What’s up with… O2 + Virgin Media, Kaloom, Saguna

  • UK mega-merger gets green light
  • Kaloom attracts top-up funding
  • Saguna snapped up

The regulatory green light for a UK service provider mega-merger, funding for an edge networking specialist and the acquisition of an edge pioneer are at the top of today’s news pile.

The UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has given the go-ahead for the merger between mobile operator O2 (Telefónica UK) and cable operator Virgin Media, a deal that creates a service provider with annual revenues of about £11 billion, more than 34 million mobile customers and over 5.5 cable broadband users. The deal was first announced more than a year ago and is now set to complete during the next 10 days, creating a significant rival for both BT and Vodafone. The flip side of the coin, though, is that mergers often create a mess, so it remains to be seen if this move works out well for the companies and, more importantly, their customers. Read more.

Montreal, Canada-based cloud native edge networking software specialist Kaloom has topped up its Series A funding round with a wad of greenbacks from Alternative Capital Group (ACG), which is now its majority shareholder. The additional capital injection (unspecified) takes Kaloom’s Series A round of funding to US$32.5 million. As part of its portfolio, the Canadian vendor has developed a UPF (user plane function) element for 5G core deployments as was named as one of the vendors working with Telenor on the development of a multi-vendor 5G core platform (something we've written about elsewhere today). Kaloom says it’s in active trials with 10 major service providers. Read more.

Yokneam, Israel-based Saguna, one of the pioneers of edge computing for communications networks, has been acquired for $13.1 million by COMSovereign, which has been building an arsenal of networking technology assets through small, strategic acquisitions during the past couple of years. “COMSovereign's mission has been to enable the 4G LTE wireless networks of today and the emerging 5G networks now being deployed by addressing the critical technical and physical challenges facing operators who need to reliably expand connectivity for customers,” notes Dr. Dustin McIntire, the company’s CTO. “With the acquisition of SAGUNA, we are taking a huge step towards a complete software-defined 5G network, where cloud-based edge computing can provide a single, converged platform for the RAN, Core, and MEC, an industry first," he adds in this announcement

Qualcomm claims it’s making a spirited attempt to have 5G embedded more widely in PCs, laptops and other devices. This was tried with 4G but never really caught fire. This time there’s a better chance that 5G will end up being built in as a yes/no standard option (like extra memory), if only because of what OEMs say is soaring demand for larger data consumption in CPEs. Presumably the growth in private 5G networks and corporate 5G applications will eventually be another spur. Qualcomm has announced what it claims is the world’s first 10 gigabit 5G M.2 reference designs with the aim of accelerating 5G adoption across industry segments, including PCs, Always-Connected PCs (ACPCs), laptops, Customer Premises Equipment (CPEs), XR, gaming and other mobile broadband (MBB) devices. Qualcomm claims the move will allow OEMs to reduce time-to-launch for high-performance 5G-enabled products and it claims the reference designs “tackle many 5G complexities upfront so that OEMs don’t have to.” Read more.

Infinera has expanded its portfolio of open optical networking solutions with a suite of coherent optical pluggables for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint transport applications from the network edge to the core. It claims its ICE-XR pluggables will offer network operators the means to deliver differentiated 5G, enhanced broadband, and next-generation cloud and business services. They will support a range of transport rates - including 100G, 400G, and 800G - and utilize industry-standard form factors such as QSFP-28, QSFP-DD, and CFP2. Read more...

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