What’s up with… Telefónica, the “fair share” debate, Huawei in Germany

  • Telefónica claims massive sustainability success
  • Meta execs hit out at ‘fair share’ proposals
  • Deutsche Telekom’s relationship with Huawei is under scrutiny

In today’s industry news roundup: Telefónica boasts a massive reduction in its carbon dioxide emissions; Meta executives slam ‘fair share’ claims as “nonsense”; Deutsche Telekom’s sourcing of Huawei gear is in the spotlight in Germany; and much more! 

Telefónica claims to have reduced the carbon dioxide emissions produced within its own operations (scopes 1 and 2) by 80% since 2015. The telco achieved this target in 2022, eight years ahead of schedule, by introducing “more efficient technologies” and using only renewable energy at its facilities in Europe, Brazil, Chile and Peru. The company has also cut its emissions in the three scopes (with the third one covering indirect emissions produced within the supply chain) by 45% since 2015. And even though traffic managed by its networks has risen 7.4 times since then, the telco claims to have reduced its energy consumption by 7.2% by implementing more than a hundred projects for energy efficiency and management. Currently, some 82% of its global electricity consumption comes from renewable sources with a target of achieving 100% by 2030. In terms of the circular economy, the telco recycled almost all its waste, some 98%, in 2022. Telefónica’s sustainability update comes days after Telia unveiled that it achieved an 85% reduction in emissions produced within its own operations – see Telia boasts massive reduction in carbon footprint.

Meta, the giant technology firm formerly known as Facebook, has published a blog that hits out at claims by European telcos that the streaming and cloud giants should contribute to the network operators’ capital expenditures. The matter is the subject of a European Commission consultation, was a big talking point at the recent MWC23 event in Barcelona, and is being referred to as the fair share debate. The blog, entitled ‘Network fee proposals are based on a false premise’, and authored by Kevin Salvadori, the company’s vice president of network, and Bruno Cendon Martin, director and head of RL (Reality Labs) wireless at Meta, states that “proposals by some European telecom operators to impose network fees on content application providers (CAPs) such as Meta are not the solution” to the “financial challenges that European telecom operators now face after decades of strong performance… Network fee proposals are built on a false premise because they do not recognise the value that CAPs create for the digital ecosystem, nor the investments we make in the infrastructure that underpins it,” note the duo. They add: “We know that some European telecom operators have justified network fee proposals by speculating about capacity constraints caused by metaverse adoption – but this is nonsense. The development of the metaverse will not require telecom operators to grow capital expenditures for greater network investment.” And they conclude: “We… recognise the challenges that some European telecom operators now face, but imposing an arbitrary network fee on companies that bring investment and innovation to the digital ecosystem is not a sustainable solution.” The gloves are well and truly off. You can read the full blog here 

Germany’s minister of the interior and community, Nancy Faeser, is reportedly hoping to examine the ties between telco giant Deutsche Telekom (DT) and Chinese vendor Huawei. German newspaper Handelsblatt cited Faeser as saying that she wants to assess the relationship of the two companies and that it “doesn’t sound good”. According to the media outlet, DT and Huawei sealed a pact in 2019 to ensure the continued supply of Huawei products containing US components, despite the sanctions imposed by the US government at the time. The comments come a few months after the country’s Economy Ministry decided not to issue blanket bans on the use of kit made by Huawei in German networks and will instead decide on a case-by-case basis. Read more here (in German).

Italian network operator Fastweb, owned by Swisscom, is set for a top-level reshuffle, as its current CEO Alberto Calcagno is to depart at the end of September after a 23-year tenure at the company. Without disclosing specific reasons for the move, Calcagno noted that it is “the right time for me to face new challenges” after having “an incredibly exciting time in one of the most fascinating companies in Italy.” During his time as chief of Fastweb, the company claims to have achieved “steady growth for 38 consecutive quarters”, with the expansion of its fibre optic network and the growth of solutions for business customers as some of the highlights. From 1 October, Fastweb will be run by Walter Renna who is currently the company’s head of product design and delivery, responsible for marketing, communication, product development and IT. “I gladly accept this challenge and will give my best to continue our growth story together with the management team and all colleagues,” he said about his appointment. See more.

Content delivery network (CDN) specialist Qwilt has landed another plumb telco relationship, this time with Telefónica. The Spanish giant is to integrate Qwilt’s technology into the Telefónica Content Distribution Network (TCDN) that is already used to deliver Movistar Plus+ services to the telco’s customers and link it to Qwilt’s existing international network of content delivery servers. “This new integration is based on open APIs and content exchange between both CDNs, which allows Qwilt traffic to be delivered to customers with access to Telefónica connectivity, achieving a common goal: To improve the end-user experience,” noted Telefónica in this announcement. Other operators that are using Qwilt’s technology include BT in the UK and India’s Bharti Airtel – see Cache rich: Why telcos weave Qwilt into their networks.

Vodafone is participating in a pilot in the UK to create a prototype for an “always-connected and cloud-based digital ambulance of the future”. The telco is taking part in a €5.7m research and development initiative called Hybrid Connex, which has been co-founded by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the UK Space Agency (UKSA), and will begin its first trial at the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust. The test will focus on creating “a resilient connectivity solution, which combines 4G, 5G and satellite connections” to always keep ambulance staff online (with 5G connectivity set as the primary connection, and 4G and satellite acting as backup options). The pilot will involve six ambulance vehicles and will run between August and October 2023. If successful, the technology will be offered as a service to ambulance trusts. Find out more.

French investment company Ardian is mulling a takeover bid for Italian towers firm INWIT, which has a market value of €11bn, according to Reuters. Talks are reportedly in their early stages with the investor working with advisers at JPMorgan Chase & Co on a potential offer with the aim of privatising INWIT. Ardian is the second top shareholder in the tower company, with a stake of around 30%. Vantage Towers owns the largest share with 33%, which could be seen as an obstacle to a potential acquisition as Ardian is said to view itself as a “long-term holder” of INWIT, according to the news agency. INWIT became Italy's largest tower company in 2020 following the merger of Telecom Italia's tower unit and Vodafone Italy's tower assets.

Dutch national operator KPN has been demonstrating a new service, Drone Connect, during the Amsterdam Drone Week 2023 show (21-23 March).  According to KPN, drones can be connected to the telco’s 5G network and then follow a safe and pre-selected flight path, all the while being tracked and monitored via the mobile network. And thanks to an “application priority” feature, drones can be given “priority on the network so that wireless control, positioning, communication and data exchange are guaranteed,” noted KPN in this announcement (in Dutch). 

- The staff, TelecomTV

Email Newsletters

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