Displaying items by tag: Chairman

Indian operator Reliance Communications has made a partial payment of $18.6m to Ericsson in an effort to defuse their ongoing dispute after the Swedish vendor had called for the imprisonment of its chairman Anil Ambani after the company’s failure to pay the entirety of the services charges owed.

In a statement released by RCom, it confirmed that it had deposited a payment of $18.6 with the Supreme Court registry from operational funds it had at its disposal. In addition to this, it said it was taking all required steps towards enabling a settlement.

The Indian conglomerate also stressed in the statement that it remained fully committed to making the outstanding payment to Ericsson, and said it would be able to do so with the proceeds of a spectrum asset sale to Reliance Jio.

Ericsson is owed $78.5m in unpaid service charges, but the dispute between the pair escalated when RCom failed to settle the service charge on the date it was instructed to by the Supreme Court. In response to this, Ericsson increased the pressure on the Indian firm by filing a second contempt of court case against Anil Ambani, and said he should be detained in civil prison until the outstanding amount is settled.

RCom, which has all but exited the Indian mobile market, missed the original 30 September deadline to make the payment, but was then granted a reprieve until 15 December, a deadline which it also missed.

The company argued it was unable to make the payment in time because of delays by regulator Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in approving its spectrum sale to Reliance Jio, a deal first struck in December 2017. RCom reached a deal to sell off the majority of its mobile assets to Reliance Jio after creditors, including Ericsson, took action against the company over huge debts.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson has called for the detainment of Anil Ambani, the chairman of Indian operator Reliance Communications (RCom) for its failure to pay the vendor a settlement fee of INR5.5bn ($78.5m) of unpaid service charges.

Ericsson was forced to file a second contempt of court proceeding against Reliance Communications when they failed to process the outstanding settlement charge. In addition to this, it was further disclosed that the vendor requested in the petition to the Supreme Court that the chairman of Reliance Communications should be barred from leaving the country and be detained in civil prison. It has also been reported that Ambani provided the Supreme Court with a personal guarantee.

However, RCom has also filed a case against the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) claiming that the delays in approving long-planned spectrum sales and auctions had prevented it from being able to pay Ericsson. The court will hear both cases on the 7th of January.

The former mobile operator missed the original payment deadline of 30 September, and then last month the high court rejected its plea to extend a 15 December deadline, which it had also missed. The earlier extension was granted by the court due to a delay in finalising the sale of its assets to Reliance Jio.

Twelve months ago, RCom brokered a deal with Jio to sell off assets including 800MHz spectrum to repay part of its huge debt. DoT later demanded payment of the dues as a condition for approving the agreement, but RCom is disputing the spectrum charge in court.

DoT last month rejected the spectrum deal on the grounds that it goes against trading guidelines after Jio sought assurances it won’t be held responsible for RCom’s past spectrum-related charges, which could total as much as INR29.5 billion.

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Huawei’s rotating chairman Ken Hu has pleaded with the governments of countries who have banned the Chinese telecommunications behemoth from becoming involved in the rollout of 5G networks, to produce evidence that implicates Huawei as a serious security threat.

Huawei’s CEO robustly defended its security record and expressed his disappointment that countries banned the Chinese vendor before affording them the opportunity to engage in dialogue which would’ve allowed them to take action, or respond to the allegations that it was a threat to domestic security.

In a press conference held at its HQ in Shenzhen, Hu said, “When it comes to security, we need to let the facts speak for themselves. Huawei’s record on security is clean. In over 30 years, the company has never had a serious cyber security issue or seen any evidence showing its equipment is a security threat. We have a solid track record.”

New Zealand and Australia have banned Huawei from their 5G projects, whilst it is also believed that the UK, Germany, Japan and South Korea are also considering the possibility of preventing Huawei from becoming involved in their 5G rollout plans.

However, Hu acknowledged that the vendor needed to be proactive with governments and customers, but stressed that they had already been doing this, and were willing to take additional steps in an effort to not be locked out of 5G programs in the west.

