What’s up with… Proximus, DT & LotusFlare, Telecom Egypt & 4iG Group

  • Proximus forges dedicated IT services unit 
  • LotusFlare to help Deutsche Telekom monetise its network APIs
  • Telecom Egypt and 4iG Group form FTTx JV

In today’s industry news roundup: Belgium’s national operator creates a dedicated IT services unit to focus on AI, security and cloud services; LotusFlare lands prime network API monetisation deal at Deutsche Telekom’s Mace unit; Telecom Egypt teams up with east European telecom and IT services group 4iG to form a wholesale fibre networks business; and much more!

Belgium’s national operator Proximus has had a busy week. Having forged a five-year collaboration with Microsoft and then launched a sovereign cloud solution in partnership with Microsoft, Thales and Intel, the telco has now formed an IT services subsidiary, NXT IT, to “design, develop and deliver customised IT solutions to meet business needs faster and more efficiently.” According to the operator, the move bolsters the portfolio and business potential of Proximus NXT, the company’s enterprise services unit that was created about one year ago and which now has separate units for telecom and IT services that will work together to meet the needs of business users. Carving out a specialist IT unit will enable Proximus NXT to dedicate focus and resources to critical areas of service development, such as cybersecurity, cloud and AI.  “By consolidating its IT activities for B2B customers into a single entity, Proximus will be able to adopt a 100% IT-centric approach,” the telco stated. “The creation of a fully fledged IT company, with the associated tools, processes and mindset, will pave the way for Proximus to roll out IT projects faster, thanks to enhanced performance and agility. This is an extremely important competitive advantage, as we know that these two factors are essential to meet the ever-increasing IT demands of businesses,” it added. NXT IT will be led by enterprise market lead executive Anne-Sophie Lotgering. “Thanks to this new market approach, we will be able to fully leverage our Proximus NXT IT subsidiary to develop and implement innovative IT solutions and services that perfectly match the needs of our business customers,” she noted. The move is yet another sign that the telco sector is still desperately trying to find the best way to meet the fast-changing needs of enterprise customers, which have long been identified as a rich seam of profitable growth, so far with (arguably) limited success. 

Deutsche Telekom’s network API unit, Magenta API Capability Exposure (Mace), is to use the DNO Cloud platform from telecom business support software specialist LotusFlareas the cloud-native commerce and monetisation engine [that will] enable the onboarding of developers, publication of API products, their purchase, metering, and billing,” the vendor has announced. According to LotusFlare, its DNO Cloud acts “as an API marketplace, offers CSPs dynamic go-to-market channels, delivers a top-tier developer experience, and supports versatile monetisation options.” The vendor added that the engagement will enable DT to “deploy advanced monetisation capabilities” for its MagentaBusiness API service. “This will allow developers and business customers to embed communication functions like video, voice, messaging and other capabilities into their products, applications, and workflows. MagentaBusiness APIs will lower the barriers to entry for network APIs and make the service available to small and medium enterprises as well as large corporate customers,” it added. Peter Arbitter, senior vice president of Mace, noted that its MagentaBusiness API service is “exposing our network capabilities for customers and developers to create new ways to generate value for their business… LotusFlare’s advanced monetisation engine is allowing us to make the experience seamless for developers through simple self-service access and payment.” The deal is quite a coup for LotusFlare, which recently celebrated its 10th birthday, as DT’s Mace is arguably creating a template for how telcos can develop their own network API business units and aim to drive new revenue opportunities and enterprise customer engagements as a result: Being selected by DT should open doors with other telcos looking to do likewise. And as the session focused on network API developments during TelecomTV’s recent DSP Leaders World Forum showed, the business opportunities most certainly exist – it’s just a case of which players in the ecosystem might end up benefitting the most: See Network APIs? Let’s get on with it and Network APIs: Telco traction and IDC’s forecast

Telecom Egypt has teamed up with 4iG Group, a telecom and IT services group that has operations in Hungary and the Balkan states, to establish a wholesale fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and fibre-to-the-site (FTTS) joint venture (JV) in Egypt. The new venture will invest about $600m over the next 10 years in building and operating a “modern fibre network that provides at minimum around 6 million households access to a state-of-the-art, high-speed network in the future,” the partners noted in this announcement. The JV agreement was signed during the second day of the Egypt-EU Investment Conference that is taking place in Cairo. Mohamed Nasr, managing director and CEO of Telecom Egypt, stated: “We are pleased to partner with 4iG Group. Through this agreement, which will capitalise on our respective strengths in the ICT industry, we will accelerate Egypt’s digital transformation thanks to the future-ready network that will ramp-up 5G and many other next-generation services, such as IoT and enterprise networks. We look forward to this endeavour, which will provide unparalleled performance and future-proof connectivity for generations to come, while ensuring that we maintain our position as one of the leading ICT providers in Egypt.” 4iG Group chairman Gellért Jászai added: “This collaboration is another opportunity for 4iG Group to market its expertise internationally in line with its long-term business strategy. We have found the best partner in Telecom Egypt for our ambition, just as we have in the already launched subsea cable project. The combination of the strengths and expertise of the two major companies foresees the success of the Egyptian fibre network development programme. It also ensures the application of the latest technologies and innovations, as well as the establishment of high-quality services across the country.” Exact details of the JV and the technology decisions will be finalised over the coming months. 

Openreach, the quasi-autonomous wholesale subsidiary of BT Group that manages the UK telco’s fixed access network, is clamping down on broadband network operators that use its physical infrastructure but fail to comply with the so-called “whereabouts” rules and regulations associated with third-party access to the network assets. ISP Review has the details.  

Having filed for pre-packaged bankruptcy protection in March this year following numerous quarters of disastrous financials, radio access network (RAN) equipment vendor Airspan Networks has confirmed its “plan of reorganisation” under which its debts will be eliminated, it will receive up to $95m in financing, gain access to a $20m line of credit and become a private company that is majority-owned by Fortress Investment Group. Airspan became a publicly traded company for the second time in August 2021 courtesy of a merger with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) but soon ran (pardon the pun) into difficulties when anticipated business from the emerging Open RAN sector failed to materialise and it was hamstrung by supply chain issues. Now it’s once again a private company and is ready to “emerge from the [bankruptcy protection] process as a stronger company positioned to execute our strategic plan.”

- The staff, TelecomTV

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