Displaying items by tag: Strategy

US telecommunications behemoth AT&T has been roundly criticized by its rival operators in the United States who have described its 5G marketing as ‘overhyped’ and ‘misleading’.

US operator Verizon has urged those within the industry to resist the temptation to overhype and subsequently under-deliver on the promise of next-generation technology. In a statement released by Verizon, it’s CTO, Kyle Malady pointed out that whilst new technologies including AI, virtual reality and Internet of Things would all be underpinned by 5G, he stressed the importance of being realistic in terms of what operators can actually deliver in relation to the revolutionary technology.

AT&T launched a mobile 5G service towards the end of 2018, and claimed that it was offering the service to select businesses and consumers in 12 US cities via a mobile hotspot device provided by Netgear. The network operator has adopted an ambitious approach to 5G and was also pushing its 5G Evolution program which promised users speeds faster than your standard LTE.

In addition to this, it was also disclosed in a previous statement by AT&T that Android devices from the operator will display a 5G E logo pop-up on the home screen which would indicate they have connected to AT&T’s 5G evolution experience.

However, critics have claimed that the service provided by AT&T should not be considered as a 5G network offering. Verizon’s CTO said, “If network providers, equipment manufacturers, handset makers, app developers and others in the wireless ecosystem engage in behaviour designed to purposefully confuse consumers, public officials and the investment community about what 5G really is, we risk alienating the very people we want most to join in developing and harnessing this exciting new technology.”

Although not mentioned by name, Verizon’s comments appear to be directed at its main rival AT&T.

Verizon is still preparing for its mobile 5G launch after deploying a fixed wireless access service in October 2018.

In another apparent swipe at AT&T’s Android device move, Malady also cautioned on the industry to only commit to labelling something 5G if new device hardware is connecting the network using new radio technology to deliver new capabilities.

The CTO added, “Verizon is making this commitment today: we won’t take an old phone and just change the software to turn the 4 in the status bar into a 5.”

T-Mobile
Also turning up the heat was T-Mobile US, which didn’t pass up the opportunity to seemingly mock AT&T on Twitter, while making the same point as Verizon. “Didn’t realise it was this easy, brb updating,” the operator said on its official Twitter account, with the message accompanied by a video of someone taping a 9G sticker on a smartphone.

Published in Telecom Operators

US tech giant signs content agreement with Samsung

Written on Tuesday, 08 January 2019 09:22

US technology behemoth Apple has signed a new agreement with Samsung in relation to its streaming and content services in an effort to offset a decline in iPhone sales. The deal brokered between Apple and the South Korean conglomerate will enable the use of iTunes streaming services on Samsung smart TVs.

Published in Telecom Vendors

TELUS reports strong financial results for Q3

Written on Sunday, 11 November 2018 09:00

TELUS Corporation today released its unaudited results for the third quarter of 2018. For the quarter, the operator consolidated operating revenue of $3.8 billion increased by 11 per cent over the same period a year ago.

This growth was driven by higher wireless network and equipment revenues, wireline services revenue growth and higher other operating income resulting from our share of the non-recurring equity income related to real estate joint ventures of $171 million arising from the sale of TELUS Garden. Excluding this equity income consolidated operating revenue increased by 5.8 per cent.

Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased by 8.2 per cent to $1.3 billion due to higher revenue growth as referenced above and improved wireless equipment margins.

This growth was partly offset by incremental employee benefits expense due to recent business acquisitions and increased costs to support our growing customer base. Adjusted EBITDA was up 6.4 per cent when excluding the net gain from the sale of TELUS Garden, as well as restructuring and other costs, which included our committed donation of $118 million to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation.

“TELUS reported strong operational and financial results for the third quarter, including robust customer growth across both the wireless and wireline segments of our business. This was buttressed by a continued excellent performance in wireless and wireline customer loyalty and lifetime revenue,” said Darren Entwistle, President and CEO. “Importantly, the TELUS team continues to achieve industry-leading postpaid wireless churn, and realized record third quarter high-speed Internet and TV retention levels. This performance was driven by our team’s relentless focus on providing exceptional customer experiences, and was anchored by the ongoing generational investments we are making in our leading broadband wireline and wireless networks, both of which are hallmarks of TELUS’ successful, long-term growth strategy.”

