What’s up with… Verizon, Dish Network, CETIN, Telenor Myanmar

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Feb 16, 2021

  • Verizon buys industrial robotics specialist 
  • Dish strikes more tower deals
  • Czech operator CETIN eyes IPO
  • Troubling developments in Myanmar

Verizon’s latest enterprise 5G-related acquisition, the ongoing efforts by Dish to build its greenfield 5G network and a potential IPO by a key operator in the Czech Republic make the pole positions on today’s news grid.

  • Verizon has acquired incubed IT, an Austrian developer of software for the management of industrial robots, for an undisclosed sum. “This acquisition further demonstrates Verizon’s commitment to developing new and innovative businesses and use cases leveraging the power of 5G,” said Rima Qureshi, Chief Strategy Officer at Verizon. “Mobile robot orchestration is a real and emerging challenge faced by enterprises today. By integrating incubed IT’s autonomous software with Verizon’s 5G platform, we will have the ability to power robotic automation at scale. This will create new opportunities for enterprise customers to better and more effectively monitor and optimize their business processes.” See this announcement for further details.
  • Dish Networks has struck seven more towers deals that give it access to 4,000 sites across the US where it can host its Open RAN-based network gear. The agreements are with Harmoni Towers, Mobilite, Parallel Infrastructure, Phoenix Tower International (PTI), Tillman Infrastructure, Tower Ventures and Vogue Towers. Dish previously struck a deal with Crown Castle to access more than 20,000 towers. The operator is committed to reaching 70% of the US population with its own 5G service by June 2023. For more on the latest agreements, see this press release.
  • CETIN, a national fixed and mobile wholesale network operator in the Czech Republic, is scoping out the potential for an IPO that would value it at €4 billion, according to Bloomberg. CETIN is currently part of the PPF Group, a private equity outfit run by billionaire Petr Kellner: It is currently in the process of building a 5G network, using Ericsson as its main supplier. 
  • Myanmar’s military, which staged a coup earlier this month, is facing resistance to its proposed cyber security bill, which would give the authorities sweeping powers to access user data and censor online content. Communications license holders were given until 15 February to respond to the proposed bill. Telenor, which owns Telenor Myanmar, was clear in its public response: “In response to the authorities’ request for consultation, Telenor Group has raised several issues. Telenor Group is of the strong opinion that the Cyber Security Bill should not be passed as proposed,” it stated.
  • The merger of UK cable operator Virgin Media and mobile operator O2 (Telefónica UK) is on course to complete in the middle of this year, according to Mike Fries, the CEO of Virgin Media’s parent company Liberty Global. “We are making very positive progress with the U.K. regulator,” he noted in comments accompanying Liberty Global’s full year financials, which revealed a $1.47 billion operating loss and revenues of almost $12 billion for the full year 2020. For more details, see this earnings announcement
  • Ericsson’s CEO, Börje Ekholm, has once again sent a wake-up call to European regulators and administrations about the slow pace of digital and communications networking innovation and investment in Europe. In an interview with the Financial Times, Ekholm described Europe’s telecoms sector as “non-functioning.” In late January, during Ericsson’s most recent financial results presentation, he stated: “We are increasingly seeing that many countries are accelerating the investments in the 5G network, as they see innovation on top of the network can easily create value that's five to 10 times the network investments and allow them to transform and digitalize their companies to leverage this new platform. We hope that Europe will see this value as well before we fall too far behind the more aggressive countries…”
  • The quest for security and privacy for remote users goes on. There are dozens of ‘alternatives’ to WhatsApp, Google Search, Bing and so on, that purport not to log or pass on personal data, but so far none have managed a major commercial challenge to the incumbents – the closest so far being DuckDuckGo. This may be because a viable business model without rampant private data collection can’t stack up. Swisscows calls itself a Swiss technology company for intelligent software products and services in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and it’s having a tilt at the messaging market. Its messenger service, TeleGuard, offers secure end-to-end encryption, naturally, and is subject to strict Swiss data protection laws. The provider encrypts every message and all telephone calls; nobody except the recipient can read the regular chat messages, not even Swisscows itself, and the service runs exclusively on Swisscows' own server hardware, which is firmly secured in the Swiss Alps (which sounds impressive). Each participant is identified exclusively via a 9-digit ID or a QR code and transmitted messages are deleted from the Swisscows servers after they are received on the recipient's device. It currently supports Android and IoS. Obviously, since it doesn’t collect data there’s no immediately obvious business models for it to chase. It says it has developed its own advertising concept - similar to Google’s Adwords. This is a disputatious field and even the most ostensibly tightly secured and commercially clean service usually comes in for criticism and doubt-casting, as this story and the comments section show.
  • A study from Juniper Research predicts the number of vehicles with ‘intelligent cockpits’ will reach 287 million by 2025, rising from 122 million in 2021. An intelligent cockpit includes digital displays that provide infotainment and real-time information services via cellular connectivity embedded in the vehicle, but Juniper makes the point that the interested parties will have to get together to provide integrated services for the intelligent cockpit. It says monetisation models remain unclear for stakeholders and network operators and other participants will have to form an ecosystem to ensure that the ROI meets the substantial R&D costs spent so far. It has two offerings: Intelligent Driver Systems: Strategic Recommendations & Market Forecasts 2021-2025, predicting that the development of integrated services in the intelligent cockpit will be closely linked to the development of 5G, edge computing, and smart city services. And a free whitepaper: How the Intelligent Cockpit will Accelerate Intelligent Driver Systems?

- The staff, TelecomTV

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