What’s up with… Arm, Intel, VEON

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Mar 15, 2022

  • Arm preps major job cuts
  • Intel starts to splash its cash (€33 billion!) in Europe
  • VEON goes on the defensive

Looming job losses at Arm, Intel’s initial European investment details and VEON’s reaction to its downgrades take the pole positions on today’s news grid.  

Arm’s staff appear to be paying the price for the recent collapse of the chip design specialist’s planned $66 billion acquisition by NVIDIA, as hundreds of Arm employees look set to be made redundant ahead of a planned IPO of the UK company by current owner Softbank. Arm issued the following statement on Tuesday: “Like any business, Arm is continually reviewing its business plan to ensure the company has the right balance between opportunities and cost discipline. Unfortunately, this process includes proposed redundancies across Arm’s global workforce. If the proposals go ahead, we anticipate that around 12-15% percent of people in Arm would be affected globally.” Arm currently has about 6,400 staff, so the planned cuts would put between 770 and 960 employees out of work. Let’s hope, at the very least, they each get a sizeable redundancy cheque, especially as Softbank pocketed a $1.25 billion break-up payment as a result of the NVIDIA deal falling through. Unfortunately, that’s often not how the world works.  

Intel has started to provide details of how it will ramp up its presence in Europe by announcing initial plans to invest more than €33 billion to boost its semiconductor R&D and manufacturing capabilities in the European Union (EU). The move includes pouring €17 billion into a new hub for advanced chipmaking in Germany called a “Silicon Junction.” Construction is set to begin in the first half of 2023 and production is expected by the end of 2027. Intel will also set aside investments into establishing a new R&D and design centre in France, expanding its existing facility in the Republic of Ireland through a €12 billion injection and a potential investment of up to €4.5 billion for a “state-of-the-art back-end manufacturing facility” in Italy. The company will also spend on R&D, manufacturing and foundry services in Poland and Spain. You can find out more about its plans in the region here. The move is part of a broader intention to invest $80 billion in Europe in the next decade. (See Absolutely fab: Intel will pump $80 billion into European chip production.)

VEON, the international operator that has mobile network operations in multiple countries across Asia, Europe and Africa, including Russia (Beeline) and Ukraine (Kyivstar), has reacted to having its credit ratings downgraded by both Fitch and Standard & Poor’s with a letter from the CEO Kaan Terzioğlu that outlines the operator’s financial and legal position. Importantly, VEON is not subject to any current sanctions and has just cleared its outstanding debt to Russia’s state-owned VTB Bank. It did have a board member, Mikhail Fridman, who had sanctions imposed on him by the European Union and he has quit, as has another board member, Robert Jan van de Kraats, who stepped down on 7 March for “personal reasons”. It’s possible he felt uneasy about VEON’s position as a company that has operations in Ukraine but which has not made a direct comment about the country’s invasion by Russia: The only mention in the CEO letter that hints at the current devastation in Ukraine is a reference in the opening lines to “current turbulence” (and even then that looks like a reference to the credit ratings) and a reference later on to how VEON is “taking specific actions and will be doing all that is in our power to protect the safety of our employees and their families affected by the conflict. We continue contributing to humanitarian support across all our countries.” VEON is in a tricky position, of course: It has operations and staff in Russia, where it is now illegal to voice any view that does not chime with that of Vladimir Putin, but it will stick in the craw of many, particularly those that work for Kyivstar, that Terzioğlu has not directly addressed the ongoing human tragedy unfolding in Eastern Europe. For the full VEON statement, see this announcement.      

Here’s a pretty big feather in Mavenir’s cap, given the excitement in the industry about cloud native processes and automation… Mavenir is helping Telefónica Deutschland to automate its processes by introducing “simplified deployment and change management on Core network elements, leveraging a common Zero Touch Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment and Continuous Testing (CI/CD/CT) framework,” according to the vendor. The move will help the German operator with the “adoption of the virtualized Network Functions. Mavenir’s CI/CD/CT framework will allow for creating customized workflows/processes for fast, agile change management” in 4G and 5G networks. “5G requires cloud-native and microservices architecture but brings along more operational complexity in the network,” noted Jochen Bockfeld, Director Common Services, O2 Telefónica Deutschland. "CI/CD/CT based zero-touch deployment and change management is our way to be agile and accelerate time to market. This is a key strategy in the path of automation of our networks to achieve leaner and meaner Operations. Mavenir is a trusted and reliable partner for this journey, given the know-how and the experience we have with them in Core & Cloud projects.” Read more

An outage suffered by satellite broadband operator Viasat that interrupted its service covering Ukraine just as Russia invaded late last month is being investigated by multiple intelligence agencies as a potential cyberattack perpetrated by Russian hackers, according to Reuters.

Deutsche Telekom has ramped up its support for Ukrainians fleeing the invasion by Russia. “The war in Ukraine is a humanitarian disaster. Russia's attack on its neighbouring country means hardship and suffering for the people. In view of this, Deutsche Telekom has made a donation of one million euros to the German Red Cross (DRK),” it noted in this statement. DT is already providing SIM cards with free rates that are distributed to refugees via aid organizations. 

Belgium’s national operator Proximus has also introduced a range of measures to support Ukraine and its people, including giving its staff days off to volunteer for organizations that are supporting Ukraine with their efforts. Read more

Japanese operator NTT Group is also pitching in: It is to donate US$2.5 million to “support humanitarian aid for Ukraine and neighbouring countries where citizens are fleeing. Through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and other organizations, this donation will be utilized to provide urgent support to protect the lives and safety of citizens in Ukraine and neighbouring countries, including the establishment of evacuation centers, distribution of relief goods, and psychological care for children.” Read more

Here’s an interesting take on the current ramp in private 5G networks activity by GlobalData, which suggests that mobile operators were resisting an entry into the market but have now had to “give in” and participate as demand and competition grows. “Seeing operators from around the globe ‘give in’ to private 5G as the solution resonating most with today’s digitally transforming enterprises is notable, given the recent resistance of many of them,” states John Marcus, Principal Analyst at GlobalData. For more, see this GlobalData press release.

The global Service Provider Router and Switch market “rebounded in 2021 and surpassed pre-pandemic revenue levels,” according to research house Dell’Oro Group, with investments in North America leading the worldwide market expansion with “solid double-digit growth.” Cisco regained the market leadership position from Huawei, with Nokia, Juniper and ZTE making up the rest of the top five positions. Read more

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.