What’s up with… Vantage Towers, ETSI, Dish

  • Vodafone’s Vantage Towers eyes post-IPO M&A
  • ETSI unveils cloud native VNF management specs
  • Dish hands princely deal to Crown Castle

Growing excitement in Europe’s mobile towers market, ETSI specs for managing containers in an NFV framework and another step towards Dish’s Open RAN 5G network are at the front of this long news queue.

Vantage Towers, Vodafone’s towers unit, has reported its standalone financial performance ahead of its planned IPO, for which details have not yet been shared. Vantage, which has 68,000 towers and a further 7,100 builds planned, generated earnings before taxes and other one-time items of €267 million in the first six months of the current financial year (to 30 September) and has big plans once it has listed on the Frankfurt stock exchange next year, having built up a warchest of €1 billion for potential acquisitions. Vivek Badrinath, CEO of Vantage Towers, noted in this extensive overview of the business, “With inflation-linked revenue – secured for the long term – from Europe’s leading mobile operator Vodafone and other high-quality investment-grade tenants, and a strong balance sheet, we have a powerful base from which to capture exciting organic and inorganic value accretive growth opportunities.” Soon, Cellnex might not be the only European towers company on a hot M&A streak

ETSI’s Network Functions Virtualization Industry Specification Group (NFV ISG) has published its first specification “enabling containerized VNFs to be managed in an NFV framework.” The ETSI GS NFV-IFA 040 “specifies requirements for service interfaces and an object model for OS (Operating System) container management and orchestration.” Get further details in this ETSI press release

Dish Network took another important step in its journey to becoming the US market’s first Open RAN-based 5G network operator by striking a long-term agreement with mobile towers specialist Crown Castle. Dish, which is committed to reaching 70% of the US population with its 5G service by June 2023, will lease space on up to 20,000 of Crown Castle’s communications towers, about half of the tower company’s footprint. Dish will also take fibre transport services from Crown Castle, and may also use the tower firm for “pre-construction services.” Financial terms were not revealed. Now Dish watchers will wait to see if it strikes a similar deal with Crown Castle’s closest US rival, American Tower. For more details on the Dish deal with Crown Castle, see this announcement

Huawei has confirmed the sale of its Honor smartphone unit, in which it no longer holds any stake, reports the BBC. For more on the background to this move see this TelecomTV story from last week.

Cisco is buying Hungarian cloud native application developer Banzai Cloud for an undisclosed sum. Banzai has “demonstrated experience with complete end-to-end cloud-native application development, deployment, runtime and security workflows,” and has “built and deployed software tools that solve critical real-world pain points and are active participants in the open-source community as sponsors, contributors and maintainers of several open-source projects.” Last month Cisco acquired Portshift, a cloud-native security company based in Tel Aviv. For more on the Banzai deal, read this blog.

Remember the dreaded deep-pocketed ‘activist investor’ hedge fund, Elliott, which sunk $3.2 billion into AT&T shares in 2019 on the belief that if it backed out of its DSP strategy by divesting assets like DirecTV, then it could add around $60 to the share price by 2021? Reuters reports that Elliott has now backed out of AT&T, selling 5 million AT&T shares during the quarter ending September 30, according to filings.

VMware has unveiled what it calls its Modern Network framework that focuses on the needs of applications rather than on the capabilities of network elements. VMware says its Virtual Cloud Network solution “embodies” the framework. For more, check out this announcement.

Verizon Business and Apple are cooking up some specific services and offers for business customers: They plan to hold an event for enterprises on Thursday 19 November that “will showcase how business customers can use the new iPhone 12 lineup and Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband to power innovative solutions for industries like manufacturing, field service and healthcare. Business customers using new iPhone 12 models on Verizon’s 5G network have the potential to unlock new experiences with apps that will take advantage of the unprecedented speed, massive capacity and ultra low lag time Verizon 5G can offer,” with augmented reality and machine learning highlighted as application enablers. Anyone interested should sign up for the digital session at this link.

Swisscom has selected Nokia as its exclusive provider of 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) customer premises equipment (CPE) technology, which the operator will use to provide broadband access services in rural areas. Read more.

Norwegian optical components specialist Smartoptics has unveiled the DCP-R family of DWDM ROADMs designed for flexible open line systems. “The ROADMs are designed for use of the new PAM4 and 400ZR traffic formats mixed with legacy protocols, such as Ethernet and Fibre Channel, thereby greatly simplifying optical network planning and service flexibility in edge and metro/regional networks,” notes Smartoptics in this press release.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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