What’s up with… BT, Virgin Media O2, Fortinet

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Jul 30, 2021

  • BT builds on its strategic partnership with Microsoft as sales dip
  • Virgin Media O2 to dump DOCSIS, plans all-fibre future
  • Fortinet ramps as security market explodes

BT’s latest developments, a kick in the nether regions for the DOCSIS technology sector and more growth news from the network security sector front up this smörgåsbord of industry news.    

BT has strengthened its relationship with Microsoft by developing a new set of enterprise-focused services with the tech and cloud giant, including branded global managed voice services directly through Microsoft Teams, new managed security services – BT says it will “work closely with Microsoft to develop distinct security propositions to defend customers’ operations across the cloud as well as its own IT estate” – and more. For further details, see this announcement

News of the enhanced relationship came as BT provided a less-than-stellar trading update for the fiscal first quarter that ended 30 June, with revenues down 3% to just over £5 billion (dragged down by weakening business in the enterprise and public sectors). On the plus side, the operator’s semi-autonomous fixed access network division Openreach has continued to roll out its fibre access network infrastructure at pace, and now passes 5 million UK premises. For further details, see this press release.  

Openreach’s efforts are adding to the fibre flurry the UK market is now experiencing, as we noted earlier this week. And not wanting to get left out of the limelight, the UK’s national cable operator Virgin Media O2 (as it now is following the completion of the merger with O2) has announced plans to upgrade the access lines to 14.3 million cable premises from cable access lines powered by DOCSIS technology to PON technology-enabled fibre-to-the-premises lines by 2028: The company already passes 1.2 million premises with fibre thanks to its ongoing Project Lightning development. The operator believes it can pass each premises with fibre for just £100, which is more expensive than an upgrade to DOCSIS 4.0 (from the current DOCSIS 3.1) but would eliminate the need for investment in further DOCSIS generations… that’s the theory anyway! Read more

Fortinet has added to the growing list of network security companies that are benefitting financially from the increased focus on cyber defences: It has just reported a 30% year-on-year increase in second quarter revenues to $801.1 million, and operating income of $147.5 million, up from $118.8 million a year earlier. For more about Fortinet’s ongoing growth, see this press release, and for more on the improving fortunes of the network security vendor sector, see Network security vendors fill their boots.)

The global smartphone market - an important bellwether for the entire sector - has enjoyed a continuing rebound in the second quarter, according to IDC. The sector came in with a 13.2% uptick on shipping volumes and every corner of globe contributed except China, where Huawei has been kneecapped by a lack of new launches, weakened demand and brand decline. That pulled the Chinese smartphone market down 10% compared to Q2 2020. But don’t walk away with the idea that the rebound is all about 5G adoption: “Shipments of 5G devices are on the rise, especially as price points go down, but we continue to believe that consumers are not yet buying specifically for 5G. They are buying because they need a replacement device, and in some cases a first-time smartphone," says IDC program VP,  Ryan Reith, in this press release.

TPG Telecom and Infinera have announced a major technology upgrade of TPG Telecom’s submarine cable connecting Australia and Guam to significantly boost cable capacity and improve reliability leveraging Infinera’s ICE6 800G solution. The cable is a major gateway for North America and other Asia Pacific destinations. It has two fibre pairs spanning approximately 7,000 kilometres, with 78 repeaters spaced approximately 92 kilometres apart. Read more...

One of the UK’s bustling alternative fibre network builders, Community Fibre, says it’s passed 300,000 London homes and 12,000 businesses, following a significant acceleration of its network build programme to connect 1 million homes with its full fibre multi-gigabit capable broadband by 2023. It says that in the past six months, 100,000 additional homes have been connected, a doubling in the rate of build versus the previous 100,000 homes. Read more...

T-Mobile US, which generated revenues of almost $20 billion during the second quarter and ended June with 104.8 million customers, has played down the loss of DISH as a major MVNO customer to AT&Tas announced earlier this month. T-Mobile US President and CEO Mike Sievert switched on his spin button during the operator’s earnings call to note that while the MVNO deal with AT&T may mean that DISH “will move faster than even we anticipated in moving off our network… that will open up some opportunities, as well as some gaps in our financial plan.” The opportunities afforded by the loss of a major revenue-generating customer are, apparently, the opening up of “management attention” – really! – “but more importantly, capacity. And so many things in our plan are predicated on available capacity. Like, for example, home broadband, where we don't think we're going to be so much paced by the demand, we're going to be paced by the available network capacity. So there's an opportunity to go faster… or enterprise share-taking, where our ability to put ambitious offers in front of customers is paced by what available capacity, or ability to bring in new wholesale partners or double-down with our existing ones… ultimately, when we look at it, we're not really that displeased.” Please, let me play poker with this guy!! For more on T-Mobile’s second quarter results and 5G bragging, see this press release

Broadband access equipment vendor Calix, which has just named CEO Carl Russo as its new Chairman, benefitted from ongoing accelerated broadband network investments in the US during the second quarter, reporting higher than expected revenues of $168.7 million (up 42% year-on-year) and net income of $20.5 million compared with a small loss a year ago. For further details, check out the documents available in the investor relations section of the company’s website. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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