Mr. Entwistle added, “The efficacy of our broadband technology investments is reflected in TELUS, once again, being named as having the fastest mobile network in Canada by PCMag. This repeat acknowledgement builds on our outstanding record of achievement with respect to network excellence, having already earned the top spot in all major mobile networks reporting this year, including Ookla, J.D. Power and OpenSignal. These leading network rankings, each received consecutively for two or more years, reinforce the consistent superiority of TELUS’ broadband networks available to citizens across the country.

Mr. Entwistle further commented, “Our dividend increase announced today, on the back of our 41 per cent free cash flow growth, reflects the sixteenth increase since 2011, and is the fourth in our most recent three-year dividend growth program, targeting annual growth between seven and 10 per cent through 2019. This builds on our proven track record of providing investors with the industry’s best multi-year dividend growth program, which continues to generate significant value for our shareholders. Notably, TELUS has now returned $16 billion to shareholders, including $10.8 billion in dividends, representing $27 per share since 2004. We look forward to updating investors on the progression of this program at our 2019 annual general meeting.”

Doug French, Executive Vice-president and CFO said, “For the third quarter of 2018, TELUS delivered positive operational and financial results, reflecting the strength of our multiple product and valued service offerings, our commitment to customer service excellence and our network superiority. Our strategic capital investments are clearly paying off, as evidenced by our strong subscriber and loyalty results, and position us to maintain our network leadership as we progressively move towards the arrival of 5G.”

Mr. French added, “As we head into the seasonally important final quarter of 2018, we remain focused on executing against our strategy, amplifying our efforts on cost efficiency, focusing on margin accretive customer growth and investing to support our growth strategy. Today we are raising our full year 2018 assumption for restructuring and other costs, including an additional $50 million targeted towards further streamlining our business and enhancing our effectiveness in serving our growing customer base. This additional investment in restructuring, to be recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018, is expected to deliver annual cost savings of more than $50 million beginning next year. Meanwhile, our net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio continues to improve, putting us in good position for 2019.”

Published in Telecom Operators

To support the accelerated build out of 5G in the United States, European telecommunications vendor Ericsson will increase its investment in the market. This series of strategic initiatives will allow Ericsson to operate even closer to its customers, meeting the growing demand for 5G globally and in the region.

The investments will fall into two categories: 1) increase research and development work done close to customers in the US and 2) increase flexibility to shorten the timeline for new product introduction and product delivery to customers. This will enable Ericsson to recruit new expertise from the US, complementing the company’s existing highly-skilled employees in the region.

Börje Ekholm, President and CEO of Ericsson, says: “The United States is our largest market, accounting for a quarter of Ericsson’s business over the last seven years. To serve the demand of these fast-moving service providers, we are strengthening our investment in the US to be even closer to our customers and meet their accelerated 5G deployment plans.”

Ericsson predicts that 5G subscriptions will reach the 150 million-mark, accounting for 48 percent of all mobile subscriptions in North America by the end of 2023.

Increase R&D in the US:

In late 2017, Ericsson opened the Austin ASIC Design Center in Austin, Texas, to focus on core microelectronics of 5G radio base stations to accelerate the path to 5G commercialization. The 1,400-square-meter facility (15,000-square-feet) will have 80 employees once fully staffed.

Ericsson will also open a new software development center with baseband focus in 2018, employing more than 200 software engineers once fully operational. This facility and its employees will further strengthen Ericsson’s 5G software development. Baseband provides intelligence to the radio access network. It is also the interface between the core network and radio units, processing and forwarding voice calls and internet data to end users.

Beginning in 2019, both of these facilities will introduce 5G products and software features into the Ericsson portfolio, and will be available for customers globally, including in the US.

Additionally, Ericsson will increase its investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, employing around 100 specialists in North America by the end of 2018. This team will work on utilizing AI technologies to accelerate automation, examine product road maps and explore new business opportunities. They will focus on boosting the company’s current portfolio, strengthening customer engagements and promote innovation of new disruptive business opportunities.

New product introduction and manufacturing in the US:

To increase flexibility in bringing new products into the market, Ericsson will recruit a dedicated team to work specifically on introducing products for the US market, conducting production engineering, testing/integration and supply preparations on early prototypes. This will be done in close collaboration with US-based R&D resources.

