What’s up with… KORE, Huawei, McAfee, Telus + DZS

  • KORE boards the SPAC bandwagon
  • Huawei eyes 5G royalties from smartphone makers
  • McAfee unveils cyber espionage campaign targeting telecoms
  • Telus taps DZS for virtualization automation

In a bumper days of news, IoT specialist KORE is to reverse into a public listing, Huawei unveils its 5G device royalty pricing, McAfee uncovers a cyber spying ring, and DZS scores an early win for its recently-acquired telco cloud automation business. 

  • Managed IoT services specialist KORE is the latest company planning to go public on the New York Stock Exchange by merging with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). KORE, which provides IoT services and solutions to more than 3,600 companies worldwide and manages more than 12 million connected devices, is to merge with Cerberus Telecom Acquisition Corp., whose CEO Tim Donahue used to be the Executive Chairman of Sprint Nextel. The merger is set to provide Cerberus/KORE with total proceeds of $484 million and value the company at just over $1 billion. KORE, which expects to generate revenues in its current financial year of $238 million and generate earnings before costs of more than $60 million, expects IoT, eSIM and 5G use cases to present a “massive opportunity” for future growth. 
  • Huawei, which claims to be “the largest technical contributor to 5G standards,” is introducing patent license fees to smartphone manufacturers and will set a “per unit royalty cap at $2.50,” lower than the per-device cap of rivals such as Nokia and Ericsson, which already generate royalty revenues from their 5G standard essential patents (SEPs). Commenting on the move, Jason Ding, Head of Huawei's Intellectual Property Rights Department, said, “we hope that the royalty rate we announced today will increase 5G adoption by giving 5G implementers a more transparent cost structure that will inform their investment decisions moving forward." The move comes as Huawei is expected to face a serious dip in revenues this year from much lower sales of its own smartphones. As CNBC notes, SEP royalties are often the cause of bitter and long legal disputes, and it’s hard to imagine there won’t be some challenges to Huawei, especially as 5G device sales increase. Gartner expects 5G device sales to hit 539 million in 2021, up from 213 million in 2020. 
  • Security giant McAfee says it has identified a cyber espionage campaign that is targeting telecoms companies in South-East Asia, Europe and the US using malware masquerading as Adobe Flash applications that connect to a domain “impersonating a legitimate career site for Huawei. “ McAfee believes “this espionage campaign is aimed at stealing sensitive or secret information in relation to 5G technology,” and notes in this blog that it has “no evidence that the technology company Huawei was knowingly involved in this Campaign.”
  • Canadian operator Telus has selected DZS Cloud End-to-End Orchestration and Automation (E2EO) to “automate the deployment of any slice and any service on any cloud, including brownfield discovery of existing virtual applications.” E2EO is based on software from RIFT, the open source virtualization management specialist acquired by DZS earlier this month. For more on the engagement at Telus, see this press release.
  • French competitive operator Iliad, which is known to its customers by the brand Free, has reported 2020 as a year of “commitment, growth and transformation,” as it increased sales and subscriber numbers and acquired its way into Poland with the purchase of Play. Overall sales went up by more than 10% to €5.87 billion, while earnings before various costs and taxes increased by 18.4% to €1.96 billion. Iliad says it is now the sixth largest operator in Europe, with 42.7 million subscribers (20.1 million in France, 15.4 million in Poland and 7.2 million in Italy). For the full details, see this extensive financial press release.
  • Britain’s cyber-rattling Prime Minister aims to thwart Russia with a plan to boost Britain’s nuclear arsenal and establish a new National Cyber Force, it seems. Ahead of presenting a long-term review of national security strategy in the UK Parliament on Tuesday, Johnson went full Churchill-Trump, extolling the virtues of “cyber” (still using “cyber” as a noun, as did the former US President) and calling for a boost to the country’s capacity to conduct cyber attacks on foreign adversaries. "Cyber power is revolutionizing the way we live our lives and fight our wars, just as air power did 100 years ago [er, we think you’ll find it’s been 80 years, Boris…]. We need to build up our cyber capability so we can grasp the opportunities it presents while ensuring those who seek to use its powers to attack us and our way of life are thwarted at every turn," he thundered. The review also increased the cap on the number of UK nuclear warheads to 260, while the country’s foreign policy focus will shift towards the Indo-Pacific where more thwarting is planned against the "systemic challenge" of China.
  • Qualcomm has completed the acquisition of CPU and technology design company NUVIA for $1.4 billion. “The world-class NUVIA team enhances our CPU roadmap, extending Qualcomm’s leading technology position with the Windows, Android and Chrome ecosystems,” said Cristiano Amon, Qualcomm President and CEO-Elect. “The broad support of this acquisition from across industries validates the opportunity we have to provide differentiated products with leading CPU performance and power efficiency, as on-demand computing increases in the 5G era.” When the deal was announced in January, analyst Richard Windsor noted the acquisition could be as important to Qualcomm as Flarion was 15 years ago.

- The staff, TelecomTV

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