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

  • T-Mobile US lays off 5,000 staff
  • Deutsche Telekom fuels its green RAN ambitions 
  • Orange Romania offloads its banking operation

In today’s industry news roundup: T-Mobile US axes almost 7% of its workforce to help it meet shareholder obligations; Deutsche Telekom has been checking out the potential of hydrogen fuel cells to power temporary mobile masts; Orange Romania is offloading its retail digital money operations to a local bank; and more!  

T-Mobile US is to cut 5,000 jobs, almost 7% of its workforce, during the next few weeks, with employees “primarily in corporate and back-office, and some technology roles” impacted, CEO Mike Sievert noted in an email sent to the US operator’s staff on Thursday. The operator says it will incur charges of around $450m during the third quarter as a result. “After this process is complete, I do not envision any additional widespread company reductions again in the foreseeable future,” noted Sievert in the letter. He added: “Impacted roles are primarily duplicative to other roles, or may be aligned to systems or processes that are changing, or may not fit with our current company priorities... At the same time, we’ll also be decreasing our reliance and spend on external workers and resources. I know this email will create uncertainty, but I believe transparency about what is happening, and how we’re taking care of our impacted colleagues, is important… Today’s changes are all about getting us efficiently focused on a finite set of winning strategies, so that we can continue to out-pace our competitors and have the financial capability to deliver a differentiated network and customer experience to a continually growing customer base, while simultaneously meeting our obligations to our shareholders. In a company as successful as ours, the time to challenge the status quo and write the next chapter, is WHILE we are still successful. That’s how we sustain it… This is a large change, and an unusual one for our company. We’re tackling the tough decisions now, because I wanted to make sure that people working here are not wondering what’s next, after this process concludes… Today’s changes, while difficult, are being pursued so that we can continue that tradition and put the company on a stronger footing for years to come.” In the second quarter of this year, T-Mobile US reported service revenues of $15.7bn, up by 3% year on year, and a net profit of $2.2bn. 

Deutsche Telekom (DT) has for the first time tested a new temporary mobile mast powered by a hydrogen fuel cell rather than a diesel generator. The deployment of the temporary cell site suggests that hydrogen fuel cells can be used to supply sustainable power for temporary coverage sites such as festivals or in disaster areas. The ‘green’ mobile site was used at the Nibirii Festival in Düren, providing temporary coverage for 30,000 guests. DT claimed the mast, developed by two DT employees, is “significantly smaller, lighter and more flexible” than previously-used models, making it easy to transport and set-up by just one person in 20 minutes. The site, which is using hydrogen fuel cell technology developed by Munich company SFC Energy AG, supports 5G and 4G/LTE services and will have been running for 14 consecutive days when it is dismantled on 28 August. Further details about DT’s green mobile mast is available here (in German).

Orange Romania has sold its retail mobile banking operations to Alpha Bank Romania for an undisclosed sum. “The transaction will bring together the banking expertise and innovative tradition of Alpha Bank Romania with the agility and digital skills of Orange Money, allowing the bank to become one of the key players in digital banking in Romania,” noted Alpha Bank in this announcement (in Romanian). It added: “Orange Money Romania customers will continue to benefit from the existing products and services and, in addition, they will gain access to the entire range of products and services offered by Alpha Bank Romania. At the same time, the bank will be able to provide consumers with top digital solutions through the integration and development of the Orange Money mobile application.” The move comes two months after Orange announced it was exiting the retail digital banking sector and handing over its Orange Bank operations in France and Spain to BNP Paribas – see Orange checks out of the banking sector.

Still with Orange Romania… It has signed a six-year vPPA (virtual power purchase agreement) with ENGIE Romania for the supply of long-term renewable energy. The agreement, which will provide Orange Romania with 30 GWh of solar-powered green energy per year, “underlines Orange’s commitment to reach the #NetZeroCarbon objective by 2040,” the operator noted in an email shared with the media. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 is one of the targets included in Orange Group’s strategic plan, dubbed Lead the Future. Elsewhere in Europe (Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Moldova), Orange has already secured 80% of its electricity needs from green power sources. “We are aligned with the objectives of the Orange Group and continue to integrate sustainability at the heart of our actions, in order to reduce our impact on the environment,” noted Liudmila Climoc, CEO of Orange Romania. “Decarbonisation and the use of more renewable and sustainable energy sources is a priority for us, along with using resources efficiently through reuse and recycling. Thus, the signing of the vPPA contract with ENGIE Romania is another important step in the long-term commitment… to contribute to the sustainable development of society,” added Climoc, who is set to swap roles with Julien Ducarroz, currently CEO at Orange Poland, from 1 September.

5G RedCap (reduced capability), designed to support internet of things (IoT) applications and provide better latency and bandwidth than is possible with LTE-M, continues to gain traction… US operator Verizon announced it has successfully completed data and voice (VoNR) sessions over its 5G network using Ericsson’s RedCap-compatible software and MediaTek’s RedCap testing platform. According to the telco, RedCap offers a path for “lower-complexity and lower-cost NR devices such as consumer wearables, fitness trackers and mobile medical devices”. Furthermore, this new technology paves the way for enterprise IoT solutions such as video surveillance, industrial sensors and smart grids which can all run “more efficiently on Verizon’s 5G network”. By using the new software and light chipsets, the telco’s engineers have demonstrated “more efficient paths for these and future low-cost, low-power devices to run over the Verizon network, which can lead to the development and deployment of smaller, lighter, lower complexity devices with longer battery lives”. The voice and data sessions were completed using 5G over C-band TDD (time division duplex) spectrum, as well as 5G technology over 850MHz FDD (frequency division duplex) spectrum, in Verizon’s production network, employing the operator’s 5G standalone core. The telco’s plan is to work with solution developers on accelerating 5G device development, and essentially pushing the “low-cost, low-power device ecosystem”. Verizon’s domestic rival, AT&T, and Australian telco Optus have also been checking out RedCap’s capabilities – see What’s up with… Vodafone Idea, 5G RedCap, BT.

The European Union’s Digital Services Act, which compels online platforms to “take measures to protect their users from illegal content, goods and services,” has come into force, placing more than a dozen big tech firms, including Meta, Amazon, Apple and Google, under increased scrutiny from the region’s regulators, notes Reuters. Read this previous article for more on the Act. 

London-based Community Fibre has topped the UK gigabit broadband performance index as compiled by Broadband Savvy website, which scored each British high-speed broadband service provider based on monthly prices, upfront costs, upload speeds, premises covered and a range of other factors. Community Fibre topped the chart, followed by Hyperoptic. See the full results here

- The staff, TelecomTV

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