To make 5G products available to customers as fast as possible, Ericsson will also begin manufacturing in the US in the fourth quarter of 2018. This will enable Ericsson to operate closer to customers -- providing volume production of next-generation radios and the fast introduction of new products into the US market. Initially, Ericsson will work with a production partner and the first radios for the US will be produced before the end of 2018.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Chinese smartphone vendor Huawei Technologies has altered its strategic approach in Kenya in a bid to boost sales of its handsets. It has restructured the price of some of its devices and is now showcasing smartphones that are retailing at between $100-200. It is hoping that a sharp increase in sales will boost its market share in Kenya.

Huawei is currently positioned as number three in relation to market share in the African nation which has been described as a fast-growing local smart devices market. Huawei is trailing South Korean conglomerate Samsung Electronics and Tecno which is owned by Hong Kong’s Transition Holdings.

Huawei’s manager in Kenya, Derek Du said it entered the smartphone market by introducing three smart phones, but it didn’t focus on products retailing for under $200 and that costed the company long-term. In an effort to increase its market share in that segment from 4% to 15% it will overall its entire strategic approach.

Kenya’s telecommunications incumbent Safaricom enjoys a 72% market share (around 28m users) and they reported that there is now 13 million smartphones on its network, which is a significant jump from 10 million last year.

Kenya consumers have finally parted with their well-worn standard phones in favor of relatively cheap devices that offer them faster internet speed and access to applications such as WhatsApp, online banking and taxi-hailing services. According to Du, Huawei has switched its strategic focus after it became evidently clear that the average Kenyan consumer is price sensitive.

Du added: “The new focus on the lower end of the market has come about because the Kenyan consumer is price-sensitive. The $100-200 is the key part we can play. If we can bring it up, it means we will also bring up the whole market share.”

He believes that change will enable Huawei to boost its overall market share to around 25-30%, from the current 14% it has been rooted on for the last two years. Research has revealed that the average Kenyan worker earns an annual wage of $1,200, which subsequently means that most people can’t afford expensive smartphones.

Huawei’s previous approach centered on their mid-range smartphones were it enjoys a 30% market share. Huawei has enjoyed a successful twelve months globally, and the Chinese conglomerate, based in Shenzhen, is now seen as a real threat to the smartphone monopoly which is dominated by Samsung and Apple.

Huawei’s African boss said that the Kenyan economy was enjoying a resurgent comeback after a difficult number of years, and is in a stable position. This makes it an attractable market for investors, and du has reiterated its commitment to growing its business in Kenya.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Uber’s newly-appointed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has vowed to take the global ride-hailing firm public within the next three years. His appointment as CEO comes after months of unsettlement within the organization following the high-profile resignation of outgoing CEO Travis Kalanick.

Uber has been embroiled in a number of controversies and scandals that range from sexual harassment claims to engaging in illegal taxi operations. However, the new CEO who is the former head of travel website giants Expedia has declared the company ‘has to change’ in order for it to continue to grow its business and move past the issues it has encountered.

The incoming CEO is expected to take the helm at Uber next week. Reports circulating from his meeting with Uber staff in San Francisco last week are claiming that Khosrowshahi is focusing on regaining market share from its main competitor Lyft.

He has reportedly vowed to employees and stakeholders that he will take the company public in the next 18-36 months, but details on a potential IPO remain scarce. However, financial analysts have said that an Uber listing on the stock exchange would likely make it one of the biggest technology IPOs of the last decade.

Uber is the world’s most valuable private company, and is valued at $68.5 billion, and many commentators feel that its time the global ride-hailing firm went public as it could in many ways be held more accountable for the scandals that has marred the organization in the last number of years. However, Uber declined to comment when queried on a potential timeframe for the IPO.

Uber was left red faced when a leaked audio recording of his speech to staff was published by Yahoo. A fired-up Khosrowshahi told disclosed to staff how he landed the top job at Uber and outlined what workers can expect from him. He conceded in the audio recording that the company was in a battle, but insisted he would fight ferociously for all staff.

Khosrowshahi said, "I'm not going to bullshit you, and I will ask you not to bullshit me. We're in a battle here. I think everybody knows it. I'm here, I made the decision, I am all in, and I'm going to fight for you with every bone in my body."

The former Expedia boss said he was convinced by Spotify founder Daniel Ek to apply for the top job after initially telling a headhunter he wasn’t interested in the job. He also disclosed that he met with every Uber board member during an intensive interview process – and in addition to this, he also revealed how Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick who is still a board member of the ride-hailing company persuaded him to leave his role at Expedia and become the new CEO at Uber.

