What’s up with… KPN, STC, Rakuten Mobile, Twilio

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Oct 12, 2020

  • Will KPN be swallowed up by a private equity bidder?
  • Rakuten Mobile finds a friend in the Middle East
  • Twilio splashes $3.2 billion on customer data specialist

M&A speculation in Western Europe and the increasing international influence of Rakuten Mobile lead the way in this news roundup.  

KPN’s share price jumped by 6.5% to €2.38 on Monday following speculation that private equity firm EQT was considering a bid to acquire the Dutch national telco: That share price gives KPN a market valuation of about €10 billion. EQT is reportedly seeking advice on a potential offer, which would ultimately require the support of the Dutch government (which has the legal power to block an acquisition) and the KPN board. The private equity firm has been showing plenty of interest in digital infrastructure this year, having jointly acquired the Zayo Group (with Digital Colony) and German fiber access network builder Deutsche Glasfaser and then announcing in August that it is buying EdgeConnex

Saudi telco stc and Japanese upstart operator Rakuten Mobile have agreed to collaborate on innovative mobile network technology developments. “The two companies will explore future opportunities to collaborate in various technology domains, including, fully autonomous digital platform serving telecommunication cloud network, OpenRAN deployment options for greenfield and brownfield use-cases, operating models and business value realization,” noted the partners in an official statement. News of the MoU (memorandum of understanding) pits stc as a likely international partner for the Japanese firm’s Rakuten Communications Platform (RCP), which is being developed as a cloud-based repository of open, virtualized mobile networking functions that can be offered to network operators of any kind around the world. Equinix and Tech Mahindra have already emerged as RCP partners.   

Cloud communications specialist Twilio is to acquire customer data platform developer Segment in an all-stock deal worth $3.2 billion. “Data silos destroy great customer experiences,” stated Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson in theofficial M&A announcement.  “Segment lets developers and companies break down those silos and build a complete picture of their customer. Combined with Twilio's Customer Engagement Platform, we can create more personalized, timely and impactful engagement across customer service, marketing, analytics, product and sales. We are thrilled to welcome Segment to the Twilio team.” Last week, Twilio rival MessageBird announced a funding round that valued it at about $3 billion

Nokia has launched a range of self-optimizing mesh Wi-Fi 6 products, including fibre gateways, 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) gateways, and mesh Wi-Fi beacons, all enabled with “self-optimizing Wi-Fi” capabilities. For more details on what the vendor claims is a world first, see this press release

The Finnish vendor has also landed a deal with Vivacom Bulgaria for its fibre access technology, including Nokia Lightspan systems that support XGS-PON services, which the operator plans to deploy in multiple major cities to offer symmetrical broadband speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s. See this press release for more details. 

As if 10 Gbit/s wasn’t fast enough… Swisscom has upgraded one of its optical line terminal (OLT) sites with 50 Gbit/s PON line card prototype, which enables 50 Gbit/s downstream and 25 Gbit/s upstream. Why? Check out what Markus Reber, Head of Swisscom Networks, has to say in this press release published by the operator. 

So, working from home is the new norm is it? Well, that depends… according to The Official Microsoft Blog, no less, working from home might be now and forever, but maybe it won't. If it is, employees will have to jump through several hoops and keep watching the skies for portents and divinations of change if they are not to fall foul of the company's virtual (and possibly sometimes all too real?) domiciliary labour police. Those of you who have had it up to the neck with changing laws, instructions, precautions and regulations surrounding Covid-19 (especially in England, where incoherent government interventions have mutated more or less every day, whilst the virus hasn't), should look away now. Microsoft is to provide employees with guidance on working practices "to offer as much flexibility as possible to support individual workstyles, while balancing business needs and ensuring we live our culture" (like blueberries in yoghourt, presumably). First off, 'management' says working from home is standard, except when it isn't. So, working from home is standard if it's for less than half a week's working time and "assuming manager and team align" (as Jupiter and Uranus do in a bad horoscope). If it isn't, it's something else, because, while working from home "is still optional... we are not committing to having every employee work from anywhere [that's done for moving to Muskville on Mars, then] as we believe there is value in employees being together in the workplace." The missive ends, "We will continue to evolve our approach to flexibility over time as we learn more." Sure they will, but they might have to stay flexible as the second wave of Covid-19 gathers strength. 

Telefónica UK (O2) is to deploy Nokia’s Subscriber Data Management (SDM) software to support its existing and forthcoming 5G services. Nokia says it is the sole supplier and is replacing the existing vendor supplier. For more, see this announcement

NTT Ltd., the global enterprise ICT services firm created in July 2019 when the Japanese operator combined the operations and workforces of almost 30 business units, has helped Indonesian operator Smartfren upgrade its network with technology from Cisco and F5. Find out more about this project in this announcement

Meanwhile, NTT DoCoMo has developed what it calls its 5G X-Border Platform, which directly connects its Open Innovation Cloud with 5G networks in other countries using a dedicated network that bypasses the public Internet. The initial connection is with network operator AIS in Thailand, allowing Japanese companies to provide remote support for colleagues and partners in that country using technologies such as augmented reality (AR), but DoCoMo plans to expand this to other markets. “Japanese companies are expected to use the solution to provide their onsite and local employees with support from Japan while avoiding the difficulties of international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic,” notes DoCoMo in this announcement.

Telefónica’s security unit ElevenPaths has struck a global partnership deal with existing collaborator Subex to offer a global IoT threat detection service. Read more about this development here.

UK fibre technology startup Lumenisity, a spin-out from the University of Southampton, has raised £7.5 million from a consortium of investors, with some of the funds to be used for the construction of a new manufacturing and testing facility. The company has just launched its hollowcore CoreSmart fibre cable product that has been designed for DWDM deployments over links in excess of 10km. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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