What’s up with… Telenor, Telefónica & Google Cloud, Singtel

Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer. Source: Telenor.

Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer. Source: Telenor.

  • Telenor unveils its new CEO
  • Telefónica and Google Cloud extend and expand their partnership
  • Singtel introduces new strategy

In today’s industry news roundup: Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer will take over as president and CEO at Telenor from 1 December; Telefónica Tech to offer broader range of Google Cloud enterprise services for an additional three years; Singtel’s ST28 strategy is all about maximising returns on its investments after several years of restructuring ; and more!

Telenor has named Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer as its new CEO. She will take over from Sigve Brekke on 1 December at the end of the incumbent’s contract (which stipulates retirement in 2024). Brekke has been CEO since August 2015. Fasmer is currently the CEO at SpareBank 1 SR-Bank, which is currently involved in Norway’s biggest banking merger in 25 years. She has previously been a group EVP of insurance company Fremtind Forsikring, a group EVP in DNB Bank as head of corporate banking and has also been a board member of Vipps, Norway’s market-leading payment app, among other roles. “I feel incredibly privileged to be given the opportunity to lead Telenor, which is in a class of its own when it comes to profitable growth and customer experience in the European telecoms industry,” stated Fasmer. “I have been working with digital innovation and transformation for two decades, and in my opinion banking and the telco industry are facing similar disruptions. I am very much looking forward to contributing to continued growth and customer centricity in Telenor. The telco’s chair of the board, Jens Petter Olsen, noted: “The board has been looking for the most qualified candidate to lead Telenor and we are pleased that Benedicte Schilbred Fasmer has agreed to take on this role. Telenor is an institution of great importance for the 200 million customers in our footprint and for the societies we empower. We need a CEO with great leadership skills, who understands how technology will enable us to deliver secure and superior customer experience and someone who will ensure profitable growth.” Olsen added that there “are no plans for any strategy shifts. Benedicte’s strong track record from technology and customer-driven companies, and extensive top manager and board experience, have impressed the board.” The board chair also praised the outgoing CEO: “Sigve has done a terrific job on behalf of Telenor for several decades. His nine years as CEO have been a very demanding period for European telcos. Nevertheless, the company has grown and outperformed the industry.” In its most recent full financial year, Telenor reported revenues of 80bn Norwegian kroner (NOK) (US$7.6bn) up from almost 77bn NOK ($7.3bn) in 2022. Of this, service revenues in 2023 accounted for 62.5bn NOK ($5.9bn), up 4% year on year. Telenor has operations across the Nordic markets and in a handful of countries in Asia, though it has been shrinking its footprint in Asia in recent years through mergers and acquisitions – see Telenor offloads its Pakistan operation for $493m

Telefónica and Google Cloud have renewed and extended by three years their existing partnership. As part of the new deal, the Spanish telcos’ enterprise digital services unit, Telefónica Tech, will expand the range of Google Cloud services it offers to businesses. In addition, the giant telco will use the hyperscaler’s platform even more for its own digital transformation purposes and will collaborate closely with Google Cloud “in key areas of innovation”, such as AI and generative AI (GenAI), the operator noted in this announcement.  The telco will also “use Google Cloud’s solutions to host network functions under a telco cloud approach,” and improve its network operations through the introduction of automation. Telefónica says it is using Google Cloud internally to advance in its own digital transformation, “leveraging Google Cloud’s technologies in areas such as IT through its ‘Go to Cloud’ program.” The operator says that, as a result of its work with Google Cloud, it has “accelerated the transformation of its own operations systems, improving application deployment time and optimising infrastructure.” Enrique Blanco, Telefónica Global CTIO, noted: “This extension of the partnership reinforces Google Cloud as a key partner for Telefónica in the coming years. Many of our new services and processes will be based on the innovation, agility, scalability and flexibility that Google Cloud provides to us.”

Singtel has introduced a new strategy dubbed ST28 that, it hopes, will help it to build on its revamped asset portfolio and drive growth and profitability in the coming years. “Lifting business performance and smart capital management sit at the core of ST28,” the operator stated in this announcement, which outlines the telco’s restructuring efforts of the past couple of years. At the heart of the new strategy is an effort to reap “more synergies from the integration of the consumer and enterprise businesses of Singtel Singapore and Optus [the company’s operation in Australia]. This will involve simplifying product offerings to remove complexity for customers and utilising AI to improve customer experiences while driving leaner cost structures to better compete and strengthen market leadership. A recent network sharing deal between Optus and TPG in regional Australia will improve services for customers as well as capital efficiency. Enhancing customer experience remains a priority and for Singtel Singapore, the advancements made in areas such as 5G network slicing, telco API and network-as-a-service present new opportunities for differentiation,” the operator noted. To find out what else is in Singtel’s new strategy, check out the operator’s full announcement. Signtel has also reported its full fiscal year financials, which were impacted by the sizeable impairment charge – $3.1bn Singaporean dollars  (SGD) (US$2.28bn) – related to the Optus fixed line assets that Singtel highlighted at the end of April. 