Hu added, “We will not relax. As technology becomes more complex and networks become more open, we will continue to increase our investment in security related efforts.”

For example, Huawei plans to launch a security centre in Brussels in Q1 2019 as part of a longer-term plan to expand cooperation with other governments around the world, such as Canada and the UK. In addition to this, it will invest $2 billion over the next five years to improve its software engineering processes to be better prepared for the future.

The recent high-profile arrest of the company’s CFO in Canada has reignited trade tensions and diplomatic relations between the US and China. However, despite the controversies and turmoil, Huawei is targeting a record of $100bn in total revenue for the year, and has secured more than 25 commercial 5G contracts and shipped more than 10,000 5G base stations.

Hu declined to comment on the ongoing situation with Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou because it was an ongoing case, but he did reiterate that the company is confident in its trade compliance measures along with the judicial systems in Canada and the US.

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British operator announces that CEO will depart

Written on Sunday, 10 June 2018 12:54

British telecommunications operator BT has announced that current CEO Gavin Patterson will depart from his role later in the year after weeks of speculation regarding his position.

Patterson has been subjected to intense scrutiny from BT shareholders who expressed concern at the direction of the group under his leadership. Chairman of BT Jan du Plessis confirmed the CEO’s departure via a statement, citing that recent results indicated that it was clear change was needed to address the slump.

In the statement, du Plessis said, “The board is fully supportive of the strategy recently set out by Gavin and his team. However, the ‘broader reaction’ to recent results has demonstrated to Gavin and me that there is a need for a change of leadership to deliver this strategy".

BT announced last month that it plans to axe over a thousand jobs in a bid to offset cash problems and also confirmed it would relocate its headquarters and move out of its famous London base. BT has in recent years launched a costly push into broadcasting live Premier League football matches, hurting the group's bottom line.

In addition to launching BT Sport during his five years as CEO, Patterson also purchased mobile operator EE from Deutsche Telekom and Orange in a £12.5-billion ($16.8-billion, 14.2-billion-euro) deal.

Following Friday's announcement, BT's share price was down 0.44 percent at 202 pence on London's benchmark FTSE 100 index, which was down 0.8 percent overall in early deals.

   "Since 2016, BT's share price graph resembles something of a black run; pretty much always on a downward trend and with a few nasty cliffs here and there," noted George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. Shareholder confidence has followed the share price down," he added.

Published in Telecom Operators

ZTE agree deal with US on trade sanctions

Written on Sunday, 10 June 2018 10:30

Chinese telecommunications vendor ZTE has announced that it has reached a deal with the US Commerce Department over the trade sanctions that threatened to put the powerful conglomerate out of business.

ZTE has vowed to clean up its act in light of the decision by the US after weeks of protracted talks between officials in Beijing and Washington. In April, the US Commerce Department prohibited the sale of crucial US components to ZTE for a period of seven years. It had found that the Chinese telecommunications colossus had failed to take the appropriate actions against its staff in relation to the trade violation it engaged in with Iran and North Korea.

ZTE chairman Yin Yimin said the company had to start holding the relevant people to account for the trade violations in 2016, and said the ban imposed in April highlighted the issues within its internal management systems.

In a statement released to Bloomberg, the chairman said, “We must deeply realize that this issue in essence mirrored problems in our compliance culture and management. We should hold relevant people accountable and avoid similar issues in the future."

It has been disclosed that part of the deal agreed between the US and ZTE will see the Chinese vendor pay a $1bn penalty, with another $400m in escrow to cover possible future violations. In addition to this, ZTE will also be forced to overhaul its entire board of directors and must hire outside legal compliance specialists who will in turn report directly to the Commerce Department for 10 years.

Once ZTE has executed these changes Washington will strike the company from a sanctions list.  China's foreign ministry on Friday offered a muted response to the ZTE deal, but a spokeswoman added the following statement, "We also hope the US can provide a fair, equal and friendly atmosphere for Chinese enterprises' investments and operations there.”

