What’s up with… Nokia, BT, Magma, Xilinx + Fujitsu

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Feb 4, 2021

  • Nokia girds its loins for a tough 2021
  • BT digs deep and wide as pandemic weighs heavy
  • DT goes with the Magma flow (geddit?)
  • Fujitsu brings Xilinx on board for Open RAN delivery

Some tough times for Nokia and BT, and an intriguing new open source development that has Deutsche Telekom’s blessing, lead the way in today’s news charge.  

  • Nokia’s CEO Pekka Lundmark (above) warned of a tough year ahead for the vendor’s mobile network infrastructure unit, with particular pressure coming in North America, where the company has lost market share (mainly at Verizon) and where “price erosion” is hurting margins. In fact, the company, having reported today a 4% dip in full year revenues (at constant currency exchange rates) to €21.87 billion, said it expects sales to dip again in 2021, to between €20.6 billion and €21.8 billion. Lundmark is still in the relatively early part of his tenure as CEO (and at a very tough time in general, of course), and is looking to a longer term turnaround for the vendor: he also noted today that he’s prepared to “invest whatever it takes to win in 5G.” Nokia’s stock is down slightly today at €3.70, but that’s an improvement on where it began the year (€3.16). For the full details, see this earnings announcement
  • BT, meanwhile, is feeling the impact of the pandemic, reporting a 7% like-for-like dip in revenues for the first three quarters of its financial year to just over £16 billion. ON a brighter note, its fibre broadband access network rollout is continuing apace and has now passed 4.1 million premises, and is on course to reach 4.5 million by the end of the fiscal year on 31 March. For further details, see this announcement.
  • Deutsche Telekom is backing a new open source mobile core platform effort: The Linux Foundation is launching a new development group focused on an open source mobile packet core stack that builds on an existing development called Magma. The founding members of the initiative include Deutsche Telekom, Arm, Facebook, Qualcomm, the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance, the Open Infrastructure Foundation (OIF), and others. Magma, which was contributed to the open source community by Facebook in 2019, is an access-agnostic mobile packet core platform suitable for carrier Wi-Fi, private wireless networks and fixed wireless access (FWA) deployments as well as 4G/LTE and 5G. The new group’s efforts are set to complement the ongoing work of the Open Core initiative at the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). For further details, see this announcement.
  • Radio access network hardware components vendor Xilinx says its UltraScale+ device is being used in the Fujitsu Open RAN-compliant radio units being deployed by Dish Network in the US. Check out this press release for further details.
  • SK Telecom’s full year 2020 financial results were notable for a few reasons, and not just because overall revenues increased by 5% (impressive during these challenging times) to 18.6 trillion Korean Won (US$16.7 billion): The South Korean operator’s efforts to diversify its business and seek new revenue streams has been notable during the past year, and it noted that its “New ICT” areas of media, security and commerce grew sales by 15.3% in 2020, while its mobile network operations grew sales by 2.8%. SK Telecom ended the year with 5.48 million 5G customers and expects that number to rise to 9 million by the end of this year. Read more. 
  • Apple is reportedly nearing a deal to build its autonomous electric car with Hyundai.. or maybe another electric vehicle manufacturer, according to Business Insider. As usual Apple is playing the secrecy game and little is known for sure. It seems the projected launch date is 2024 for the first model but the manufacturing partner hasn’t yet been signed. Apple plans to leverage its battery technology along with its software and marketing prowess.
  • Jack Ma, high-profile billionaire co-founder of the huge Chinese technology conglomerate Alibaba recently got on the wrong side of the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party by publicly criticising the government's financial policies. Shortly afterwards he disappeared from view and on his return, visibly chastened and diminished, issued series of fulsome apologies as part of his re-education programme and grovelling efforts to regain some of the trust and kudos he has lost with the powers-that-be. On the other hand, Ren Zhengfei, the often reclusive and elusive founder of Huawei has consistently been low-key, circumspect and very careful indeed not to upset the politburo. But it turns out that even he can make mistakes as evidenced by his public apology for using the Huawei brand for "personal purposes". It seems he appropriated 'Huawei' to trademark several names on behalf of his youngest daughter, the 23-year-old Yao Siwei (her stage names being Annabel Yao or Anna Yao, depending who she thinks she is on any given day). She has expensively promoted ambitions (widely mocked) to be an "all-round entertainer". She burst on to the scene on January 14 this year with a ludicrously grandiose 17 minute-long and very expensive documentary about herself that was pushed out on various social media platforms and China and other parts of the Far East, to considerable amusement ​and much satire. Under Chinese law, individuals are not permitted to use the name or trademark of a company in registering another non-related trademark. In his apology, Ren Zhengfei said it was the first time (and almost certainly the last) he co-opted the might of the company and the Huawei brand for other than corporate legitimate reasons, adding that he felt it necessary because some unnamed companies and individuals were trying to trademark his daughter's name for their own commercial ends. Hence the need for Huawei to register Annabel Yao and Anna Yao in categories including clothing, footwear, watches and jewellery, food, education, entertainment, mechanical equipment and scientific instruments. What a polymath the girl is. Given that her initial and so-far flopping music video is called "Backfire", she's obviously prescient as well.

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