundation for future development. We have already begun to see improvements in the experience for our consumers and employees in Rwanda."

Rafiah Ibrahim, SVP and Head of Market Area Middle East & Africa, Ericsson, says: "Our partnership with Tigo Rwanda and the implementation of Ericsson's innovative BSS 'as a Service' model signifies an important first step towards future collaboration across the Millicom group. We are confident that the trust and cooperation embedded in this business model, which lies at the center of revenue generation for Tigo, will further strengthen the strategic relationship in BSS between Tigo Rwanda and Ericsson, as well as the entire Millicom group."

French telecom group Orange is strengthening its corporate venture strategy by creating a new Africa section in its flagship program for investment in startups, Orange Digital Ventures. As part of this initiative, the Group is committing 50 million euros corresponding to half of the direct investments made via its new Orange Digital Ventures Africa program; the other half is devoted to indirect investments through specialized funding for Africa.

Orange Digital Ventures Africa is the Group’s investment vehicle for early-stage innovation projects in Africa in areas such as new connectivities, FinTech, the Internet of Things, energy and e-health. The objective is to target startups offering responses to Africa’s fundamental challenges while leveraging the operator’s assets on the continent. This support will concern all innovative startups, whether they are based geographically in Africa or they address African issues from another continent.

A dedicated team based in Dakar, Senegal will be set up next September for the program in order to respond to the startups’ need for responsiveness and simplicity. This new initiative underlines Orange’s commitment in Africa, a growth territory where currently nearly one of every ten inhabitants is an Orange customer, and its determination to always be a cutting-edge player in digital ecosystems.

It supports Orange’s existing open innovation initiatives in Africa, such as the Orange Fabs in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal and BIG in Jordan to facilitate partnerships with the start-ups; the network of partner incubators such as CTIC in Dakar; the availability of Orange APIs on the continent; and the Orange Social Venture Prize recognizing social entrepreneurs in Africa.

“Since the beginning of Orange Digital Ventures, the new services and business models in Africa have been one of the priority investment themes of our corporate venture business,” said Pierre Louette, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Orange and Chairman of Orange Digital Ventures. “With this announcement, we are engaging a bit further alongside the African digital ecosystem, which like everywhere else and maybe even more than elsewhere carries with it a development challenge.” 

Telecom network equipment giant Nokia recently completed discussions for laying off employees in its home country of Finland. As a result of the talks, Nokia will cut 170 jobs, the company stated on June 9.

The job cutting discussions were first announced in May, when the company said it was preparing to fire up to 200 employees from network operations and support functions, Reuters reports. The majority of job cuts (70 percent) will be from Nokia’s Espoo headquarters and will be completed by the end of 2017.

Nokia has around 6,100 employees in its home country and around 101,000 globally. The vendor is providing aid to staff affected by the layoffs, such as referring them to other available positions which arise through the remainder of the year, and also retraining staff to find alternative positions within the company.  

Last year Nokia laid off 960 employees in Finland and also said it would fire up to 1,400 positions in Germany. The staff reductions are part of a 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) worldwide cost-savings plan which Nokia announced after its 2016 acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. The company said at the time that it expected to benefit from cost savings of 1.2 billion euros in the form of synergies during 2018.

Published in Telecom Vendors

British energy giant SSE is reportedly looking to expand its scope by investing in ultrafast broadband infrastructure, accelerating its move into telecoms, and threatening firms such as BT and Virgin Media. SSE is said to be exploring the business case for laying new fiber optics to homes and businesses that would provide more efficient internet connections than copper lines or cable.

The company has been working towards infrastructure investments “all the time” according to David Walter, director of SSE’s broadband business, to establish itself in the telecoms sector, The Telegraph reports. However, at this stage no concrete decisions have been made by SSE and no investment is currently pending.  

SSE’s move into telecoms infrastructure laying could be viewed as a sign of confidence in the growing links between broadband and the utilities sector. SSE and its energy industry rivals are increasingly expanding their scopes to provide thermostats and other technology that requires an internet connection, thus closing the gap between utilities and communications. The move would also be welcomed by regulators that want more competition at the infrastructure level.

However, SSE’s move could also be seen as threatening and disrupting the marketplace with its investment, says Mimosa Networks CPO Jaime Fink. “To compete with BT and Virgin Media, SSE will need to select the right tools for the job,” he said. “Whilst the industry will always rely on deep fibre to feed bandwidth into neighbourhoods and urban areas, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) is not cost effective and is disruptive to deploy.”

Fink believes SSE should “take lessons from internet providers in the US and use fixed wireless to deliver broadband to the home, which offers speeds akin to FTTH, at nearly one-tenth of the cost.”

Fink added, “New US broadband market entrants such as Google and Facebook are leveraging fixed wireless, with established players such as AT&T and Verizon also considering this approach for rapidly commercialising 5G. The technology could help SSE serve all environments efficiently across the UK, undercutting the market with the speed and price of its service.”

It’s likely that SSE’s investment in new fibre optics would be with partners, according to Mr. Walter. The cost of building the new connections, he said, could be shared with retail rivals, and SEE could use existing backbone networks in the UK, like those owned by CityFibre and Vodafone.

A similar project by TalkTalk in York has caught the attention of SSE to watch how things pan out. Mr. Walter hasn’t ruled out a major acquisition such as TalkTalk as a way of shortcutting SSE’s way to high status in the industry, but he said the company had a “clear idea of [what] multiple broadband subscribers are worth.”

Published in Infrastructure
Page 1 of 6