What’s up with… Huawei, Dish, Aviat

  • Huawei’s still growing (apparently)
  • Dish strikes technology and site deals 
  • Industry trends give Aviat Networks a lift

Unofficial Huawei numbers that will make some veins throb and some important tech and neutral site decisions by Dish Network top the bill on today’s news variety show. 

  • Leaked numbers suggest that, despite multiple pressures on its business (not least the impact of US sanctions), Huawei still managed to ramp its full year 2020 revenues by 11.2% to $136.7 billion and boost its profits by more than 10% to $9.9 billion, according to multiple reports in the Chinese media citing unaudited internal numbers. No further details were available, and Huawei has shared nothing officially. In October last year the Chinese vendor said its revenues for the first nine months of 2020 grew by 9.9% year-on-year to CNY671.3 billion (at the time was worth $100.15 billion). The company usually shares its audited financials in late March or early April, which is when we will see how much of its 2020 business came from its handset division (now smaller following a recent asset sale) and domestic business in China, where 5G network investments have been high and advantageous to the Huawei top line.
  • Dish Network, which is building a greenfield Open RAN-based 5G network in the US, has handed a microwave transport technology supply deal to Aviat Networks, whose technology will be used in Dish’s midhaul and backhaul network links. Interestingly, Dish made a point of noting it was buying the wireless networking gear “from the Aviat Store ecommerce platform.” See this announcement for further details. The news comes only days after Dish announced it had struck a deal with Vertical Bridge, which has a “portfolio of towers, rooftops, utility transmission structures, billboards, convenience stores and other sites used for wireless infrastructure deployment” across the US and Puerto Rico totalling 300,000 sites.
  • And a little more on Aviat… the company clearly believes that a s hift to Open RAN will improve its fortunes. “As 5G networks migrate to O-RAN, operators are able to choose the best-in-class backhaul vendor. As the leading specialist, the evolution to O-RAN creates exciting 5G opportunities for Aviat," noted Pete Smith, Aviat’s President and CEO, in the contract win announcement. The company’s fortunes already appear to be on the rise: Last week it announced a 26% year-on-year increase in fiscal second quarter sales to $70.5 million and an operating profit of $7.9 million compared with a loss a year earlier. That news lit a fire under the company’s stock, which also got a positive bump from the Dish deal news: In the past week its share price has gained more than 30% to $56.67, its highest price in about 10 years. 
  • Deutsche Telekom has selected Nokia to help with its optical network transformation. The operator wants to upgrade its existing network to become more scalable, automated and service-centric and will be deploying Nokia WaveFabric service-ready platforms, including the Nokia 1830 Photonic Service Switch (PSS) powered by the PSE-V family of coherent DSPs (digital signal processors), and the Nokia WaveSuite software portfolio.
  • Ericsson, meanwhile, has landed a charging platform deal at Brazil’s Vivo (Telefônica Brazil) and provided 5G technology to a Ford Motor Company engine plant in Valencia, Spain. 
  • It's the same old story the world over, an ISP promises Internet connectivity speeds of "up to" supersonic levels but the reality a downer - sluggish, intermittent and overpriced disappointment. Complain and you get pushed around from pillar to post until you lose the will to live as the promises of call-backs and investigations on the part of "customer service" fail to materialise. And, of course, emails and letters seldom reach the desk of anyone in senior management and those that do go unanswered. So, after years of dreadful service and being given the endless runaround by AT&T one man in the original Tinseltown of Hollywood, California, 90 year old Aaron Epstein who has been a Ma Bell customer since the 1960s, hit on a bright idea. He wrote a good old-fashioned letter of complaint directly and personally to AT&T CEO John Stankey, but rather than posting it he took out quarter page ads in two editions of the Wall Street Journal. One in Dallas, Texas (where Stankey lives) and Manhattan, New York City, (where analysts and investors are to be found). The ads said, "We need to keep up with current technology [there are lots of movie industry technicians working from home in Hollywood who need proper bandwidth] and have looked to AT&T to supply us with fast Internet service. Yet, although AT&T is advertising speeds up to 100Mbps for other neighborhoods, the fastest now available to us from AT&T is only 3Mbps. Your competitors now have speeds of over 200Mbps. Why is AT&T, a leading communications company, treating us so shabbily in North Hollywood?" Speaking to the Ars Technica website, he added, "What gets my goat is, I've been getting snail mail advertising the faster speed, but when I call them they say it's not available." The ads cost him US$1,100 but they hit the spot and Aaron Epstein says it was worth the every penny. The bad press, and there has been a lot of it, caught AT&T on the hop. It's CEO has been approached for comment, the PR department is in a flap and the company says it will urgently "reach out" to Mr Epstein. What's the betting they'll start by sending him an email?
  • It is often forgotten, but more than 10 per cent of the population of Mexico comprises of indigenous peoples and communities who were there long before the Spanish invasion that resulted in the destruction of the Aztec empire in the 16th century. To this day that important, essentially rurally distributed minority remains disenfranchised in too many political, economic and social arenas. Many are further disadvantaged by inability to access commercial mobile telecoms services at affordable prices. Hitherto, the Mexican regulator required TIC (Telecomunicaciones Indígenas Comunitarias), the not-for-profit telco dedicated to providing mobile access to 66 indigenous communities, to pay the comparatively huge sum of one million pesos (US$50,000) for a concession licence to use RF spectrum to operate their own telecoms services. However, Mexico's Supreme Court has at last drawn a legal line between commercial and community telecoms provision and exempted the TIC from that onerous charge. It means that local communities across Mexico can now provide cheap telecoms and Internet services to rural areas under the terms of "Social Use Concessions." In the predominantly rural state of Oaxaca, before the new Supreme Court ruling, TIC had a limited network in place centred around base transceiver stations, operating on solar energy, that transmitted local calls and connected to Wi-Fi to for contact beyond the local network. Users paid 42 pesos ($ 2) a month for unlimited minutes within the network. Of that 42 pesos, 25 stayed in the community, 15 pesos went to the TIC, and 2 went to an emergency repair fund. By comparison, a monthly prepaid plan with the leading Mexican commercial mobile carrier, Telcel, started at a minimum of 200 pesos ($10.33), a sum far beyond the reach of many.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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