What’s up with… Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile US, NTT Docomo

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Nov 8, 2022

  • Deutsche Telekom puts a digital spin on its enterprise services revamp
  • T-Mobile US is reportedly scouting for fibre broadband rollout partners
  • NTT Docomo plunges into the Web3 pool

In today’s industry news roundup: Deutsche Telekom unveils a new enterprise services strategy focused on digital services that gives T-Systems a new, challenging role; T-Mobile US is believed to be hunting for fibre access network rollout partners; Japanese giant NTT Docomo is going all in on blockchain; and more!

Deutsche Telekom has very firmly pinned the ‘digital service provider’ badge to its own lapel with a new strategy which, the operator claims, puts T-Systems, the enterprise-focused division that was believed to have been under review last year, at the heart of its plans for business customers. And the messaging for its new strategy also shows just how focused the telecom sector is becoming on being local champions and proud of it. “The digital world is changing. Telecommunications companies that have not nurtured their digital skills have fallen behind in the B2B market,” noted the operator’s CEO, Tim Höttges. “We believe in digitalisation 'Made in Germany'," he added. As part of the new approach, the operator’s domestic business, Telekom Deutschland, is creating a new unit to focus on “end-to-end digital solutions and platforms” that will provide connectivity and associated services, such as IoT and security, along with integration and support services, initially for the SME sector but, ultimately, for a broader enterprise customer base. T-Systems will transfer its multimedia solutions (MMS) digital services unit, including its 1,700 staff, to Telekom Deutschland next year as part of the new plan. T-Systems will then become what DT describes as a “vertically focused IT service provider for advisory services, cloud services and digital solutions, with security built-in” with “portfolio units… set up in an entrepreneurial way to fully exploit their business potential” under the T-Systems brand. “The units are focused on scaling their businesses, addressing inefficiencies, and accelerating growth,” notes DT, which sounds like they are being given the chance to thrive or, if failing to meet their business targets, being axed without taking the other portfolio units down. This sounds like crunch time for T-Systems. Read more.  

US operator T-Mobile is reportedly exploring ways to build its own fibre network, with options under consideration including the creation of a joint venture (JV) or sealing a partnership. According to Bloomberg, the so-called ‘Un-carrier’ is working with Citigroup to find suitable partners with which to build the network, as the move would require heavy investments of several billion dollars. If it opts for a JV, this could be worth $4bn, according to the media outlet, but there is no guarantee of any deal as of yet as talks are still in a preliminary phase. T-Mobile differs from its rivals in the US, AT&T and Verizon, both of which have their own fibre networks. If the company proceeds with such a move, it could take advantage of the $100bn plan by the government to fund broadband network infrastructure extension and development before the end of the decade – see Biden's "New Deal" to provide high-speed broadband to every US citizen by 2029. According to Bloomberg, T-Mobile debuted a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) pilot in New York City last year and it has been looking to partner with cable and other network operators.

Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo looks eager to become a leader in the Web3 field (also known as decentralised internet or a new iteration of the web driven by blockchain technology). Local newspaper Nikkei reported that the company plans to invest ¥600bn ($4.1bn) to develop Web3-related infrastructure and services based on blockchain. The telco will also reportedly create a dedicated company in fiscal year 2023 for the purpose. In a separate announcement, the company today unveiled a partnership with Accenture to advance the global adoption and application of Web3 to address social issues. The pair will join forces in promoting environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, such as those related to regional development. They will also create “a secure technology platform for Web3” as a space where people can use new technologies “easily and safely”. Additionally, NTT Docomo and Accenture will offer training courses for anyone interested in working in the Web3 field. In its announcement, NTT Docomo noted that Web3 is already being used in its home market to meet societal challenges, such as helping to streamline the carbon credit markets as a means to addressing climate change.

