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The $26 billion merger deal between US telecommunication operators T-Mobile US and Sprint has received the backing of a key official at the US communications regulator FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
The decision taken by the Trump administration to effectively ban Huawei from the US market has drastically deteriorated already soured diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing as the rest of the world anxiously looks on.
US aggression towards Chinese telecommunication entities shows no signs of abating following the latest calls from the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission to block China Mobile from operating in the United States.
China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile operator and has nearly 930 million customers. It has been desperately trying to penetrate the US market for the last eight years. It first filed an application for permission to operate in the United States back in 2011, but thus far it has been unsuccessful in its attempts to get a license to trade.
The FCC has five members which are comprised of both Democrats and Republicans and their due to vote on an order that if approved would deny China Mobile’s request to operate. The offensive campaign against China’s ICT firms that has seen Huawei and ZTE subjected to intense scrutiny has actually drawn bipartisan support in the House of Representatives and appears to be one issue that both parties universally agree on.
FCC chairman Ajit Paj released a statement on the China Mobile application and again referenced the importance of domestic security as the main reason to reject the Chinese operators’ efforts to gain access to the US market.
The FCC chairman said, “Safeguarding our communications networks is critical to our national security. Evidence, including that submitted by other federal agencies made it clear that China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks."
China Mobile’s ambitions to penetrate the US market now appear dead and the water. The US has continued its smear campaign against Huawei and ZTE and has pressured allies in banning them from participating in their 5G buildout.
Australia and New Zealand have prohibited Huawei from their 5G networks, but the US has met resistance in Europe, with Germany and Belgium both saying they’ve found no evidence of any threats from Huawei, whilst Vodafone claimed that barring Huawei from 5G in Europe would significantly delay the commercialization of the next-generation networks on the European continent.
Swiss telecommunications operator Swisscom has launched the continent’s first large scale 5G networks in partnership with Swedish vendor Ericsson.
In a statement released by the Swedish telecommunications behemoth it confirmed that the 5G network was launched in 54 cities across Switzerland after the operator secured a license to operate a 5G network in the country.
Ericsson has seen its financial coffers significantly boosted by its success in the North American market following the publication of its Q1 results.
Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm expressed his delight at the launch of the 5G networks in Switzerland and predicted that the company would up the ante in relation to 5G in the large parts of Asia by the end of this year.
Ekholm said, “To date we have publicly announced commercial 5G deals with 18 named operator customers, which, at the moment, is more than any other vendor. The company would continue to incur costs for field trials and we’re expecting large-scale deployments of 5G to begin in parts of Asia by the end of 2019. Combined, this will gradually impact short-term margins but strengthen our position in the long term.”
Shares of Ericsson rocketed on the Stockholm stock exchange with the company reporting an increase of 3% which represented a four-year high for the vendor.
Ericsson, one of Chinese telecom giant Huawei's main rivals in the 5G market, said earlier this year it hadn't felt any effects from US pressure on countries to ban Huawei's equipment amid fears that it could compromise the security of the mobile phone networks.
Apple and US chipmaker Qualcomm will resume their long-running feud as a new court case between the two titans of American enterprise begins in San Diego next week.
The two companies have been embroiled in a bitter row over patent licensing practices for the best part of two years. Last month, a Californian jury ruled in favour of Qualcomm and awarded the company $31m after it found that Apple’s iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8 and 8 Plus and X infringed two patents.
Apple has expressed its confidence that this new lawsuit in San Diego will rule in their favour as they seek damages of up to $27bn after accusing its one-time supplier of engaging in patent license practices that amounted to double-dipping.
Qualcomm on the other hand are claiming that the US technology behemoth forced some of it business partners to stop paying the company royalties and is seeking $15bn in damages.
The initial lawsuit was filed by Apple back in 2017, which forced the US chipmaker to counter-sue the iPhone maker and winning bans on the sale of some iPhone models in some markets for patent violations.
Qualcomm charges its customers for the chips themselves and also adds on patent licensing charges. It asks customers to sign an agreement before supplying any products.
Apple has termed this "no licence, no chips" policy a way of charging twice for the same thing. Along with its business partners, Apple is seeking an end to this practice and a refund of something in the region of US$9 billion.
This amount could be tripled if the jury comes to the conclusion that Apple's anti-trust allegations against Qualcomm are correct. Apple claims Qualcomm's practices kept rivals like Intel - from whom Apple is now sourcing chips - from competing in this sector for a long time.
Companies that are on contract with Apple, such as Foxconn, have paid the royalties to Qualcomm and been reimbursed by Apple. But Apple has pushed some of these firms to violate their contracts and deprive Qualcomm of about US$7 billion in royalties, the chip producer claims.
