What’s up with... Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile US, Virgin Media O2 and Samsung, Vodafone

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Apr 13, 2022

  • DT ups its stake in T-Mobile US
  • Virgin Media O2 brings Samsung into its live 4G/5G network
  • Vodafone mulls FTTH joint venture in Germany

Deutsche Telekom strengthening grip on T-Mobile US, vendor diversification at one of the UK’s major mobile operators and news of yet another potential major fibre access network investment in Europe are the top picks from today’s news list.

Deutsche Telekom has increased its stake in T-Mobile US to 48.4% from 46.7% with the purchase of 21.2 million shares from SoftBank for $2.4 billion, taking it closer to majority control of the US operator. DT used proceeds from the recent sale of T-Mobile Netherlands to fund the purchase. The move was signalled as part of a “strategic partnership” struck between DT and SoftBank in September 2021. DT’s share price gained 1.4% to hit €17.30 following news of the transaction, which reflects just how important T-Mobile US has become to the German giant’s financials – look no further than the full year 2021 earnings report for the evidence. 

Virgin Media O2 has deployed Samsung radio access network (RAN) technology in live production 4G and 5G sites in the UK, so advancing the relationship between the operator and vendor that was first announced in October 2021. The companies noted that the radio gear provided is Open RAN compliant (with some configuration changes and additional support) and so is ready to use in such an architecture in the future is needed. And Virgin Media O2 seems keen on the idea: “We are pleased to build on our previous collaboration with Samsung, delivering another 5G milestone in our push to developing Open RAN technologies,” said Jeanie York, the operator’s CTO. “We will continue our collaborative efforts with Samsung to explore the possibilities of 5G and push the technology further to deliver superior end-user experiences for our customers.” Samsung is also working with Vodafone UK on its Open RAN rollout, and is increasingly positioning itself as a viable option to operators seeking greater supplier diversification, something that UK government and the country’s telcos have been keen on since Huawei became vendor non grata. And it’s not just in the UK that Samsung is gaining traction: A recent report from Dell’Oro showed the South Korean supplier as one of the companies growing its market share in the global telecom equipment sector. For more on Samsung’s engagement with Virgin Media O2, see this announcement

Vodafone is talking to potential partners about a potential FTTH network investment in Germany of up to €10 billion, according to Handelsblatt. Vodafone is already a major fixed broadband service provider in Germany but over cable broadband lines powered by DOCSIS 3.1 technology: It seems Vodafone wants to expand its reach in Germany but not by building out additional cable broadband infrastructure, which would chime with the current trend among many operators, including long-time cable players, to focus on fibre for fixed access lines. 

Broadcom is the latest broadband chip developer to pre-empt the Wi-Fi 7.0 standard with the unveiling of an “end-to-end” set of chips for routers, residential gateways, enterprise access points and end user devices. This next iteration of Wi-Fi, or 802.11be as the standard will be known, isn’t due for final working group approval until early 2024, but that doesn’t hold Broadcom back from saying it will have products commercially available in 2023. Right now, Broadcom says it is “currently sampling its Wi-Fi 7 chips to early access partners and customers in mobile, enterprise, service provider and retail segments.” Find out much more about Broadcom’s product line-up, and what partners and customers think about it, in this announcement. Wi-Fi 7 is expected to be the standard that will herald the end of Ethernet cable spaghetti in offices and homes... but we’ll believe that when we see it. Broadcom isn’t the only one out of the traps early with its Wi-Fi 7 marketing: MediaTekstarted demonstrating its products in January this year, though wasn’t claiming to have an ‘end-to-end’ suite of chips.

The Linux Foundation’s LF Networking project has announced “momentum” in its 5G efforts, with updates on its security efforts, in a white paper titled ‘Securing Open Source 5G from End to End’, and progress with its 5G Super Blueprint, “a community-driven integration/illustration of multiple open source initiatives, projects, and vendors coming together to show use cases demonstrating implementation architectures for end users.” Read more.

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