What’s up with… Deutsche Telekom, Qualcomm, Open Fiber, Telia

Picture courtesy of Deutsche Telekom

Picture courtesy of Deutsche Telekom

  • Deutsche Telekom goes big on 5G
  • Qualcomm’s robotics platform combines 5G and AI
  • Macquarie fancies a slice of Italy’s Open Fiber 
  • Telia looks to offload its Turkcell stake

It’s a day of 5G and M&A news, with, Deutsche Telekom, Qualcomm, Open Fiber and Telia in the thick of the action.

  • Deutsche Telekom says it has more than 12,000 operational 5G-enabled antennas, covers 16 million people with its 5G service today and will be providing 5G coverage to 40 million German citizens, half of the country’s population, by mid-July. The operator says its 5G coverage expansion has been helped by the acquisition of 10 MHz of spectrum from another service provider. The operator is also embarking on a 5G media and marketing blitz that includes a “magenta lighting installation at Düsseldorf's Rhine Tower.”
  • Qualcomm has unveiled its Robotics RB5 platform, which the wireless chip specialist says is “the first of its kind to bring together the Company’s deep expertise in 5G and AI to empower developers and manufacturers to create the next generation of high-compute, low-power robots and drones for the consumer, enterprise, defense, industrial and professional service sectors.” And… take a breath!!
  • Macquarie has made a “non-binding offer” to acquire the 50% of Italian wholesale fixed broadband access network operator Open Fiber that is owned by utility giant Enel. The bid, made by the investment company’s Macquarie Infrastructure Real Asset unit, is set to be worth between €1.5 billion and €3 billion, based on a valuation assigned to Open Fiber by Italian business media outlets. The other 50% of Open Fiber is owned by state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP). News of Macquarie’s bid will once again raise the prospects of an eventual merger between Open Fiber and the fixed access network division of national operator TIM (Telecom Italia). Macquarie seems keen on fiber access network assets: It was linked to a potential bid for BT’s quasi-autonomous Openreach unit when rumours that a chunk of it might be sold made headlines last month, while Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund subsidiary MEIF 6 Fibre is pumping money into the fibre rollouts of KCOM, the UK operator it acquired in August 2019.
  • Telia has confirmed it’s in talks to sell its indirect stake in Turkcell for $530 million: The Swedish operator says “negotiations are still ongoing and are in an advanced stage, but no agreement has yet been reached.” Telia owns 47.1% of Turkcell Holding, which in turn owns 51% of Turkcell. The operator boasts about 33 million mobile and 2.3 million fixed broadband customers. 
  • Cisco has launched SecureX, a “cloud-native cybersecurity platform” that offers increased visibility of threat metrics and automated processes, during its Cisco Live Digital event. It also unveiled a set of “business resiliency” tools and services to help companies with their more distributed workforce requirements and expanded the capacity of its Webex conferencing platform
  • Dutch national telco KPN and Belgian cable operator Telenet are two of the companies involved in a €10 million European research project called 5G-Blueprint that looks at “the technology, organization and business case of remote-controlled transport in logistics and transport… The project aims to realize a blueprint for a pan-European rollout of telecommunications such as 5G for logistics sectors.” 
  • AT&T is set to cut 3,400 jobs and close 250 retail outlets in the next few weeks, according to a statement from the Communications Workers of America, a move confirmed by AT&T. T-Mobile USA is also laying off Sprint staff, reported TechCrunch.
  • Some of the shine has rubbed off the early 5G success in South Korea with news that the three main operators face record fines for offering illegal subsidies to their 5G customers, reports Korea Bizwire. At the end of April there were 6.33 million 5G subscribers in the country, with SK Telecom leading the market with 2.85 million users of the next-gen mobile service.
  • French operators invested €10.4 billion in their networks in 2019, with more than 70% of the capex pumped into fiber access networks, according to French regulator Arcep.
  • Swisscom is targeting SMEs with a new support and consultancy-based service called My Service Business.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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