What’s up with... Huawei, Ericsson, O-RAN Alliance

  • US firms get green light on most requests to export to Huawei, documents reveal
  • Ericsson under pressure from the US Department of Justice
  • O-RAN Alliance details latest specs, demos

US federal departments are at the heart of today’s main news items, with Huawei trade deals and Ericsson’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement making the headlines.   

A storm has blown up in the US following the release of documents from the US Commerce Department showing that export licenses worth more than $100 billion were approved for US companies shipping products to Huawei and chip giant Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), both of which are subject to trade restrictions. According to this report from Reuters, which has seen the documents, between November 2020 and April 2021, licenses worth $61 billion were approved for deals with Huawei, while the contracts approved with SMIC were worth almost $42 million. The “data also showed that more than 9 out of 10 license applications were granted to SMIC suppliers while 69 per cent of requests to ship to Huawei were approved over the same period,” reported Reuters. The companies that didn’t get the green light are going to be almost upset as the politicians, such as Republican senator Marco Rubio, who regard any trade with companies such as Huawei as a threat to US national security.    

Ericsson has had its knuckles rapped by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) with regards to the $1 billion Deferred Prosecution Agreement agreed by the vendor in December 2019 to resolve criminal charges related to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The DOJ has ruled that Ericsson has “breached its obligations” under the agreement by “failing to provide certain documents and factual information.” The vendor now gets the chance to respond to the DOJ decision, and notes that it’s “premature to predict the outcome of these developments.” But that doesn’t sound very encouraging... 

The O-RAN Alliance says it has released dozens of additional specifications related to disaggregated radio access networks during the past three months, including specs for the Non-Real-Time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC) Architecture, the Near-Real-Time RIC and E2 Interface, Xhaul Transport Testing Specifications and Security Requirements Specifications. Further details of ongoing work and developments can be found in a new blog by the co-chairs of the Alliance’s Technical Steering Committee, China Mobile’s Chief Scientist Chih-Lin I and Stanford University Professor Sachin Katti. For further details, see this announcement.

Canadian operator Rogers Communications is having what appears to be a family boardroom squabble in the best traditions of the TV series Dallas. The board voted to remove the board chairman and family member, Edward Rogers, descendent of the founder, Ted Rogers. That appears to have been because Edward had attempted to replace CEO Joe Natale with a former CFO of the operator last month, against the wishes of his sisters and mother, according to Reuters. That move resulted in a feud that appears likely to run and run, since Edward Rogers, although now demoted to mere director, retains the chair of Rogers Control Trust, which holds voting control in Rogers Communications. From that position he appears to be back on the offensive and planning a purge, saying that he believed it would be in the best interests of the firm to reconstitute the Board. He listed the directors he intended to remove including John MacDonald, who replaced him as chair of the company.

ADVA, the optical networking system developer is in the process of being merged with access infrastructure vendor ADTRAN, has reported a 3.5% year-on-year increase in third quarter revenues to almost €152 million, despite the global components shortage. “Customer demand for our solutions remains strong and we’re fighting hard to overcome the current supply chain challenges,” said Brian Protiva, the company’s CEO. The company’s CFO, Uli Dopfer, also commented on the supply chain issues. ““In view of the global semiconductor crisis, the third quarter was definitely challenging. Nevertheless, we managed to grow and generate solid margins. In addition, we were able to generate cash, and with more than EUR 100 million cash and a net cash position of around EUR 21 million, we further improved our level of financial flexibility... The semiconductor crisis will last longer than we originally assumed, and the coming weeks and months will certainly be demanding again. Nevertheless, we are confident that with these strong numbers and order books at a record level, we will be able to overcome these supply challenges and close the year with good results within our outlook.” Read more

STL is showing signs of a greater international presence. The company, which has been expanding beyond its fibre manufacturing base and into systems integration services and wireless access infrastructure (Open RAN) in recent times, has just reported a 30% year-on-year increase in fiscal second quarter revenues to 15 billion Indian rupees (US$200 million), with 43% of sales coming from the EMEA region and 12% from the Americas. Read more

- The staff, TelecomTV

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