What’s up with… Samsung & Arm, Telefónica, Qualcomm

  • Samsung and Arm team up on 6G R&D
  • Spanish state investor now holds a 10% stake in Telefónica 
  • Qualcomm’s NPUs power Microsoft’s AI PCs

In today’s industry news roundup: Samsung and Arm are collaborating on the development of parallel packet processing technology; SEPI hits its targeted 10% stake in Telefónica, surpassing STC’s 9.9% holding; Qualcomm scores an AI chip coup; and much more!

Samsung and chip developer Arm have teamed up on the development of parallel packet processing technology, focused on the single instruction/multiple data (SIMD) method, that the companies believe will be critical to 6G. As part of the collaboration, Samsung Research plans to launch an open-source project with Arm to “jointly develop and refine parallel packet processing technology.” Samsung noted in this announcement: “Since this technology processes vast quantities of communication data, Samsung’s work with Arm aims to significantly accelerate the research and development timeline ahead of the surge of data driven by 6G environments. With the growth of data in the next generation [of] communication, parallel packet processing technology can contribute to the establishment of flexible and efficient communication systems.” Jinguk Jeong, executive vice president at Samsung Research’s Advanced Communications Research Center (ACRC), noted: “In 6G communications, the importance of software technology is increasing. Innovation is crucial in handling the massive amounts of data that result from this. This technical partnership with Arm is a significant step towards revolutionising parallel technology.” Mohamed Awad, senior vice president and general manager of the infrastructure line of business at Arm, added: “AI is fueling the demand for next-generation technologies like 6G, but the insatiable amount of data creates a vital need for power-efficient processing. We are leveraging our expertise in high-performance, low-power and flexible computing by collaborating with Samsung Research to accelerate the 6G software development and enable the AI infrastructure to run as efficiently as possible.”

Still with Samsung… the vendor has named Young Hyun Jun as the new head of its device solutions (DS) division to lead the semiconductor business and “strengthen its competitiveness amid an uncertain global business environment.” Jun, who has been with the company since 2000, has worked his way up through various tech development and strategic marketing roles before being made head of the Future Business Division this year. President Kyehyun Kyung, who has been leading the DS Division, will become the head of the Future Business Division as well as the head of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT). “He is expected to focus on finding new growth opportunities based on his experience leading the semiconductor business,” noted the vendor in this announcement.  

Spanish state investor Sociedad Estatal de Participaciones Industriales (SEPI) has reached its targeted investment in Telefónica and now holds 10% of the national telco share capital. In this announcement, SEPI stated it has acquired just over 567 million shares at an average price of €4.0295. “The operation has been carried out [while] minimising the impact on the price and complying with the communications of significant holdings established in the regulations of the markets where it operates,” noted the investor. It added: “Telefónica is one of the main companies in the country, a leader in the telecommunications sector and key in other strategic areas. The company is decisive due to its industrial capabilities and areas of knowledge, since it develops activities relevant to the economy and the productive fabric, including those related to security and defence. With a vocation for permanence, SEPI’s participation provides greater shareholder stability to the company to achieve its objectives and contributes to the protection of its strategic capabilities.” SEPI built up its stake in Telefónica as a defensive measure after Saudi telco group STC acquired a 9.9% stake in Telefónica in September 2023 to become the Spanish telco’s top shareholder.

Qualcomm is crowing that its Snapdragon X Elite and Snapdragon X Plus chips are are “powering the launch of a new category of devices delivering Microsoft Copilot+ PC experiences.” The PCs in question boast “multiple days of battery life, unparalleled performance plus efficiency to accelerate productivity and creativity with unique AI experiences powered by the world’s fastest NPU [neural processing unit] for laptops at 45 TOPS [trillions of operations per second] and leading performance per watt.” As CNET reports, this isn’t the first time Microsoft and Qualcomm have teamed up to try to tempt consumers into buying new laptops but this time they might just succeed. In addition, the announcement puts Qualcomm at the top of the NPU pile, as Intel and AMD have yet to launch chips that can match Qualcomm’s capabilities. Read more

Keep an eye out for developments and announcements from the AI Seoul Summit, the meeting co-hosted by South Korea and the UK that follows on from the AI Safety Summit that was held in the UK at the beginning of last November which, in turn, led to an AI safety pact between the UK and the US. The Seoul Summit is expected to yield an international agreement on AI safety to be signed by South Korea, the UK, the US, the European Union, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Singapore. In the meantime, here are some thoughts (and self-promotional plugs) from Google’s DeepMind on what impact such summits and international agreements can have on AI developments. 

Orange and Vodacom, two of the biggest network operators in Africa, are in discussions about the potential of sharing infrastructure assets to help minimise costs, according to a report from Bloomberg. A spokesperson for Vodacom, which is part of the Vodafone Group, told online news outlet Tech Labari that the pan-African operator was seeking partnerships with other operators and investors to help “alleviate the costs of rollout and rural connectivity.”  

 - The staff, TelecomTV

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