What’s up with… Qualcomm + Altran, Orange, Coherent

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Feb 15, 2021

  • Altran and Qualcomm team up on Open RAN-enabled small cells
  • Orange strikes a major solar power deal
  • Coherent has a very full dance card

A sign-of-the-times relationship between Qualcomm and Altran, plus a noteworthy green power deal for Orange, get the news week off to a gripping start…

  • Diversified tech developer Altran, which is now part of global tech and professional services firm Capgemini, has struck a couple of interesting 5G-related relationships in the past few days. Its most striking move is a hook up with Qualcomm, whereby Altran will integrate its 5G NR (new radio) software onto the chip giant’s 5G RAN platform for small cells, which can then be used by radio unit and small cell device manufacturers aiming to get their Open RAN-ready products to market quickly, something that could be handy in the US market where companies are now looking to make use of the CBRS spectrum awarded following the recent auction and open, disaggregated network elements could prove an attractive option. Altran may not be a household name in mobile infrastructure circles, but its RAN software expertise comes from the acquisition in 2018 of Aricent, a company with which many will be familiar. Altran isn’t the only company with such an arrangement though: Radisys, now part of India’s Reliance Jio, has a similar arrangement, struck in late 2019. For more on the Altran/Qualcomm agreement, see this announcement
  • Still with Altran… It has also teamed up with Blue Planet (part of Ciena) for the co-development of software that will enable automated operations and network management, a relationship that covers “service orchestration, cloud orchestration, inventory, analytics, network assurance, OSS/BSS integration and network automation.” Quite a lot, then!
  • When optical components firm Lumentum announced a $5.7 billion deal to acquire photonics and lasers specialist Coherent last month, it likely didn’t think it would be the start of a bidding war. But higher offers have now been made to Coherent by MKS Instruments – a $6 billion offer from MKS Instruments and then a $6.5 billion offer from II-VI, which is no stranger to major optical M&A, having acquired Finisar for $3.2 billion in 2019. 
  • Orange has struck a 15-year Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with ENGIE, a major developer of solar and wind power in France, a deal that includes the development of two new solar farm farms in the Hautes-Alpes region. “Reducing our environmental footprint is a major part of Orange's strategy,” noted Fabienne Dulac, Orange's Executive Vice-President and CEO of Orange France. “By 2025, the Group plans to reduce 30% of its direct CO² emissions compared to 2015 and reach an electricity mix made up of 50% renewable energy.” For further details, see this announcement.
  • Investments in test and assurance tools for telco cloud and edge computing will ramp significantly during the next six years and fuel growth in the overall market for test and assurance tech used by network operators, according to a new report from the industry analyst team at Appledore Research. The total investment in test and assurance tools for cloud and edge assets by network operators in 2020 was $275 million, about one tenth of the overall telco test and assurance market spending, but by 2026 this will grow to as much as $1.8 billion and account for more than half of the total telco test and assurance market, which by that time will have grown to be worth more than $3.2 billion, according to Appledore. For further details, see this blog.
  • Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? Not Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess, who has made himself a hostage to fortune by stepping up in response to rumours that Apple is working on a self-driving car, to declare he's "not afraid" of an ‌‌Apple Car‌‌ and that Apple will not be able to overtake the $2 trillion automobile industry overnight. Not that Apple claims to be poised to do that. In fact, Apple has not even confirmed it's working on a self-driving car (it never confirms or denies anything, which is probably wise). Diess, though, believes the reports that Apple is talking with one of the big car manufacturers to that end are "logical". He is quoted as saying that “Apple has expertise in battery technology, software, and design, and it can easily utilise all of its proficiency in those areas to create an automobile.”
  • Oh, what it is to fall out of favour…. Less than a year after joining the board of Huawei UK, Sir Michael Rake has decided it’s time to step down, according to Sky News. The former Chairman of BT joined the board in April 2020, stating at the time how important it was to ensure that everyone in the UK should have affordable and reliable connectivity, and how “Huawei and its world-beating technology” is vital to delivering that. But things have changed: Huawei has been classified as vendor non grata for 5G and FTTP by the UK government, and Sir Michael has reportedly decided his seat on the board should be made available to someone else from next month.  
  • More positive appointment news comes from Italy, where Vittorio Colao, the former CEO of Vodafone, will be the Minister responsible for Technology Innovation and Digital Transition in the new government formed by Mario Draghi.
  • Bankrupt satellite firm Intelsat has filed a plan to exit Chapter 11 protection with a debt load cut in half to about $7 billion and ownership of the company handed to a select group of bondholders, while existing shareholders would lose everything, reports Bloomberg

- The staff, TelecomTV

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