What’s up with… Cellnex and Deutsche Telekom, Singtel and Micron, Nokia and Microsoft

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

May 30, 2022

  • Cellnex confirms DT towers unit bid talks
  • Singtel deploys 5G-enabled industrial edge network for Micron
  • Nokia and Microsoft cosy up at the ‘industrial edge’

Cellnex has confirmed it is sizing up a potential bid for Deutsche Telekom’s towers unit following media reports over the weekend that it has teamed up with Brookfield Asset Management to make an offer that could value the DT business at €20 billion. In a statement requested by the Spanish securities market commission (the CNMV), Cellnex noted that it is participating in the analysis process for the possible acquisition of a stake in the company that operates Deutsche Telekom's telecommunications infrastructure in Germany and Austria. The aforementioned process is in the study phase and, therefore, the terms and conditions of a potential operation (including the valuation) are pending determination.” The unit, which has about 40,000 tower sites on its books, has been on the market and essentially inviting bids for some time, with Deutsche Telekom’s CEO Tim Hoettges publicly stating he’d like to see it merged with a peer rather than just sold outright to the highest bidder. Well, as we pointed out in this analysis of the market, Cellnex is one of the companies that is a decent fit, though it’s not the only one of course. And recent industry speculation suggested there have been multiple companies showing interest. Cellnex is the first to break cover and admit it’s lining up a potential offer - will others follow? 

Singtel has been selected by chip giant Micron Technology to deploy its “5G millimetre wave (mmWave) solutions with localised edge core” at the semiconductor manufacturer’s largest 3D NAND flash memory fabrication plant in Singapore, in a first for Singapore and the chip manufacturing sector. According to the operator, this commercial deployment is the “first time Micron is exploring 5G for Industry 4.0 semiconductor manufacturing – making it the first company in Singapore to deploy mmWave campus solution plus edge core on-premises and operationalise 5G at scale.” In addition, Micron will use Paragon, the operator’s all-in-one platform for 5G network, edge computing and services orchestration, to “conduct real time performance monitoring and feedback.”

Nokia has teamed up with Microsoft to enhance its MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) platform, which has been developed to unlock “the potential of mission critical applications for Industry 4.0 use cases.” As part of the deal, the network vendor will integrate Microsoft Azure Arc into MXIE, which targets enterprise customers across a number of industries, including automotive, manufacturing, energy, logistics and government. Nokia described the tie-up as a “powerful combination” that allows customers to run applications in the cloud or on-site. Increase in worker safety through artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, alongside less need for backhaul with local data processing are highlighted as main benefits. The pair has previously joined forces on developing market-ready 4G and 5G private wireless use cases for enterprises and on use cases of integrating AI into telco networks and delivered over public cloud.

In the US, the 'American Innovation and Choice Online Act' antirust legislation that was introduced in October last year to stop the nation’s largest corporations in general, and Big Tech in particular, from using their domination of the market to keep rivals at bay and applying discriminatory practices to reduce consumer choice, has been tweaked to focus more on Big Tech whilst reducing emphasis on some financial institutions and certain ISPs. Thus, while the revised text of the Bill prohibits “certain discriminatory conduct by covered platforms” it exempts online companies that “transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all internet endpoints.” The bill’s provisions apply only to platforms with “at least” an average of 50 million monthly users, where services are provided by companies with either net annual sales, or a market capitalisation, in excess of US$550 billion and are designated “critical trading partners” for other companies doing business with and over the platform. Such a designation encompasses the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft but excludes big US retailers such as Walmart. The Bill’s progress is slow and tortuous, but when it eventually passes, it will become illegal for Big Tech to “materially harm competition” by prioritising and favouring their own products, services or lines of business over those of rivals, preventing other companies from interoperating with their systems and services or forcing other companies to pay for non-essential products or services from a platform to obtain access to it. It will also outlaw the use of private data acquired from operation of the platform to increase or improve a platform’s own products and services, limiting another company’s ability to compete with offerings on the same platform and enforcing terms of service that vary “unfairly among similarly situated business users”. Together the new provisions would have an immediate effect on the restrictive rules that the likes of Apple and Google impose on their app stores. The new act will be enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the legislatures of various states. However, the amended draft has also watered-down the rates of punishment to be levied for breaking the new law to a maximum of 10 per cent of total US revenue rather than the 15 per cent in the earlier version. Basically. the Bill barks a bit but has little wobbly milk teeth that wouldn’t make much of an impression on a ripe Georgia peach or a soft-boiled egg, or both.

Staying in the US, many companies there that have suffered ransomware attacks still aren’t telling the Feds about it, despite being “strongly advised” to do so. Last week a Senate Homeland Security committee report confirmed in writing what is common knowledge anecdotally: that the vast majority of ransomware attacks and cryptocurrency-based payments continue to go unreported. Despite the fact that they can be, and often are, hit with secondary attacks after stumping up a serious wedge of Bitcoin, many businesses and organisations still prefer to pay and, hopefully, get back up-and-running quickly rather than reporting incidents and entering a state of foggy limbo fenced around by enormous thickets of bureaucratic red tape. The Biden administration says this lack of ransomware data makes it more difficult to “prevent, mitigate and recover from attacks” and, under the terms of a new “cyber-incident reporting mandate” will act further to compel companies to report an attack within 48 hours of it happening. It is estimated that at least 75 per cent of cyber-attacks go unreported and the US authorities are increasingly concerned about the possibility of devastating attacks on vital US networks and fear that the lack of reporting of ransomware incidents could have major cumulative impact by preventing the deployment of effective counter-measures and shutting down incursions. The report attempts to encourage those attacked to report incidents by putting in place a regime and system of agreed, public and standardised compensation payments. It’s a good idea but all will depend on how much Uncle Sam is prepared to shell-out from the public coffers.

ZTE and the Zhejiang Branch of China Telecom have built a “self-adaptive spatiotemporal cognitive network” (try saying that without your teeth in!) The network, based on ZTE’s Radio Composer product, apparently, “improves dynamic user experiences in high-capacity scenarios.” The press release announcing the breakthrough is a classic in the art of using a minimum of ten words when one will do, but, in essence, relates to the real-time intelligent prediction of mobile of comms network traffic distribution to ensure that enough resources, such as power sharing, are available in the right places at the right time to keep users happy and the money rolling in. This is managed by Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) algorithms applied to recurrent neural networks that can learn order dependence in sequence prediction problems. Or, as the press release has it, “Under the collaboration with intelligent user navigation, the network solution matches network resources with traffic distribution more precisely and efficiently through on-demand elastic coverage of two-layer network, adapting to user group flow in space over different time periods. The spatiotemporal cognitive network intelligently predicts traffic distribution in the first place. With the model of intelligent carrier power scaling, real-time user experiences are evaluated according to the blocking rate. When user experiences cannot match service requirements well, with intelligent experience prediction based on the grid knowledge base, the users can be rapidly guided to the targeted grids, ensuring the optimal resource allocation.” So now you know. Zhejiang is a province in eastern China, just south of the massive sprawl of Shanghai. It has a rural interior and urban centre along the coast of the East China Sea. The population is approaching 60 million. The press release concludes, “Zhejiang Branch of China Telecom and ZTE will keep innovating together to provide superb network performance and boost digital transformation.” Goes without saying really, doesn’t it?

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