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The CEO of Telecom Italia is set to accept a severance package rumored to be worth around €30m to pave the way for his imminent departure from the organization. Speculation has been rife for a number of months in relation to unrest between the CEO of the Italian incumbent Flavio Catteneo and its largest shareholder Vivendi.

It has emerged that Catteneo is expected to leave the Italian operator by mutual consent after negotiating the terms of the severance package. Vivendi which controls the operators board has been at loggerheads with the CEO for the past number of months, and a source close to Telecom Italia said the situation had become untenable for both parties, claiming ‘something had to give’.

Some shareholders have expressed their criticism to the amount the outgoing CEO will receive for his severance pay-off. However, the CEO was quick to defend the sum pointing out the list of successes he had delivered for the telecommunications colossus.

It has also been reported that Telecom Italia will hold a meeting of its Nomination of Remuneration Committee with only one item listed on the agenda, which is the examination of a proposal of mutual termination of the relationship of the company and Mr. Flavio Catteneo.

However, it was only a few weeks ago, a defiant Catteneo announced his intentions to remain on as CEO until the end of 2020, dispelling rumors he was set to quit the operator. Reports circulated that Vivendi had already lined-up a three-pronged leadership team to replace the CEO.

Tensions continued to soar, but the relationship completely broke down when it emerged that Vivendi planned to appoint its CCO Amos Genish as Telecom Italia’s new Managing Director in order to work alongside Catteneo.

The latest high-profile departure represents a recurring and worrying trend at Telecom Italia. Catteneo’s imminent exit means that the Italian telecommunications colossus will now have its third CEO in just two years. Marco Patuano left the firm in March, 2016, amidst reports of clashes with Vivendi. The French company which is the operator’s largest shareholder is increasingly attempting to extend its control on the operator.

Vivendi now is total control of both the Telecom Italia board and installed its own CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine as the chairman of the operator earlier this year. In addition, the company gained permission from the European commission to assume control of the operator in May 2017.

However, the company’s progress has not gone unnoticed by Italy’s authorities. Italian regulator Agcom ordered Vivendi to cut its stake in either Telecom Italia or broadcast firm Mediatek in April, to meet stringent Italian media ownership rules. Vivendi is contesting the decision.

Published in Telecom Operators

The World’s largest mobile operator has announced its intentions to double its VoLTE user base by the end of 2017. Chairman of China Mobile, Shang Bing made the announcement during his keynote address at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. (MWCS 2017)

Bing declared that China Mobile would increase its VoLTE customer base from 86 million to 150 million by the end of December – and that its overall VoLTE penetration would reach 17%. In addition to this, it was disclosed that the telecommunications colossus has launched VoLTE in 313 cities across China.

China Mobile’s Chairman also claimed that the operator’s mobile 4G user base will reach 620 million by the end of 2017 – with overall 4G penetration hitting a staggering 72%. It has been reported that the China Mobile has invested an estimated CNY450 billion ($66 billion) in the last three years to construct the world’s largest 4G network. Its 4G customer base reached 583 million in May of this year – with penetration rates standing at 67.5%. In broad terms it means that basically one in four 4G users in the entire world is a China Mobile customer.

Bing said: “We’ve deployed 1.6 million 4G base stations which accounts for about 30% of the global total. Our 4G coverage will reach 99% of the population by the end of the year – and our LTE base station will rise to 1.77 million.”

He conceded that after an initiative pursued by the Chinese government overall mobile phone bills fell by around 60% in 2015, and that household monthly broadband fees declined from CYN51 to CYN32.7. Bing added: “Our cost-reduction initiatives have boosted information consumption and the information economy.”

He concluded by announcing that the operator aims for its broadband coverage to reach 70% of households by the end of 2017, with fiber making up about 90% of the market.

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