What’s up with… The FCC, Ooredoo, US Chips Act

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

  • FCC chief probes US operators over their data management processes
  • Ooredoo wants out of Myanmar
  • The US Chips Act gets initial Senate approval

In today’s industry news roundup: The FCC wants to know how US operators are handling customer data; Ooredoo set to follow in Telenor’s wake with an exit from Myanmar; US chipmakers get some exciting news; and much more!

Jessica Rosenworcel, chairwoman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), has tackled the country’s communications services providers on their practices related to customer data. In the form of letters of inquiry, she has asked the top-15 mobile providers about how they retain geolocation data and the reasons behind this, as well as about the safeguards in place to protect “this sensitive information”. In addition, Rosenworcel wants to know about practices where telcos share subscriber geolocation data with law enforcement and other third parties. Another inquiry is related to the ways in which customers are informed about when their geolocation information is shared with third parties, if they are notified at all in such instances. Mobile operators have until 3 August to provide responses. In a previous probe, the FCC slammed the four-largest US operators with more than $200m in fines for “selling access to their customers’ location information without taking reasonable measures to protect against unauthorised access to that information”.

Qatar-based operator Ooredoo wants to follow Telenor to the Myanmar exit door and offload its mobile operations in the war-torn country that has been in turmoil since last February’s military coup, reports Reuters. Telenor went through a challenging process to sell its operations in the country, finally sealing a deal in March this year. The current government is keen for communications services operators to have local ownership and, according to Reuters, Ooredoo has attracted some local interest in its operations.  

The so-called Chips Act that would provide up to $52bn of federal support for the development of semiconductor manufacturing facilities in the US cleared an important hurdle late on Tuesday when the Senate voted to pass a slimmed-down version of the bill which, it seems, is still in the process of being refined, reports CNBC. If it clears all of the processes to become law, Intel will be the big winner, notes the team at technology news site Tom’s Hardware.

Seven European countries reportedly wrote to the European Commission asking it to act cautiously and hold a transparent debate before it outlines any proposals requiring tech companies (such as streaming service providers Netflix and Google’s YouTube) to cover some of the costs related to telecoms infrastructure deployments – a plea made by 13 telco CEOs in 2021 – see European telcos submit an over-the-top plea to the EU.

Netflix reported a further drop in its global subscriber base during the second quarter of this year as its total number of paying users dipped to 220.67 million on 30 June compared with 221.64 million at the end of March. The world was aghast when Netflix reported its first sequential subscriber number dip in 10 years with its first quarter numbers, and now it’s happened twice in a row. But it’s just a temporary blip, according to the streaming video giant, as the number is expected to grow during the current quarter by one million. Netflix’s sales continue to grow as the impact of price rises kicks in – its revenues for the second quarter were up by 8.6% year on year to $7.97bn. Further details can be found in its letter to shareholders, which can be accessed here

A US judge has brought forward a trial regarding the legal action taken by Twitter against Elon Musk’s attempt to bail on acquiring the social media company for $44bn. Reuters reported that the trial has been scheduled for October, dealing Musk’s lawyers a blow given that they pushed for a date in February 2023.

Staying in the US – Verizon scored a sweet deal from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to modernise and expand the agency’s network infrastructure, data and voice solutions. The US operator was granted a contract worth more than $400m, which will include round-the-clock access to Verizon’s IT development team to address critical problems or discuss potential system enhancements for the FBI’s use of applications, such as cloud computing, video and imaging transmissions, among others. Read more.

Ericsson has issued a fresh report outlining a recommendation for the aviation industry to digitalise its operations if it is to meet travel demands and airport experience expectations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, the network vendor suggested that private networks can improve customer experience, enhance throughput and bring about a more productive workforce with the help of 4G and 5G. According to Ericsson’s findings, private networks can enable use cases, such as connected assets, integrated real-time communication, digital load control, and remote data upload and offload. These address challenges, such as turnaround delay, financial stability, maintenance, safety and environmental sustainability. The Swedish giant also claims that airports can achieve between 20% and 40% in performance gains for operations using private 5G networks. Find out more.

Here’s some news that should get some veins bulging… Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies has joined the Sisvel Wi-Fi 6 patent pool as one of its founding members. “This new patent pool provides an avenue for Wi-Fi 6 standard essential patents of Huawei and other innovators to be shared. Huawei has also concurrently become a licensee of the pool,” the vendor noted in its press release about the development. Alan Fan, head of Huawei's intellectual property rights department, noted: "Huawei is excited to share our innovative Wi-Fi technologies with the industry. Wi-Fi technologies are widely used in fields like consumer electronics, smart homes, and industrial enterprises. The patent pool will increase transparency of patent licensing and reduce licensing disputes. Implementers can obtain a licence under all patents in the pool at one time, which increases licensing efficiency and reduces licensing costs." Luxembourg-based Sisvel launched the patent pool on 19 July. The initial members are Huawei, Mediatek, Philips, SK Telecom and Wilus: Huawei and Philips are also the first licensees of the pool. For more on the Wi-Fi 6 patent pool and what Sisvel is doing, see this announcement

Research house Canalys has reported that global smartphone shipment volumes fell by 9% year on year during the second quarter of 2022 as global economic factors took their toll on consumer spending. Samsung was the leading player with a 21% share of the global market, followed by Apple with 17%, Xiaomi with 14%, Oppo with 10% and Vivo with 9%. Read more

Optical fibre and access infrastructure vendor STL has landed a multi-year, 2.67bn Indian rupees (US$33.4m) deal to provide various types of optical fibre to Bharti Airtel for deployment in the east, south and north of India. Read more.  

- The staff, TelecomTV

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