What’s up with… Huawei, Vivendi and TIM, TIP

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Mar 10, 2022

  • Huawei still silent on response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
  • Vivendi takes a hit on its TIM stake, but supports new TIM CEO 
  • The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) appoints new Executive Director

Silence from Huawei over its position on business in Russia, ongoing support for TIM from shareholder Vivendi, and a new Executive Director for TIP are the lead news items today.

How long does it take a global company to issue a statement on an issue of global magnitude? More than two weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, sparking condemnation and action from companies around the world, including those in the telecom world, Huawei Technologies, by far still the biggest single supplier of telecoms technology in the world, has nothing to say. Both of its main international rivals, Ericsson and Nokia, have not only condemned Russia’s action but have suspended shipments to Russia. But according to a UK-based spokesperson for Huawei, there is still no comment on the Chinese vendor’s position (not even a ‘no comment’) from its headquarters in Shenzhen, from where all statements and comments related to the vendor’s strategy and business emanate. That refusal to comment has already resulted in the resignation of two Huawei UK board members, according to Sky News. If Huawei doesn’t comment soon, then assumptions will very quickly be made, not only about its current stance with regards to Russia, but also about who actually pulls the strings at the vendor: The company would be better off clearing the air and just stating whether or not it is continuing to do business in Russia in these troubling times.

Vivendi may have just taken a hit on its stake in TIM (Telecom Italia), but it’s hanging onto its significant stake (about 24%) and has faith in the recently-appointed new CEO, according to Reuters. Vivendi just reported its 2021 financials, which included “a €728 million write-down of the Telecom Italia shares accounted for under the equity method (-€0.20 per share) in particular to account for the economic uncertainties and strategic changes that could affect Telecom Italia’s outlook,” the French company noted in its earnings report. And it’s hoping its stake can increase in value under new CEO Pietro Labriola, who is formulating a new strategy for the Italian operator, and it’s one that doesn’t account for the successful acquisition of TIM by private equity firm KKR, which tabled a bid of €10.8 billion last November. Vivendi finds that offer very wide of the mark. According to Reuters, Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine praised Labriola and noted that KKR's initial approach undervalues the Italian national telco. Labriola’s appointment is a turning point, de Puyfontaine told reporters. "We consider [TIM’s] value very much higher than its current share price and that of the virtual value mentioned by KKR in its statement of intent," stated the Vivendi CEO.

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) has appointed Kristian Toivo as its new Executive Director, effective 1 June.. Toivo joins TIP following a 30-year career at Ericsson and most recently from Atos IT Services (Atos’ TMT – Telco, Media and Technology – industry vertical), where he was a Global Client Executive. “TIP is at the center of a dramatic and necessary shift to the dynamics of the entire telecoms ecosystem, and I am honored to have been chosen to lead the organization alongside the rest of the fantastic leadership team and our Board of Directors,” he noted. Toivo steps into the chair vacated by Attilio Zani, who left late last year to join GoogleRead more

As the crisis stemming from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, mobile operators around the globe continue to provide connectivity support to those affected. UK operator Three UK and German operator Deutsche Telekom announced they’re both giving out free SIM cards with unlimited calls and data for any refugee arriving from Ukraine. US telco Verizon extended an earlier initiative to waive charges for calling, texting and data roaming, and until 17 March, its consumer and small business wireless customers will be able to use such services for free to and from Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. The offer is also applicable to residential landline customers.

Cellnex Telecom unit EDZCOM is collaborating with the automotive branch of  engineering group SEGULA Technologies to develop a “unique value proposition with optimized private 5G network capabilities to the automotive market.” As part of the development, Cellnex will deploy a private 5G network at Segula’s German test center located in Rodgau-Dudenhofen. For further details, see this press release.  

There’s a lot of coverage today of Amazon’s decision to initiate a 20-1 stock split (subject to shareholder approval) that means every Amazon shareholder, as of May 27, would get an additional 19 shares for each one they hold. What does this signal for Amazon? Check out this analysis from Richard Windsor – his insights into why companies take this route and what happens with share buybacks (which Amazon is also planning) are based on decades of tracking such companies, so he knows what he’s talking about. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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