Displaying items by tag: Markets

Uber’s growth slows as it prepares for IPO

Written on Sunday, 17 February 2019 13:37

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.

Published in Apps

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."

Published in Telecom Vendors

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.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Blow for Samsung US as CEO steps down

Written on Sunday, 03 February 2019 10:08

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.

Published in Telecom Vendors

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.

Published in Telecom Operators

British telecommunications behemoth Vodafone has confirmed that it has delayed the installation of equipment supplied by Chinese vendor Huawei amidst security concerns surrounding the company.

However, Vodafone’s CEO Nick Read moved quickly to highlight that a blanket ban on Huawei would significantly hamper the roll out of 5G as the innovative Chinese enterprise has become the global leader in relation to 5G development.

Read said that the cautionary measure was taken by Vodafone because of the controversy currently swirling around Huawei following the high-profile arrest of its CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, and the detainment of another executive in Poland on suspicion of espionage.

Vodafone will engage in further discussions from authorities who have flagged their safety concerns over Huawei. However, Vodafone has insisted that but it will use the vendor’s equipment in its radio networks.

Read stated that the authorities had not forced Vodafone’s decision, but did acknowledge and concede that the negativity around Huawei had now become unhealthy in Europe and required for a more structured conversation that presented the facts so that we’re making the right decision for the industry, and isn’t politically motivated.

Vodafone Group said that it uses only a small amount of Huawei equipment in its core networks in a number of markets in Europe, which includes. However, interestingly the CEO did confirm that Huawei’s equipment was not used in its core network in the UK.

In addition to this, Read highlighted the importance of the availability of Huawei infrastructure, adding the industry needed to “look at it more holistically” and be “more grounded.” He noted rival vendors Ericsson and Nokia also have R&D facilities and significant manufacturing facilities located in China.

Vodafone has continued to pursue its digital strategy and has yielded good financial returns by simplifying its operating model and accelerating digital transformation. Vodafone has also announced an extension of a network sharing deal with Telefonica’s O2 UK, and added that it is planning to explore opportunities to monetize its UK tower assets. 

Published in Telecom Operators

An Estonian taxi startup company has announced its bold ambition to take on global ride-hailing colossus Uber in both London and Paris. Taxify announced that it will initially launch its services in London after it signed up 3,000 private hire taxi drivers following an intensive recruitment process which was needed to meet UK licensing and regulatory requirements.

Its expansion into the UK serves to indicate that Taxify is confident it can replicate the success it has enjoyed in other markets. The Estonian company have already benefited from the uncertainty and scandal that has plagued Uber in the last six months - by stealing a march on them in Eastern Europe and Africa.

London is a saturated market when it comes to taxi services. The English capital is home to the world-famous black cabs and private hire firm Addison Lee, who compete with other ride-hailing apps such as GETT and HAILO, which is now incorporated in Daimler’s MyTaxi.

Uber has a large slice of the market share in London, it boasts over 40,000 drivers and has 3 million London users, with the Silicon Valley based company claiming that users make over 1 million trips a week.

Taxify operates in 25 countries which is in stark contrast to that of Uber, who rollout its services in 600 cities across the world. However, its USP is that it allows passengers to pay marked-down fares which in turn lets drivers retain a bigger share of the profits, whilst it’s run on a much lower cost business model that Uber.

Taxify is directly targeting Uber’s customer base by offering a 15% commission on rides booked through the online platform. Uber charges between 20-25% in London. In addition to this, Taxify will accept cash as well as electronic payments unlike Uber.

The CEO and founder of the Estonian startup Markus Villig insisted its policy is that it will always be cheaper than Uber. Uber has just appointed a new CEO in order to bring much needed stability to the organization. It has endured a hugely difficult year, it has been embroiled in sexual harassment cases, legal disputes over the legality of the services it provides, and co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to resign as CEO.

Uber’s new boss is former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and he has vowed to take the company public in the next few years, and said the company had to change in order for it to continue to expand. Taxify has enjoyed incredible success since its inception and will be confident it can penetrate the UK market.

It’s based in the Baltics and it first staked out in major cities all across Eastern and Central Europe, before expanding operations in Africa. Its CEO has declared that he believes they will overtake Uber by the end of this year. The taxi company has been boosted by investment from China’s rife-hailing firm Chuxing DiDi and aim to expand into Paris before the end of 2017.

Published in Apps

Ericsson’s financial uncertainty shows no sign of abating following reports in the Swedish media that the telecommunications firm is set to cut 25,000 jobs. Reports circulating from the Nordic region claim that management at Ericsson intend to lay off around 25,000 employees as part of its new savings program that has been devised in an effort to counteract its financial plight. 

In July, Ericsson formally announced that it planned to accelerate measures to meet a target of doubling its 2016 underlying operating margin of 6%. In addition to this, it also outlined its aim to reach an annual cost reduction run rate of at least $1.2 billion by the end of the second quarter of next year.

