What’s up with… Rogers & Shaw, Nokia & Orange, Xiaomi

  • Canadian operators to merge
  • Orange adopts Nokia’s SON
  • Xiaomi trumps US blacklist

The creation of a new national Canadian operator, a notable win for Nokia at Orange and court cheer for Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi top today’s news bill.

  • Canadian operators Rogers Communications, which operates in the east of the country, is snapping up Shaw Communications, which operates in the western provinces, for C$20.4 billion (US$16.35 billion) to create a giant national Canadian operator that will be a much stronger rival to BCE (Bell Canada) and Telus. Rogers says that once the acquisition is completed, it will invest C$2.5 billion in 5G networks across Western Canada, a move that will create 3,000 net new jobs. For further details, see this announcement.
  • Nokia has landed a deal to provide its SON (self-organizing network) technology to Orange for use in its 5G networks, starting in France and Spain but ultimately across all of the operator’s markets. The SON technology, which can be used in multi-vendor environments, will play a key role in enabling automated operations for Orange, which has outlined previously the importance of capabilities such as SON. As automation is such a big deal for all operators as they seek to become more efficient, and Orange is such a large and influential operator, this is a significant engagement for Nokia. For further details, see this press release.     
  • Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi has won a temporary reprieve from a ruling that would have forced US citizens to sell any shares they held in the world’s third largest handset vendor by November this year, reports CNN. In January, President Donald Trump’s administration identified Xiaomi as a Communist Chinese military company defined under the NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act], but Xiaomi took legal action to get the decision overturned and has, for the time being, been successful following a decision by the District Court for the District of Columbia. Xiaomi’s share price gained more than 7% in value in Monday trading following the decision. 
  • Spain’s three main mobile operators – Movistar (Telefónica), Orange and Vodafone – are making a joint bid for €4.32 billion of European funds to expand their 4G/5G cellular network coverage in rural areas of the country, with each operator taking responsibility for rolling out infrastructure that could be shared in a particular region of the country, reports business newspaper Expansión
  • BT faces the prospect of a major national strike impacting all of its major businesses, including mobile operation EE and quasi-autonomous fixed access network unit Openreach, following the decision by the UK’s Communication Workers Union (CWU) to move “towards a national industrial action ballot over an unprecedented and sustained assault on job security and hard-won terms and conditions,” the union announced in a statement studded with dramatic phraseology. CWU general secretary Dave Ward stated: “It’s quite clear management’s plans are all about compulsory redundancies, attacking terms and conditions and carrying out site closures without any consultation with the union or the workforce. It doesn’t need to be this way, but BT needs to decide whether it wants to change and transform with the workforce, or against them. As things stand it seems management have chosen the latter, and that’s something the CWU can never stand for.” The CWU represents about 45,000 BT employees. The last major strike by BT staff was in 1987, when about 117,000 engineers downed tools as the newly-privatized operator sought to contain costs and rationalize operations. BT told The Guardian newspaper that the current “immense” changes underway at the operator would result in a headcount reduction, but that it was “disappointed” the CWU is contemplating industrial action. With the past year in particular having accentuated the critical role that communications infrastructure plays in the day-to-day life of any country, especially with so much more work being done from people’s homes using their broadband connections as lifelines, it’s hoped that BT and the CWU will be able to reach some kind of reconciliation that makes sense to all parties, considers the fragility of the current employment market and considers the importance of ongoing service delivery. 
  • Photonics and lasers specialist Coherent is in demand! The company has two suitors, both desperate to acquire the company to add to their existing optical components portfolios. Lumentum had made the initial running with a $5.7 billion bid, only to be trumped by II-IV’s offer that was valued at more than $6.3 billion. Lumentum last week had an improved offer worth $6.6 billion accepted in the middle of last week, but II-IV is now back in the driving seat with a bid that increases the cash quotient and takes the total being offered in cash and stock to $6.8 billion. Lumentum has until the end of 17 March to table another improved offer.  
  • Due to pressure from the US government, Facebook has withdrawn plans submitted with a range of partners, including two of China’s major telcos, to build a subsea cable from Hong Kong to the US, reports the South China Morning Post. The partners included China Unicom, China Telecom Global, Tata Communications and Telstra. 
  • US regulator the FCC has officially added the portfolios of Huawei, ZTE and three other Chinese companies to a “list of communications equipment and services that are deemed a threat to national security, consistent with requirements in the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act of 2019.” As if it wasn’t already clear, federal funds can’t be used to buy technology from these companies, while federal funds can be used to swap their gear out for replacements not on the list. "This list is a big step toward restoring trust in our communications networks," said Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel. "Americans are relying on our networks more than ever to work, go to school, or access healthcare, and we need to trust that these communications are safe and secure.  This list provides meaningful guidance that will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat to U.S. national security or the security and safety of Americans." For further details, see this FCC announcement
  • Following its recent $27.4 billion splurge on C-band spectrum, AT&T has unveiled its latest 5G strategy that will see it start to make use of 40 MHz of that additional spectrum from the end of this year. The company “expects to spend $6-8 billion in capex deploying C-band spectrum, with the vast majority of the spend occurring from 2022 to 2024,” it noted in an analyst day announcement. It also plans to start offering 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) services to business customers from April using FWA routers from Cradlepoint (now part of Ericsson) and Sierra Wireless. Verizon unveiled its 5G plans late last week too, as did T-Mobile USRead more about AT&T’s 5G plans here.
  • The enterprise wireless local area network (WLAN) market grew revenues by 10.3% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2020 to reach $1.86 billion, and grew by 1.9% for the full year 2020 to reach $6.35 billion, according to IDC. “A key driver for the enterprise WLAN market is the rapid emergence of the Wi-Fi 6 standard, also known as 802.11ax. Across the enterprise segment, Wi-Fi 6-enabled dependent access points (APs) made up 43.7% of revenues, up from 39.9% of revenues in the third quarter of 2020, indicating strong continued adoption of the newest WLAN standard,” noted IDC in this announcement. Cisco is the enterprise WLAN market leader, with a 42.7% global share in 2020, followed by HPE-Aruba with 13.5%. Ubiquiti, Huawei and CommScope took the next three rankings. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

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