What’s up with… Musk and Twitter, UK & India, Rakuten Mobile
- Elon Musk calls Twitter’s bluff
- UK and India to collaborate on 5G, edge et al
- Rakuten Mobile checks out digital twins
In today's news roundup: Musk shows his financial firepower to tease Twitter's board; The UK and India agree to check out some tech stuff; and Rakuten Mobile delves into the interesting world of digital twins.
Elon Musk says he has financial commitments from multiple parties to the value of $46.5 billion to fund his proposed acquisition, at $54.20 per share, of the Twitter stock he doesn’t already own (he currently holds a 9.1% stake). In an SEC filing dated 21 April, Musk notes he hasn’t received a response to his acquisition offer made on 13 April and that “given the lack of response by Twitter, the Reporting Person [Musk] is exploring whether to commence a tender offer to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Common Stock” as well as any new stock issued under the ‘Poison Pill’ rights issue the Twitter board implemented late last week in an effort to deter the world’s richest person from attempting an unwelcome takeover. But he also adds that, while pondering a tender offer for the shares he doesn’t own, he “has not determined whether to do so at this time.” Investors aren’t yet sure what to make of the move, as Twitter’s share price is still hovering around the $47 mark, some way short of Musk’s potential offer.
The UK and India have announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on information sharing and R&D efforts related to policy, standards, spectrum management, security and other “areas of common interest” related in particular to 5G, IoT, AI, cloud and analytics developments. The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and India’s Department of Telecommunications (DoT) are to form a Joint Working Group to figure out exactly what to do during the initial five years covered by the MoU: Somewhat surprising is the lack of reference in the MoU document to Open RAN, given that the DCMS and India are both very bullish about the prospects for disaggregated radio access network rollouts. The timing of the MoU announcement coincides with a visit to India by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will likely be glad of some time abroad given the pressure he has brought upon himself, and is part of a broad range of agreements and announcements between the two countries, including news that satellite operator OneWeb, which includes the UK government and Bharti Airtel among its investors, will launch its satellites from India following its decision in early March to effectively bar itself from lofting any more of its constellation on Russian Soyuz rockets from the Baikonur launch centre in Kazakhstan. And Russia is due to crop up in the conversations between Johnson and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi: India is a major trading partner of Russia and is one of the few countries that has held back from full condemnation of Russia’s ongoing assault in Ukraine, having abstained on a United Nations motion in early March condemning Russia’s attempted invasion of Ukraine. The UK Prime Minister has already briefed journalists en route to India about the nature of the planned talks and how they won’t involve any concerted effort to persuade Modi to shift his stance on Russia. Instead he will focus more on trade agreements, some of which were unveiled in a UK government announcement made to coincide with Johnson’s visit, in which telecoms got a namecheck as part of some broader hyperbole: ”I see vast possibilities for what our two great nations can achieve together. From next-generation 5G telecoms and AI to new partnerships in health research and renewable energy – the UK and India are leading the world,” are just some of the words attributed to the UK Prime Minister in this announcement.
Rakuten Mobile has struck a deal with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) to carry out collaborative research into digital twins and their applications in validating mobile networks. “Rakuten Mobile aims to create a fully autonomous network that uses an evolutionary-based approach for the creation, validation and application of logic within the network. This approach requires large amounts of data and a highly adaptive testing environment, neither of which is compatible with traditional methods of verification. However digital twins, which can be realized in a hybrid form by combining tools, such as simulations and testbeds, in order to exhibit features of an actual network, provide a compatible verification method for testing autonomous networks,” notes the operator in this announcement.
The consortium of TIM S.A., the Brazilian operation of Telecom Italia, together with Telefônica Brasil S.A. (VIVO) and Claro S.A., has completed the acquisition of Oi Group’s mobile assets. The total value of the acquisition was 16.5 billion reais (US$3.6 billion), of which TIM paid about 7 billion reais (US$1.51 billion) for customers, spectrum and mobile tower sites. The details of what TIM S.A. is getting can be found in this announcement from December 2020, when the consortium’s bid was accepted.
Orange Polska has launched today an Orange 5G Lab at its Warsaw headquarters. The Warsaw facility is the latest in a growing number of similar facilities that Orange has opened across Europe: Orange 5G Lab already operates in Belgium, France and Romania. “5G will be a very significant boost that will enable further development and dynamic digitization of the Polish economy. We are already actively involved in this process, setting up the first campus networks together with our customers today,” noted Julien Ducarroz, CEO of Orange Polska. “Orange 5G Lab is a place where we develop and test solutions using the 5G technology, also in cooperation with startups, and present innovative solutions to business, so that we can launch new services as soon as possible after the frequencies necessary to build 5G in Poland are made available, for which we are still waiting,” added Ducarroz. The Warsaw 5G Lab presents solutions and services in the field of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), video analytics based on artificial intelligence (AI), real-time monitoring of resources, critical communications such as PTT/PTV (Push to Talk, Push to Video), autonomous mobile robots, and drones, all operating in the 3.6 GHz target frequency for 5G, which has been made available for testing by consent of the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE). Orange Polska says the lab network runs at 850 Mbit/s.
Test and measurement specialist Viavi has been selected by Rakuten Symphony, the Open RAN-focused vendor spin-out from Japanese mobile operator Rakuten Mobile, to “validate performance of its solutions from the lab to the field” in a special testbed. “The principal objective of this testbed is to maximize resolution of any issues in the lab in order to accelerate deployment at scale, and it has been designed to simulate a citywide network,” notes Viavi in this press release.
The industry event sector continues to be disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as the GSMA has just shelved its upcoming MWC Shanghai 2022 show. “The GSMA would like to express its regret at the postponement of MWC Shanghai 2022, originally scheduled for 29 June – 1 July 2022. Global circumstances remain dynamic, and with the evolving pandemic and measures in Shanghai, our industry stakeholders and partners cannot continue confidently in their preparation for the event.” Read more.
Sweden-based operator Tele2 recorded “significant progress” in Q1 despite what it dubs a “very complicated external environment” stemming from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Despite noting “major uncertainty” particularly for its employees and customers in the Baltics, the company’s president and CEO Kjell Johnsen remained bullish about the operator’s future and “delivering on our aim of being the leading telco in the Nordic and Baltic region”. Tele2 reported a 2% year-over-year increase in total revenue to SEK6.7 billion (approximately $707 million), and end-user service revenue in particular rose 3% to SEK4.9 billion over strong performance in the Baltics, Sweden B2B and “slight tailwind from roaming”. The recent sale of its stake in T-Mobile Netherlands also offered a boost, resulting in net profit increase by SEK1.6 billion to SEK2.5 billion. Find out more here.
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