What’s up with... Deutsche Telekom, Twitter, Antarctica, Reliance Jio

  • DT seeks fibre investment partners for Austria, Poland
  • Dorsey fin
  • Subsea links head to the south pole
  • Reliance Jio joins the tariff cut club

Further fibre investment moves, a big name resignation in Twitterland, a chilly cable courtesy of Chile, and a FOMO price hike by Jio are at the front of today’s news queue.

Only days after Allianz Capital Partners announced it is pumping €1 billion into a rural fibre broadband access wholesale operation in Austria, Deutsche Telekom is reportedly seeking partners to co-invest in FTTP rollouts in the country, according to Handelsblatt. The report suggests DT will, from the start of 2022, seek a partner willing to invest €150 million in a fibre broadband rollout venture, with the German giant contributing the same level of investment. DT is also exploring the same model for fixed broadband investments in Poland, according to the report. Earlier this month, Deutsche Telekom announced a partnership with IFM Investors for rural broadband rollout in its home market of Germany. (See Deutsche Telekom attracts €900m co-investor for rural fibre rollout.)

In what is likely to cause a leap in post-Thanksgiving social media activity, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has finally given some of his activist investor critics a slice of what they want by stepping down as CEO and handing over the role to current CTO Parag Agrawal. He announced the move by tweeting an image of his letter to Twitter staff with the words: “not sure anyone has heard but, I resigned from Twitter.”  The move prompted responses such as “Even the founder of Twitter has quit Twitter.” #ironic

“There goes the peace and quiet”, mutter the penguins. As if contending with global warming and diminishing ice sheets isn’t enough, Antarctica, the Earth’s last pristine wilderness, is to get its first fibre-optic subsea cable and join the hurly-burly hubris of global social media. The cable, the world’s southernmost, will connect the continent to the rest of the world via Chile. At a meeting held late last week in Punta Arenas, Patagonia, an agreement was signed which, according to the press release, “Reaffirms Chile’s historic commitment to Antarctica.” Gloria Hutt, Chile’s Minister of Transport and Telecommunications, commented: “To bring the first submarine fibre-optic cable [to Antarctica] is a step that reaffirms our leadership position on the continent and our efforts to put the interests of science and the progress of all humanity at the centre. As a government, we are determined to carry out this enormous project and contribute strategically to the concerns of the international community and to expand the development of scientific cooperation.” Other signatories to the agreement were Francisco Moreno from the Undersecretariat of Telecommunications (Subtel) and Jorge Flies from the Regional Government of Magallanes. The initial plan is to drop 1,000 kilometres of submarine cable between Puerto Williams, a town on Navarino Island sited on banks of the Beagle Channel in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, to King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands and the “Gateway to Antarctica.” The island already hosts scientific research bases from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Russia, Peru, Poland, South Korea, Uruguay and the US. Francisco Moreno told the meeting, “We are taking the first step to create an Antarctic digital hub and consolidate Chile’s position as the region’s digital hub.”

As expected, India’s largest mobile operator Reliance Jio has followed in the footsteps of its main rivals, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, by increasing its pre-paid tariffs as part of its “commitment to further strengthen a sustainable telecom industry.” For more on what’s going on with mobile pricing in the country, read our recent article, It's all about the ARPU as pre-paid rates rise in India, and for more on RJio’s announcement, see this press release.  

T-Systems, the tech and IT systems arm of Deutsche Telekom that seemingly has its future ownership status under review by the German telco’s top team, says it has become an AWS Services Premier Consulting Partner, putting it in the ‘premier tier’ of AWS partners. “Premier Consulting Partners must have a successful and proven track record of consulting and supporting the development, architecture, build, migration and operation of their applications on AWS,” notes T-Systems in this announcement. “The successful path began in 2018. By May 2020, T-Systems became part of the AWS Managed Service Provider (‘MSP’) Program. In late 2020 T-Systems added SAP on AWS competency and extended it with the migration competency earlier this year.” Read more.  

Sweden's Financial Supervisory Authority and Environmental Protection Agency wants both the country and the EU to prohibit cryptocurrency mining. The process of “mining” the cryptocurrency demands enormous amounts of computing, and by extension, electrical power. It’s a process that makes the ludicrous pursuit of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) by those with a lot more money than sense appear almost rational by comparison. A NFT is a “unique and non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a digital ledger. NFTs can be associated with easily-reproducible items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files as unique items, and use blockchain technology to give the NFT a public proof of ownership.” Oscar Wilde called fox-hunters, “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”: NFT hunters are the gullible in pursuit of the ethereal. Scandinavia’s plentiful and comparatively inexpensive hydro-electric power makes Sweden, Norway and Iceland extremely attractive to “get rich quick” bitcoin miners who care naught for climate change, renewables, carbon capture or green issues and technologies. Hence the intervention of the two agencies who, in an open letter to the Swedish government, write that the country “needs the renewable energy targeted by crypto-asset producers for the climate transition of our essential services” and calls on both Sweden’s national authorities and the entire EU to impose an outright ban on cryptocurrency mining and make it illegal for anyone to claim that the process is “eco-friendly”. It’s not as if bitcoin miners have nowhere to go. As TelecomTV reported last week, they will be very welcome to up sticks and move to El Salvador to take advantage of limitless volcanic energy bubbling away beneath the mooted “Bitcoin City” that is to be built beneath the highly active Conchagua volcano. Asbestos suits will be provided.

Ronan Dunne, well-known sports fanatic and long-time friend of TelecomTV, has, with effect from 1 January, 2022, been hooked into the role of Chairman of Six Nations Rugby, a new body overseeing the commercial and marketing operations of the Men’s, Women’s and Under-20s Six Nations championships as well as the world-famous Autumn Nations Series. Dunne joined O2 in 2001 as deputy Chief Financial Officer, and in February 2005 was made CFO. Telefónica bought O2 in November 2005 for £18 billion and in January 2008 Ronan Dunne emerged victorious from the scrum to be made CEO. He remained in post until In July 2016, when he left O2 in the aftermath of the maul that followed the failed merger with Hutchison 3G. His 15-year-long career at O2 made him the longest-serving CEO in the history of UK telecoms. In August 2016, Dunne joined the US carrier Verizon Wireless as executive vice president and group president and decamped to New Jersey. Until a couple of weeks ago he was CEO of Verizon Consumer Group but was moved (or shoved onto the sidelines) and into a trying position as “special advisor” to Verizon’s CEO, Hans Vestberg, whom he will have known for many years. He wasn’t quite kicked into touch, but special advisors often move on fairly quickly to play on new turf after being shown a red card and effectively debarred from strategic management roles. The non-executive Chairmanship at Six Nations Rugby may well be indicative that a return to the European line-out is a distinct possibility.

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