According to research house Dell’Oro, the value of the global point-to-point microwave transmission equipment market in the first quarter of this year fell by 8% year on year, mainly because of a very steep 50% decline in demand for mobile backhaul equipment in India. Dell’Oro VP and analyst Jimmy Yu commented: “This was a tough quarter for the microwave transmission equipment market… slowdown occurred across multiple geographies with only two regions posting a positive year-over-year growth rate. Those regions were North America and the Middle East and Africa. As a result of the sharp slowdown in mobile networks, we lowered our full year 2024 outlook to only a 1% growth rate. We continue to believe the market environment will strengthen as the year unfolds, but the first half of 2024 is now projected to be much weaker than we initially anticipated.” The microwave transmission market began to enjoy an era of growth back in 2021 when the deployment of 5G technology products (and the limited introduction of some 5G services) gathered pace. Since then, overall, that period of expansion has continued, with cumulative revenues for the five-year period 2021 to 2025 expected to reach $17bn. Furthermore, overall demand for microwave mobile backhaul seems certain to carry on into the future as the insatiable global demand for ever more bandwidth continues. However, given that much 5G technology is now in situ and expansion of network buildout is slowing in some markets, analyst groups such as Dell’Oro say there is evidence that there will be a decline, perhaps lasting until 2030, in the microwave transmission sector, until another growth cycle is sparked by 6G. Meanwhile premium-priced commercial 5G still has a long way to go in proving itself worthwhile to consumers. The anticipation is that when the 6G hype bubble eventually begins to shrivel, operators will concentrate on deploying 6G sites at locations with fibre before moving on to sites that use wireless systems for backhaul. The Dell’Oro report also shows that four equipment vendors –  Aviat, Ceragon, Huawei and ZTE – managed a year-on-year increase in their first-quarter microwave backhaul revenues, pointing out, though, that Aviat and Ceragon benefitted from acquisitions that closed at the end of last year.

Datacentres are digital archives and processing centres of vital importance to all modern societies, economies and global connectivity. They are the cornerstones of the internet, everything that happens online is housed in one or more of them and their size, distribution and importance continues to increase daily. However, as things stand today, just about every datacentre on the face of the planet runs and manages a unique infrastructure stack, which means that their customers and clients have to contend with a massive array of data sources across their operations. Customers have to dedicate expensive resources to access, aggregate, clean, convert, and integrate this data into their own business systems and, unsurprisingly, datacentre customers struggle to monitor, manage, or automate their datacentre operations in real time and that means increased costs. To make things worse, and despite the enormous investments being made in digital transformation, actually accessing the data about the datacentre is still, largely, an old-fashioned manual process. What is needed is a solution to the pressing problem of large data mismatches in datacentres. Qarbon Technologies, headquartered in San Jose, California, says it has that answer with Lattice which, the company claims, is the world’s first software-as-a-service (SaaS) orchestration platform for the secure and seamless integration of datacentre infrastructure and customers’ existing business applications. It unlocks data contained in a multitude of datacentre infrastructure systems and seamlessly integrates them with customer's business applications, such as Salesforce. It also transfers data between workflow management and datacentre systems and permits users to manage and order from multiple datacentres through one orchestration tool and a ubiquitous interface, thus enabling secure, plug-and-play workflow automation. That said, it does not solve the problem of tracking and managing the inventory of cross connects in a datacentre (the physical links between hardware elements): This can be challenging as it is possible, indeed likely, that datacentre customers may have cancelled a connection to a datacentre but not also cancelled the associated cross connects, with the result that they continue to pay for a resource they are no longer using. To tackle this particular problem, Qarbon Technologies has teamed up with UK-based Cambridge Management Consulting (Cambridge MC), which has developed a datacentre inventory system, to combine their respective technologies and adopt a joint go-to-market strategy. Together the two companies will provide an ongoing orchestration platform and service wrap, including data cleansing and management, cost reduction, and procurement services, to a market of international customers and clients who require support or transformation of their digital infrastructure.

- The staff, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

Sign up to receive TelecomTV's top news and videos, plus exclusive subscriber-only content direct to your inbox.