What’s up with… Center3, Swisscom and Vodafone, NTT Docomo

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Dec 22, 2023

Source: CMC Networks

Source: CMC Networks

  • STC unit center3 acquires CMC Networks
  • Swisscom also eyes up Vodafone Italia
  • NTT Docomo Ventures invests in blockchain specialist

In today’s industry news roundup: STC’s center3 division expands across the Middle East and Africa with the acquisition of CMC Networks; Swisscom might rival Iliad’s bid for Vodafone Italia; NTT Docomo Ventures invests in Web3 startup Blocksmith; and happy holidays!

In a bid to boost its presence in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), center3, the datacentre and international connectivity division of Saudi operator STC, has acquired CMC Networks, which provides connectivity, security and cloud services to large enterprises, governments and other service providers in more than 60 countries in the MEA region, for an undisclosed sum. The move “represents a significant step in the company’s journey to extend its market presence and enhance its offerings in this dynamic and rapidly growing region,” noted center3 in this announcement. Fahad AlHajeri, center3’s CEO, noted: “This acquisition is a landmark moment for center3. CMC’s enviable global footprint, high-value customer base and portfolio of capabilities is very complementary to center3’s digital infrastructure and connectivity assets. This acquisition exemplifies our strategic commitment to enter key markets with significant growth potential. Our previous investment in 2Africa Cable, coupled with this acquisition, underscores our conviction in Africa’s essential role in center3’s future growth. We are excited about the possibilities that CMC Networks will bring, including its wealth of knowledge, capability in the African region and promising growth in the Middle East.”

Iliad might have a rival bidder for Vodafone Italia… Only days after Iliad announced it had proposed a merger of its Italian operation with that of Vodafone, Bloomberg reported that Swisscom might enter the fray in the new year. Like Iliad, Swisscom already plays a role in the Italian communications services market through its 100% ownership of fixed broadband network operator Fastweb, which it would seek to combine with Vodafone Italia if a merger or acquisition proposal was made. Fastweb was linked to a potential bid for Vodafone Italia in November.  

NTT Docomo Ventures, the investment arm of the Japanese mobile giant, is participating in an angel round of funding for Web3 startup Blocksmith, which will work with NTT Docomo on the development of blockchain-based services. “Currently, blockchain services still lack general awareness, making it a challenge to reach a wide user base,” noted Blocksmith in this announcement. “With the participation of NTT Docomo Ventures, Blocksmith and the NTT Docomo Group will strengthen their cooperation and work together to achieve Web3 mass adoption through the realisation of synergies between the two companies. Blocksmith is also working on the development of its own Facial Recognition Web3 Wallet (patent pending), and by collaborating with the NTT Docomo Group, the company will promote the development and implementation of a more convenient and secure Web3 Wallet and enhanced security for blockchain games,” the startup added. 

Speculation continues to swirl around the future ownership of Altice Portugal, which is up for grabs as Patrick Drahi’s Altice group looks to offload assets and pay down some of its giant $60bn debt pile. Saudi telco giant STC has already been linked to an offer of more than €7bn and now private equity firm Warburg Pincus has been identified as an interested party, with the Financial Times reporting it has teamed up with Antonio Horta-Osorio, the former chair of Credit Suisse, for a bid valued at more than €6bn. 

This is the final roundup of industry news updates for 2023:  The TelecomTV team wishes you and your loved ones a very happy and peaceful holiday season and we’ll be back with the first ‘What’s up with’ telecom sector compendium on 2 January 2024.  

- The staff, TelecomTV

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