A victory for Apple will not mean much in terms of money but it would destroy a business model that Qualcomm has used with great success for many years.
US ride-hailing colossus Uber disclosed its financial earnings for the final quarter of 2018 which showed its revenue growth has slowed ahead of its much anticipated stock market debut.
The financial figures released by Uber indicated that for the final three months of the year its loss amounted to $865 million, compared with $1.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.
The San Francisco-based firm reported revenue of $3 billion, which represented a 25 percent increase from a year earlier. Uber remains a private company, but routinely discloses some earnings information.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has managed to guide Uber through choppy waters since assuming the CEO role from Travis Kalanick.
He is also being tasked with the responsibility of steering the high-value startup to a stock market debut this year, and has promised greater transparency as he seeks to restore confidence in the global ridesharing leader that has been hit by a wave of misconduct scandals and has become embroiled in a series of legal battles regarding its services, particularly in Europe.
Revenue for the full year rose 43 percent to $11.3 billion, with Uber's annual loss shrinking 15 percent to $1.8 billion, according to an official statement from the startup.
Uber operates its’ rideshare business in dozens of countries and has expanded to new areas including food delivery, electric scooters and bikes. The company is recognized as the largest of the venture-backed startups with a presumed valuation of some $70 billion.
Uber CFO Nelson Chai expressed his satisfaction with Uber’s financial results and said, “Last year was our strongest yet, and Q4 set another record for engagement on our platform. Our ridesharing business maintained category leadership in all regions we serve, Uber Freight gained exciting traction in the US, JUMP e-bikes and e-scooters are on the road in over a dozen cities."
Based on gross bookings, Uber Eats has apparently become the largest online food delivery business outside of China.
In advance of Mobile World Congress, Nokia today launched off-the-shelf Internet of Things (IoT) packages to help operators win new business in vertical IoT markets.
In addition to enabling operators to achieve a fast time to market, the packages simplify the set-up and operations of enterprise IoT services.
Built on the Nokia Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) infrastructure that provides the necessary global IoT connectivity and services support, the applications include IoT sensors, user applications and business models suited to specific sectors. Nokia WING's managed service approach also offers a pay-as-you-grow business model, giving operators the flexibility to quickly scale up IoT services as required.
The new market-ready solutions for WING eliminate the challenges facing operators developing their own IoT services.
These include the need for specialized expertise, the complexities of combining fragmented IoT connectivity infrastructure and the risk and effort of setting up and working with multiple service providers globally. Nokia works with best-in-class partners on Nokia WING vertical applications portfolio and continues to develop the IoT ecosystem.
The four new solutions announced today by Nokia include:
- Smart Agriculture as-a-Service: Sensors capture environmental, soil and crop data that is then analyzed to provide insights that help farmers manage crops more effectively, potentially saving costs on irrigation, pesticides and fertilizers.
- Livestock Management as-a-Service: Tracking devices and biosensors monitor animal health and welfare to provide ranchers with early alerts if abnormalities are detected, protecting valuable livestock and improving yields.
- Logistics as-a-Service: IoT sensors enable tracking of the global movement and condition of goods through the complete supply chain to help enterprises instantly identify incidents and even predict future events to optimize delivery and logistics process efficiency.
- Asset Management as-a-Service: Connecting products anywhere in the world enables their status and performance to be monitored centrally, helping enterprises provide a better service to their business and consumer customers.
Nokia is trialing Agriculture as-a-Service with an African operator and working with a leading services and consulting firm on Asset Management as-a-Service to help them offer more advanced services.
Brian Partridge, Vice President, 451 Research, said: "Nokia addresses a wide spectrum of challenges through its WING IoT infrastructure-as-a-service so its early traction with customers isn't a surprise. Most telecom operators desire a more prominent role in the IoT value chain that builds upon secure and reliable domestic or global connectivity. Nokia's announced plans to offer end-to-end vertical applications on top of the WING global infrastructure is a logical next step. We believe that this approach benefits Nokia's WING telecom customers and the enterprises they serve in addition to vertical application partners who can benefit from WING's market scale and go-to market channels."
Ankur Bhan, Global Head of WING Business at Nokia, said: "The IoT is a growing opportunity for operators to win new enterprise customers and significant additional revenue in a diverse range of vertical markets. With minimal upfront investment, an operator can now quickly get a service to market and generate IoT revenues. We expect these vertical solutions to encourage more operators to connect to Nokia WING, expanding its global footprint and broadening the range of capabilities and services that will become available. We already have several more vertically-focused as-a-Service packages in the development pipeline."
Ericsson has launched its critical communications broadband portfolio for service providers. This will enable service providers to meet the business-critical and mission-critical needs of industries and public safety agencies as digitalization and modernization of land mobile radio communications increases.