The new Uber CEO said of his meeting with Kalanick, "He spun this web, this dream, of transforming cities and the transportation grid and deliveries and robots taking food from the street corner to the home. And it's just this incredible vision. And I'm like, 'Well, I sell airline tickets and you can download them onto your phone.”

Published in Apps

Mobile Klinik, Canada’s fastest growing professional smartphone and tablet repair chain, today announced completion of an acquisition of mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile smartphone repair businesses for an undisclosed amount. The chain has nine smartphone repair outlets, with seven established locations in the Edmonton area and two other stores opening soon, also in Alberta.

“This acquisition both accelerates our profitable growth and will anchor our growth strategy in Western Canada,” said Rob Bruce, Founding Partner and CEO, Mobile Klinik. “We are excited to work with the talented team at mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile to serve Albertans with while-you-wait, fully warrantied professional smartphone and tablet repair.

Sunil Goel, former CEO of mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile (www.mobilfix.ca) will take on a new national role at Mobile Klinik. He said: “Joining forces with Mobile Klinik gives us access to growth capital, experienced leadership, and an opportunity for our team to join the most professional smartphone repair company in Canada.”

mobilFIX and Dr. Mobile, established in 2013, operate two locations each in West Edmonton Mall. mobilFIX operates another three locations in the Edmonton area. All seven current locations will remain open to serve customers as they transition to the Mobile Klinik brand. The other two locations will open shortly as Mobile Klinik.

Mobile Klinik offers dedicated professional smartphone and tablet repair, most times in less than 60 minutes. Expert technicians offer immediate, on-site diagnosis and quote to repair a broken smartphone or tablet with premium quality parts and a lifetime warranty on parts and labour.

Mobile Klinik’s concept of while you wait professional smartphone repair was introduced to Canada by four Canadian wireless and retail industry leaders: Rob Bruce, former President, Rogers Communications; Ken Campbell, former CEO, WIND Mobile; and Alain Adam and Naaman Zorub, entrepreneurs who operate a number of wireless retail stores and other businesses in Ottawa and Gatineau. Since opening the first store in Ottawa in September 2015, and including today’s announced acquisition, Mobile Klinik operates 20 locations in major shopping malls and other high-traffic retail locations in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. More locations will open soon.

Published in Devices

 Ericsson has endured a difficult number of years in the telecommunications market, but newly-appointed CTO Erik Ekudden has expressed his optimism moving forward – vowing that the Swedish vendor will focus on key trends they’ve identified such as ‘automation’. The CTO disclosed that the key trends were identified following intense discussions with Ericsson’s customers and its leadership team since his appointment on July 1st.

Ekudden believes that Ericsson is well-placed to deliver on some of the technology trends which have been established. However, he did concede that it must develop new skills and capabilities in conjunction with other key industry players in order to be in a position to capitalize on the remainder.

One of the key trends identified is providing an adaptable technology base by combining software and hardware. According to the executive Ericsson’s experience and nous ensures that it can improve the efficiency of networks and ultimately ‘lower costs’.

Other keys trends identified by Ericsson which were disclosed by Ekudden include the need to establish an advanced machine intelligence system - he claimed that the ecosystem for machine learning and AI platforms were maturing and that the Swedish telecommunications colossus was enhancing its operations in relation to the development of such network platforms.

However, it was in the area of ‘automation’ and IoT  which represents a great opportunity for Ericsson to assist its customer base in their ‘automation journey’ by offering better infrastructure and ultimately delivering an interaction between operations and networks which is much more intuitive and smooth.

Ekudden said, “Automation is a big theme among our customers. Ericsson is taking a leading role here, and we’ve got great experience in managed services and broader optimization capabilities. In addition to this, end-to-end security in IoT systems is crucial, and our goal is to establish what we call “hardware routes of trust” in every IoT device.”

However, the newly-appointed CTO stressed the importance of security and said it was imperative that it is considered when developing every new IoT device. He added, “It’s an architectural question, and it’s also about designing every node at a certain security level. This is something we take as a very important part of the products that we build on the network side.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Irish telecommunications incumbent Eir has announced that it will ‘retire’ its mobile phone brand Meteor in September. Meteor has been a huge success since its inception in 2001, and has been particularly popular with the young generation of mobile phone users.

