What’s up with… Deutsche Telekom, AT&T, Vodafone Idea

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Mar 11, 2022

  • Deutsche Telekom preps towers deal
  • AT&T lines up $48 billion in capex for next two years
  • Reports suggest Vodafone Idea is swapping out Huawei RAN gear for Nokia kit

Talk of a major prospective European towers deal, the latest plans from AT&T, and talk of a swap-out RAN deal in India are at the front of today’s news queue.

Deutsche Telekom is sticking to its timetable on the monetisation of its tower assets, it seems. The German telco giant said last year it was ready to raise capital through some sort of deal related to its 40,000-or-so mobile towers, preferably through a deal with an “industrial partner”, and now it seems the wheels have started turning. Reuters reports that DT has hired Goldman Sachs in a process that values its tower assets at around €18 billion, citing multiple but unidentified sources. Two of the neutral host infrastructure companies that have been growing in Europe through M&A activity during the past couple of years, American Tower and Cellnex Telecom, are both reportedly preparing some kind of offer to DT, though of course there are multiple options available to the German operator, as TelecomTV reported last year.

DT has also extended its Open Telekom Cloud into Switzerland. With T-Systems data centres located in the country, DT offers “three cloud regions with service availability of 99.95 percent. Data storage in Switzerland with the corresponding data protection guidelines means the offering is an ideal fit for strictly regulated industries. These include, for example, the finance and insurance industries, but also healthcare and the public sector,” notes the operator in this announcement

AT&T has laid out its growth strategy for the next two years and it includes pumping $24 billion into its 5G and fibre networks this year and next, before scaling back down to $20 billion in 2024. “As it moves through this investment cycle, the company expects several tailwinds to help drive sustainable returns: a recovery in international roaming revenues in wireless; subscriber growth in wireless and fiber following recent upfront investments in advertising and promotion; and tapering of transformation-related costs,” notes the operator in this announcement.

In what would be something of a coup for Nokia, the Finnish vendor is reportedly in talks to replace Huawei equipment in Vodafone Idea’s network in New Delhi, India. According to this Reuters report, Nokia could land a deal for 12,000 4G/LTE base stations that can be upgraded with software to support 5G in the future, as well as 4,000 small cells.    

Vodafone UK says it has deployed Open RAN in seven locations to help extend the coverage of its 4G network. “This new technology is helping us to deliver 4G coverage to new areas,” noted Andrea Donà, Vodafone UK’s Chief Network Officer. “With Open RAN, we can bring 4G coverage to some of our most remote and rural communities for the first time, helping to give more people a digital connection and closing the digital divide.” Earlier this year, Vodafone UK announced its first commercial Open RAN site for 5G service delivery in the city of Bath. For more on the new rural deployments, read this press release

Telefónica Spain has formed a solar energy joint venture with energy specialist Repsol that will focus on the promotion, installation, monitoring and maintenance of smart solar panels for companies, communities and individual households (whether they are Movistar customers or not). For further details, see this announcement (in Spanish).

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans to approve more than $640 million to fund broadband rollouts in 26 US states, covering almost 250,000 locations. The move will be made through the commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which has so far poured $4.7 billion in funding to nearly 300 network operators for new broadband deployments to nearly 2.7 million locations. “As we approve this funding, we remain committed to making sure that this program serves areas that truly need broadband and funds carriers that can do the job, and our new Rural Broadband Accountability Plan will ensure just that,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. More about the programme and FCC’s new commitment can be found here.

Swedish operator Telia Company is claiming a 78% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in its own operations compared to its baseline year of 2018, it noted in its 2021 Annual and Sustainability Report. The remaining emissions from energy and business travel are offset by the operator. In addition, it managed to reuse or recycle 74% of waste in its operations. Telia also said suppliers representing nearly a third of its supply chain have now set science-based targets to reduce their environmental footprint. The operator also hailed initiatives to improve digital inclusion through skillset building, privacy and consolidating its human rights due diligence strategy.

Telecoms industry companies continue to announced actions in response to Russia’s invasion and devastation of Ukraine. Japan’s NTT Group unveiled plans to commit $2.5 million to support humanitarian aid in Ukraine and the neighbouring countries to which Ukraine’s citizens are fleeing. Funds will go towards the establishment of evacuation centres, the distribution of relief goods and psychological care for children. The company also moved to ditch charges for international calls to Ukraine. 

UK operator Three UK is also offering connectivity packages to Ukrainian citizens who are in their home country or arriving in the UK. And today it announced a request to temporarily suspend its sponsorship of Chelsea Football Club in line with the UK government’s sanctions against Roman Abramovich, the Russia-born owner of the football club. “We recognise that this decision will impact the many Chelsea fans who follow their team passionately. However, we feel that given the circumstances, and the Government sanction that is in place, it is the right thing to do”, the company noted. The deal is reportedly at an annual rate of £40 million and includes the use of the operator’s brand on football player shirts and around the stadium. Here is Three UK’s full statement on the matter.

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