What’s up with… Qualcomm and Cellwize, BT, Vodafone Business

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Jun 13, 2022

  • Qualcomm’s acquisition of Cellwize well received by major telcos
  • Potential BT takeover talk resurfaces, despite government review
  • Vodafone Business cited as leader in IoT roaming services sector

A significant 5G acquisition, the latest speculation about BT shareholder intentions, and an IoT roaming thumbs up for Vodafone Business top today's news charts.

Major network operators including Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone have reacted positively to Qualcomm’s acquisition of radio access network (RAN) automation specialist Cellwize, a deal the wireless chip giant believes will boost its position “as a leader in 5G RAN innovation and adoption.” The deal was first rumoured a month ago. According to the tech giant, the capabilities of Cellwize to deploy, automate and manage software platforms on 5G networks will result in enhanced 5G infrastructure solutions. “The addition of Cellwize’s best-in-class RAN automation technologies strengthens Qualcomm Technologies’ ability to drive the development of the modern 5G network – accelerating Open RAN global adoption, cloud-based cellular infrastructure innovation and 5G private network deployments”, commented Durga Malladi, senior vice president and general manager of cellular modems and infrastructure at Qualcomm. Financial terms of the takeover were not disclosed, but Israeli media reports suggested the price tag was in the region of $300m. The acquisition was well received by the industry, including Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone. “As the network complexity increases, driven by [a] wide variety of frequency bands, massive MIMO and multi-vendor disaggregated network (Open RAN), network automation and orchestration is key to manage this complexity and realize operational efficiencies,” noted DT’s group CTO Abdu Mudesir. “We are pleased with this announcement as Cellwize, in which we have been invested through DTCP since 2018, is well positioned to help automate and orchestrate the next generation network experience. We look forward to continuing working with Qualcomm Technologies and Cellwize on the next phase of automation,” added Mudesir. Yago Tenorio, Vodafone Group’s network architecture director, stated: “Network orchestration and automation will play a fundamental role in Open RAN deployments to manage and optimize multi-vendor networks. We are pleased with this announcement and we are looking forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies and Cellwize to test their solution in Vodafone’s network as we ramp up our ORAN deployment." Find out more.

Speculation about the potential future ownership structure of UK national operator BT is back in the headlines as the restrictions on current significant stakeholder, Patrick Drahi, launching a takeover bid are coming to an end. Drahi, the owner of European network operator Altice, acquired an initial 12.1% stake in BT in June 2021 via a new subsidiary, Altice UK, before increasing that stake to 18% in December last year. Bloomberg has reported that Drahi might team up with Deutsche Telekom, which is open to suggestions as to how it might cash in on its own 12% stake in BT, if the billionaire businessman attempts to take a controlling stake in the UK incumbent telco. But if Drahi makes any kind of move to take control of BT, the UK government looks highly likely to step in to halt it using the powers afforded to it as part of the National Security and Investment Act that came into effect in January this year. The UK Secretary of State for Business, Industry and Skills, Kwasi Kwarteng, cited the act a few weeks ago when announcing an investigation into Drahi’s 18% stake in BT: See British government cites security concerns as it probes Drahi’s BT stake and the sale of Newport Wafer Fab.

Vodafone Business is the leading service provider in the internet of things (IoT) roaming market, according to a new study by Juniper Research. The analyst assessed a number of companies against a set of key indicators, including their capacity and capability, their product positioning, the size of their operations, financial performance and the sophistication of their IoT roaming solution. Phil Skipper, head of IoT strategy and development for Vodafone Business, noted: “Our IoT platform, which delivers managed IoT connectivity, device management and application development, enables our roaming partners to actively participate in and monetise the global opportunity for IoT connectivity.” Read this press release to find out which other companies are regarded as “established leaders” in the IoT roaming services market. 

Almost half (49%) of all fixed broadband connections in France were over a fibre line by the end of the first quarter of this year, according to the latest statistics from national regulator Arcep. At the end of March, there were 15.5 million fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connections, an increase of one million during the quarter and up by four million year on year, noted Arcep in this market update.  

Despite some 800 organisations around the world deploying private mobile networks (PMN) each year, most (76%) still opt for LTE deployments over 5G, according to the latest report by the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). It said at least 794 organisations across 68 countries and territories are deploying LTE or 5G private networks. In addition, private mobile networks (PMNs) have also been installed in various offshore locations to serve the oil and gas industries, as well as on ships. More than 70 telecoms network operators are involved in PMN projects, which are primarily deployed in the manufacturing (140 companies), education and mining sectors. “Organisations of all types, whether they are in the manufacturing, education or automotive sector, are investing and deploying networks that will drive automation and productivity. Through LTE and increasingly 5G, organisations are betting on private networks and what they can deliver”, explained Joe Barrett, president of the GSA, who expects to see “significant market developments” in the private mobile networks field in the next few years.

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.