However, the mobile phone network will now be rebranded as ‘Eir’, which will see it join an existing mobile phone service provided by the company under the Eir name. Meteor has over 750,000 customers but the new merger will see Eir now have around 1.1 million mobile customers.

A spokesman for the Dublin-based telecommunications firm said that customers would benefit significantly from the rebranding, and assured customers that the transition from Meteor to Eir will be ‘seamless’. Eir, CEO, Richard Moat declared that the new merger decision would enable customers to explore a ‘world of possibilities’.

In a statement, the CEO said, "Meteor customers will continue using their mobiles exactly as before - with the added benefit of a world of possibilities. By focusing on a single mobile brand and reducing the duplication of supporting two brands, we can offer better value and increased innovation."

In addition to this, Meteor customers have received assurances that there will be no change to their current contract and data plans during the transition and rebranding process, whilst the current customer care lines will also remain intact.

Eir formerly known as Eircom acquired Meteor in 2005. It adopted an aggressive approach to marketing and advertising and a significant investment into both areas was subsequently made. Meteor sponsored a number of commercial events, including the Meteor Choice Awards.

The company is reported to be spending around €3m and €4m on its 'Let's make it possible' campaign and believes that the mobile phone business would be better served by benefiting from the lift provided by this campaign than separate marketing investment in Meteor.

It has also been claimed that Eir will begin to communicate the change to customers from this week onwards. The group has 84 retail units nationwide which is comprised of Eir, Meteor and dual branded stores that will all become part of the Eir franchise in the forthcoming months ahead.

Spokesman for Eir, Paul Bradley, said the decision to merge services clearly highlights and indicates the organization’s confidence in Eir. He said, "We have adopted a single brand strategy. You can get your bundle from Eir, your broadband from Eir, your TV from Eir and mobile from Eir. What it reflects is our growing confidence in the Eir brand. We are almost two years in from when the company launched the brand and there has been work to evolve the Meteor brand over the last couple of years because initially it was a youth brand and a pre-pay focused brand. But now it is a much healthier mix of prepay and bill pay."

Published in Telecom Operators

Ericsson is set to reduce more staff following the disclosure of its financial results for Q2 in 2017. The company has confirmed it will axe staff, although it didn’t speculate how many jobs were at risk, in addition to this it will also reduce its real estate footprint as part of its efforts to make $1.2 billion in cuts.

Ericsson remains in the red following the publication of its Q2 financial performance, and alarmingly indicates a 164% year-on-year decline in net income. However, Ericsson CFO, Carl Mellander, has claimed that the latest round of cuts is part of its strategy to make ‘real efficiency gains’ adding that the savings will enable them to address ‘underperforming parts of the business’.

Ericsson CFO also declined to identify which locations are likely to be effected by the cutbacks, but conceded that it was highly likely that the changes proposed will be implemented and executed internally in a quick fashion. The financial spreadsheet makes grim reading for the Swedish telco, net sales are down 8% year-on-year to SEK 49.9 billion, and its bottom line swung from a SEK1.6 billion profit in Q2 in 2016, to a loss of SEK1 billion for the same period this year.

Ericsson highlighted a number of contributory factors as to why it had endured such a poor financial performance, but stressed that the biggest issue was the faster than expected decline of the overall RAN (Radio Access Network) led by the reduction in demand from China and India. Industry analysts are predicted that the decline in the RAN market will accelerate even more in 2017.

Ericsson has made a number of decisions in recent years in an attempt to halt its slide, but none of these measures introduced have been unable to have the desired effect required. Following its Q1 results earlier this year, the firm pointed to ongoing restructuring programs as a reason for losses.

Ericsson’s new strategy includes focusing on the company’s core telecommunications sector, whilst also attempting to reduce the impact of under-performing units and reviewing long-running unprofitable contracts. Mellander has claimed that he doesn’t expect to see a tangible impact from its rollout of 5G technologies and services to its bottom line until 2019, citing that LTE still had a ‘lot to give’ as operators are faced with the continually requirements to increase capacity on their network.

The CFO said, “There are huge sections of the population not covered by 4G, so I think a lot will happen there. The 4G technology being brought in now is geared towards 5G evolution. Short-term I don’t want to be overly optimistic – we are seeing a decline in the market which is a bit larger than we thought – but longer-term we want to double our profitability beyond 2018.”

Published in Telecom Operators
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