When communication is disrupted by minutes, seconds, or even milliseconds, it can have huge consequences for business operations, or serious implications for public safety. The need for fast and reliable communication is therefore paramount.
Such critical communications are used in many areas: from first responders and nationwide emergency services to workforce safety in enterprises. There is a growing demand for business and mission-critical broadband for such use cases. Service providers need to deliver the highest level of availability, reliability and security to meet this demand.
To meet critical communications users’ needs, Ericsson has developed a new portfolio comprising three offerings: critical network capabilities; critical broadband applications;\ and flexible deployments for both local private networks, and nationwide mission-critical LTE networks.
Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson, says: “We see growth opportunities for service providers and government operators by addressing new segments with LTE/5G networks. Our critical broadband portfolio will enable our customers to effectively secure the critical communication needs of sectors such as public safety, energy and utilities, transportation, and manufacturing.”
Critical network capabilities
This offering includes advanced features for critical network performance and covers the following: high network availability; multi-network operation with spectrum sharing techniques; and coverage and capacity for critical applications. It also includes network security capabilities that ensure network services are maintained even when the infrastructure is under attack. Finally, quality of service, priority and preemption all guarantee latency performance and capacity requirements during high load and congestion.
The critical network capabilities include new features that simplify the rollout of broadcasting services across nationwide areas. Another new feature enables radio access sites to operate in fallback mode, should the network connection fail. This offering also includes deployable systems that allow temporary coverage for disaster recovery and operations in rural areas without existing coverage.
Critical broadband applications
This offering covers Ericsson Group-Radio that provides mission-critical push-to-talk, data and video services. This will enable, for example, blue light personnel such as the police to be more effective in performing community services that require advanced mobile broadband.
Flexible deployments for private networks
New business models are emerging for industries. From owning and operating their own networks, critical industries are now procuring private networks and services that leverage service providers’ existing network assets and operations – without compromising required local control.
Ericsson’s flexible deployments for private networks range from network slicing to fully dedicated networks, enabling service providers to offer scalable, critical broadband network solutions and services for critical industries.
Ericsson also offers managed services for private networks, with solutions based on AI and automation that predict and prevent events while reducing OPEX. These solutions enable service providers to reduce time-to-market and onboard new industries, while securing critical service level agreements.
Critical broadband will enable industries to increase efficiency through the following: enhancing workforce productivity and safety; massive onboarding of devices and sensors; real-time location of assets and equipment; and data collection to boost equipment and personnel performance and avoid downtime.
South Korean conglomerate Samsung has suffered a blow following the announcement that the CEO of Samsung Electronics in North America has decided to retire.
Tim Baxter has been with the company for over 12 years and has played a pivotal role in establishing Samsung as a powerhouse in the North America ICT market in his role as CEO.
Baxter has shown incredible leadership and vision and as ensured Samsung’s products has resonated with American consumers. He announced his decision to retire in a LinkedIn post, and confirmed that he pass the reins to his current deputy in North America Young Hoon Eom.
Samsung confirmed the departure in an official statement to Mobile World Live and placed on record its sincere thanks to Baxter who they described as an ‘exceptional business leader’ that has helped define Samsung as a pioneering innovator in the consumer electronics industry.
Baxter joined Samsung as EVP of sales and marketing for consumer electronics in 2006, and held various leadership positions before being appointed to his current post in July 2017. The role gave him full autonomy of Samsung’s $30 billion consumer and enterprise businesses in the US and Canada, including oversight of teams across mobile, consumer electronics, home appliances, customer care, services and new business.
The move comes at a pivotal moment as mobile operators across the US and Canada, start the transition towards the deployment of 5G. All four tier-one US operators have confirmed that they are working with Samsung on 5G handsets set for release in the first half of 2019.
Sparke, the International Services arm of the TIM Group and among the top ten global operators, announces the expansion of its South American backbone with a new Point of Presence in Cartagena, Colombia.
The new PoP responds to the fast growing demand for capacity services in Colombia, providing local and international network providers, ISPs, Content Players and OTTs with transport solutions up to 100 GB through Sparkle’s City2City service
Thanks to the interconnection with the PCCS and SAm-1 cables, Sparkle will provide its customers with advanced connectivity solutions from Colombia and other Latin American countries up to the United States.
The combination of Sparkle’s terrestrial and submarine networks in the Americas, enriched by the new generation Seabras-1 cable, ensures complete redundancy and a top quality data experience.
In the next few months Sparkle will further expand its presence in Colombia, with the opening of a new PoP in Bogotá that will enhance the performance of Sparkle’s global Tier-1 IP transit service Seabone with lower latency and improved traffic routing capabilities.
The new PoPs in Cartagena and Bogotá confirm Sparkle’s positioning as one of the main providers in the Americas and as first Tier-1 backbone in Latam.