Ericsson stressed that any actions taken would primarily affect service delivery and common costs, and claimed that research and development would remain largely unaffected. However, the Swedish telecommunications colossus is facing increasing pressure from competitors such as China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia.

Other contributory factors to its financial woes is that of weak emerging markets and falling spend by operators with the demand for next-generation 5G technology still years away. Swedish media outlet Svenska Dagbladet claimed that a source within Ericsson leaked the information to them, but said it was unsure as to whether or not the planned culling of staff included employees within its media operations.

It has been claimed that these positions are up for strategic review, and many analysts have predicted that it is likely to be sold by the group. In a statement which was released on Ericsson’s website, a spokesman said it was too early to talk about ‘specific measures’ in relation to the latest jobs cuts at the organization. The statement read, “Ericsson has not communicated which specific units or countries could be affected. It is too early to talk about specific measures or exclude any country.”

This is just the latest in a long line of job cuts which have been made by Ericsson over the last number of years. Multiple job losses have been made in both Italy and Sweden. However, these reports if true would represent the largest reduction in staff by the company. Theres was hope that the appointment of a new CEO, and a number of board changes would reinvigorate the Swedish telecommunications giant, but that has thus far failed to materialize. Currently, Ericsson has around 109,000 employees.

Published in Telecom Operators

Samsung has announced that it will re-launch its much maligned Galaxy Note 7 after developing a refurbished version of the handset - and plan to introduce it into the South Korean market later this month. Samsung was forced to recall all of its Galaxy Note 7 devices last year, following widespread reports of handsets catching fire - and in some instances self-combusting, due to faulty batteries.

It was a huge blow for Samsung, and it’s been estimated that the faulty devices cost the South Korean conglomerate around $5 billion in operating profit – whilst it also dented its stock price and had an adverse effect on its relationship with stakeholders.

However, Samsung have now refurbished the Galaxy Note 7 by using new batteries and intend on releasing 400,000 phones to the market. The device has now been dubbed the ‘Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition’ and is priced at around $611, which is about 30% cheaper than the price of the Note 7’s when initially launched last year. In addition to this, it has been revealed that the devices will be made from recalled, unsealed Note 7 handsets and unused Note 7 components.

Batteries in the newly refurbished Galaxy Note 7 have been subject to strict new testing, but have passed all the new safety measures which Samsung introduced following the recall last year. The batteries will have a lower capacity than those in the original Note 7.

Samsung had announced earlier this year that it planned to re-introduce the phones onto the market following the conclusion of an investigation by Samsung and other independent firm which established that the batteries were the sole responsibility for the fires in the faulty Note 7 devices. The world’s biggest smartphone maker by volume also announced its plan to launch an event for the Note 8 in the second-half of August. Samsung has thus far declined to comment on whether it plans on introducing the refurbished Note 7’s to other markets at a later date, although sources close to company claim they don’t plan on relaunching the refurbished Note 7 in the United States or India.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Blow for Australian telecommunications firm as profits slump

Written on Thursday, 16 February 2017 07:30

Australia’s leading telecommunications company Telstra has reported a slump in first half profit - as the combination of increased competition in the market and a shift towards digital have had a significant impact. Its fixed-line and mobile businesses both took a big hit due to the aforementioned factors above, with net profit after tax for the first-half to December 31st also plummeting a sharp 14.4% to AUS$1.79 billion ($US1.38 billion) from the previous period twelve months ago.

The repercussions of this for Telstra has been felt on the stock exchange with the bleak financial report sending shares prices tumbling down to 4.43% AUS$4.96 in mid-table trade in Sydney. Chris Weston, IG Markets chief strategist attempted to dissect Telstra’s failings and stated it as a ‘weak’ result for the Australian colossus.

Weston said, “It’s a weak result, you’ve got revenue and underlying profit all missing (market expectations) by a decent chunk. The implied volatility in a stock like Telstra is so low that this is as big a miss as you are going to get.”

Revenue for services such as fixed-line and mobile fell 4.7% and 8.7% respectively for this period. Overall sales revenue also decreased by 3.4% to AUS$12.79 billion. Telstra also disclosed an interim dividend of 15.5 AUS cents. Despite the poor nature of the financial results reported by the organization, Telstra chief executive Andrew Penn attempted to portray a positive light on reports – declaring the telco had performed well in a highly competitive market.

Penn said, “Data volumes have increased and intense competition on pricing across fixed, bundles, mobile, data and IP has had an impact. Those are in parallel with the acceleration of the rollout of (the National Broadband Network) which, over the longer term, will have a negative impact on EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of AUS$2-3 billion."

The NBN, or national broadband network, aims to connect most Australian homes to superfast Internet over the next few years, replacing Telstra's existing copper network.

Published in Telecom Operators