What’s up with… FTTH gear sales, Adtran, BICS and Thales

  • Broadband equipment sales are through the roof
  • Adtran boasts new deals in UK
  • BICS and Thales team up for easier eSIM activation

In today’s industry news roundup: Global spending on broadband equipment leaped by 12% in the second quarter of this year, according to Dell’Oro; Adtran announces two new FTTX deals in the UK; BICS and Thales team up to make eSIM activation in the IoT sector easier; and much more!

Global spending on broadband access equipment (FTTx, DSL and cable broadband products) ramped by 12% year on year in the second quarter of 2022 to $4.5bn, driven largely by the increasing levels of spending by network operators on passive optical networking (PON) systems, according to research house Dell’Oro Group. “Operators in Europe, China, and south-east Asia increased their spending on PON equipment, offsetting some seasonal slowness in North America,” noted Jeff Heynen, Dell’Oro’s vice president of broadband access and home networking. “The transition to fibre is clearly a worldwide phenomenon, no longer isolated to just a handful of countries,” he added. Read more

One of the beneficiaries of that uptick is broadband access equipment vendor Adtran, which last month reported a 20% year-on-year increase in its second-quarter revenues to $172m, with CEO Tom Stanton citing “growing demand for our fibre broadband platforms”. And the demand just keeps on coming it seems, as the vendor has today announced two deals in the UK: one with wholesale fibre access network operator ITS and another with Scottish operator Lothian Broadband.  

BICS is making a significant stride towards broader adoption of the embedded SIM (eSIM). The mobile connectivity provider has unveiled a partnership with French tech giant Thales which, the companies believe, will remove barriers to eSIM adoption within internet of things (IoT) devices. According to BICS, enterprises have been struggling to use eSIMs for devices such as smart meters and smart appliances because of “the level of integration required with mobile operators”. To tackle this, the two companies have developed “a pioneering eSIM activation solution” that allows the eSIM to connect directly to an operator’s remote SIM provisioning platform. BICS stated the approach makes logistics, manufacturing and installation simpler than ever, while enterprises developing IoT-connected devices “can now integrate eSIMs with far less investment, effort and deployment time”. Thierry Uguen, head of product portfolio management IoT at Thales, argued the new solution serves as “a major turning point in the industry” that “drastically” optimises the costs and efforts needed to manage the SIM profiles on IoT devices. According to BICS’ head of M2M/IoT Business, Luc Vidal-Madjar, the move will result in “far broader adoption” of eSIM and will bring massive IoT a step “closer to becoming a reality”. Vidal previously told TelecomTV that eSIM (alongside the next generation of subscriber ID technology, iSIM) plays a key role in the deployment of massive IoT solutions – see How eSIM and iSIM will play a critical role in massive IoT adoption.

Swedish vendor Ericsson brought in several collaborators to boost the use of 5G for drone operations in agriculture. It partnered with the Aerial Experimentation and Research Platform for Advanced Wireless (AERPAW), which is funded by the US National Science Foundation, and a consortium of industry players, for a demonstration in which a drone used a connected camera and local compute capacity to monitor a field of cattle, providing insights on grazing patterns. The footage was streamed over a 5G connection using mid-band spectrum (3.4GHz) and, according to the vendor, speeds exceeded 100Mbit/s in the uplink and 450Mbit/s in the downlink. Potential use cases include animal tracking, delivery of supplies for commercial use and improved air traffic control. Find out more from Ericsson’s statement here.

Data and analytics company GlobalData warned of a risk for “greenwashing” and “futurewashing” when technology and telecoms companies set sustainability goals that are many years ahead. “A target is well and good, but having regular proof-of-progress timestamps towards these goals is the only way to provide credibility on sustainability,” commented Robert Pritchard, senior analyst at GlobalData. According to a study by the company, players in the sector are being “net-zero heroes… by making sustainability an operational priority”. Pritchard added: “Further, sustainability is being productised within these industries, and used as a differentiator in the market. It is not a choice between saving money or saving the planet – it is both. It’s a key tenet of doing business with these customers.” See more.

The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union has broadly upheld the €4.34bn fine levied against Google by the European Commission in July 2018 for breaching antitrust rules. At that time, the commission decided Google had “imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search,” a decision against which Google appealed. The court noted that it “largely confirms the Commission’s decision that Google imposed unlawful restrictions on manufacturers of Android mobile devices and mobile network operators in order to consolidate the dominant position of its search engine,” but that “in order better to reflect the gravity and duration of the infringement, the General Court considers it appropriate however to impose a fine of €4.125bn on Google, its reasoning differing in certain respects from that of the Commission.” For the full court reasoning, see this announcement

At a special meeting held on Tuesday, Twitter's shareholders voted in favour of the $44bn takeover deal tabled earlier this year by billionaire businessman Elon Musk who, as most readers of this newsletter will know, is no longer keen to complete the transaction. With Twitter's shareholders keen on the deal, the decision as to whether or not the takeover will go ahead now rests in the hands of the courts: The Delaware Court of Chancery is set to host a trial in October following the Twitter board's decision to file a lawsuit against Musk's organisation and hold him "accountable to his contractual obligations".   

US finance sector regulator the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged VMware for “misleading investors about its order backlog management practices, which enabled the Palo Alto, California-based technology company to push revenue into future quarters by delaying product deliveries to customers, concealing the company’s slowing performance relative to its projections”. In a public statement about the case, the SEC noted that “beginning in fiscal year 2019, VMware began delaying the delivery of licence keys on some sales orders until just after quarter-end so that it could recognise revenue from the corresponding licence sales in the following quarter”, a practice that is “incompatible with an issuer’s disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws". While the SEC concluded that “VMware violated antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 as well as certain reporting provisions of the federal securities laws”, it has allowed VMware to agree to a “cease-and-desist order and to pay an $8m penalty”, while not having to either admit or deny the SEC’s charges, which all seems rather strange given that VMware generates annual revenues of more than $13bn. VMware noted that the “SEC’s findings do not include any findings that the company failed to comply with generally accepted accounting principles. The SEC Staff has confirmed that it does not intend to recommend enforcement action against any current or former VMware officers or other members of management in connection with the investigation, and this settlement concludes the matter.”  

US consumers are holding on to their smartphones for longer than ever, with the average age of devices processed through trade-in and upgrade programmes exceeding three and a half years for the first time, according to a study by business services firm Assurant. Some “$767m was returned to US consumers in Q2 of 2022 through mobile device trade-in programs, which is a 34% increase from the same quarter last year, even as consumers hold on to their devices for a longer time,” according to the research. Read more

- The staff, TelecomTV

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