Six Asian telcos have joined forces to build a $300m submarine fibre optic cable system connecting South-east Asia. A consortium has been created, co-led by Singaporean telco Singtel and China Telecom Global, which are joined by China Telecommunications Corporation, Philippine telcos Globe and DITO, and Brunei’s Unified National Networks. The 6,000km-long undersea cable system, known as the Asia Link Cable System (ALC), will connect Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei and the Chinese province of Hainan. The project is expected to be finalised by the third quarter of 2025, when it is set to support the region’s economic growth plan. The ALS will be open by design to “reduce the dependency on any single provider consortium partner and enable timely capacity upgrades to cater to evolving carrier requirements,” noted Singtel in a statement announcing the move. According to the company, the system will be able to transmit up to 18Tbit/s per fibre pair, which is equivalent to downloading more than 2,500 hours of ultra-high-definition video per second. The cable system is deemed especially necessary in the future as the digital economy in South-east Asia is expected to reach $363bn by 2025, driven by increasing demand for faster connectivity speeds. See more.

As the world’s political elite gathers in Egypt to discuss the planet’s most pressing issues of environmental pollution and climate change as part of this year’s United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP27), some telcos used the opportunity to highlight their sustainability efforts and urge greater action. Swedish telco Telia issued a call to action to its suppliers, asking them to set targets that match the “ambition level that is congruent with science”. In essence, the appeal is for these targets to cover about 50% of Telia’s supply chain emissions that are currently not set under science-based targets. “The latest science is clear: Action cannot be postponed. We are, therefore, requesting our suppliers to set science-based targets, to secure management commitments in our supplier base, ambitious action plans and improved climate data,” said Michaela Mayrhofer, Telia’s chief procurement officer. To accelerate change, the company has also shared support tools and materials with its suppliers. Being a principal partner for the COP27 through its Egyptian unit, Vodafone has been focusing on demonstrating how digital technologies can address the climate crisis, improve energy efficiency, promote a circular economy, and help secure food. In a blog, the CEO of Vodafone UK, Ahmed Essam, pointed to 5G, IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) as technologies that can help the company’s partners and suppliers reduce their carbon footprints. “Our research has shown that these technologies could help the UK reduce its carbon emissions by 4% a year, particularly in the agriculture, manufacturing and transport sectors. In fact, we estimate that since 2020, we’ve already saved our business customers 22.7 million tonnes of CO2e [carbon dioxide emissions] globally through our IoT services, including logistics, fleet management and smart metering,” he explained. The group aims to help its enterprise customers avoid 350 million tonnes of CO2e globally by 2030.

Iliad’s owner, Xavier Niel, has been building his telecom empire in Europe in recent years, expanding from France into Italy and Poland in particular, but he has also turned his fiscal eye to Latin America, where Niel’s Atlas Investissement unit has acquired a 7% stake in Millicom, the operator that has been restructuring its portfolio to focus on high-growth opportunities in the region and recently reported impressive third-quarter financials. “Atlas Investissement has identified Millicom as an attractive investment opportunity thanks to its strong position as a regional market leader in Latin America, high-quality assets and strong brand,” noted the unit. “Millicom has also demonstrated a long-term commitment to the region with its significant investments which will support digital development for the population and the economy as well as the achievement of the group’s ambitious ESG targets. Atlas Investissement is supportive of the strategy Millicom presented in February 2022 and its Board and management team. The team has shown a solid track record of execution, including the full exit of its African operations and the development of its Fintech activity Tigo Money.” Atlas Investissement also recently acquired a 2.5% stake in Vodafone

Pan-African network operator Liquid Networks has struck a channel partner agreement with major wireless networking infrastructure vendor Nokia in an effort to become a mover and shaker in the 4G and 5G private networks sector across the continent. As part of the relationship, Liquid Networks will “market, distribute and service Nokia’s product line of its NDAC (Nokia Digital Automation Cloud) solution portfolio consisting of Nokia 4G and 5G radio access equipment and Nokia’s NDAC Core Solution for onsite campus deployments,” the operator noted. Nokia is, of course, one of the leaders in the private 4G/5G network systems market, boasting more than 480 deals and deployments, which makes it an attractive and experienced partner. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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