What’s up with… Telefónica & Microsoft, Deutsche Telekom, CoreWeave

  • Telefónica and Microsoft team up for global managed security services push
  • CoreWeave preps massive AI datacentre investment
  • Deutsche Telekom avoids industrial action with new pay deal

In today’s industry news roundup: Telefónica’s tech division and Microsoft have teamed up to offer managed security services on an international basis; AI datacentre operator CoreWeave has lined up billions of dollars of loans to fund its expansion; Deutsche Telekom has agreed an “economically painful” pay deal with the German unions; and much more!

Telefónica Tech, the digital enterprise services arm of the giant Spanish telco, has struck a new agreement with Microsoft to “bring next-generation cybersecurity services to enterprises around the world.” The deal was signed at the RSA conference being held in San Francisco. “This collaboration will integrate Microsoft’s advanced security and artificial intelligence solutions with Telefónica Tech’s operational cybersecurity expertise,” noted the service provider in this announcement. Telefónica Tech, which includes managed security services as part of its portfolio, will integrate Microsoft’s cybersecurity capabilities, including Microsoft Copilot for Security tool, with its existing security operations and provide around-the-clock protection managed by Telefónica Tech specialised teams based at its Digital Operations Centers (DOCs) located in Madrid and Bogota, Colombia. María Jesús Almazor, COO of Telefónica Tech for Spain and the Americas, stated: “This global cooperation between Telefónica Tech and Microsoft is a key milestone. Companies around the world will take advantage of all the opportunities that technology offers to digitise processes and jobs, including tools based on generative artificial intelligence, with maximum security.” For the first quarter of this year, Telefónica Tech reported revenues of €476m, up by 11% year on year.  

Still with Telefónica… The giant telco has reportedly made it through to the second round of bidding to acquire Spanish rural network operator Avatel Telecom, according to a report from Bloomberg that cited anonymous sources. Among the other potential buyers are investment firms HIG Capital, PAI Partners and Searchlight Capital Partners. Avatel could be valued at about €700m, according to the report, though that seems like a low price tag for a company that has been on a three-year M&A spending spree during which it has splashed more than €700m acquiring 155 local network operators around the country. The Bloomberg report did not mention STC, the Saudi telco that has built up an equity stake in Telefónica and had previously been cited as a potential suitor for Avatel.  

CoreWeave, which is building a network of AI workload-focused datacentre facilities and which describes itself as “the AI hyperscaler”, has secured $7.5bn in debt financing from a consortium of investment firms. The group is led by Blackstone and Magentar, and includes Coatue, Carlyle, CDPQ and DigitalBridge Credit. The funds will be used to add capacity to, and expand, CoreWeave’s datacentre locations as it works to “execute existing contracts with leading enterprise customers and AI innovators.” News of the debt financing comes only weeks after CoreWeave raised $1.1bn in Series C equity funding, a move that valued the company at $19bn. It has also just announced the opening of its European headquarters in London and plans to open two datacentres in the UK this year. Michael Intrator, CoreWeave CEO and co-founder, stated: “CoreWeave is building the infrastructure to power the AI innovations that are already changing how businesses operate in the global economy. The calibre of investors in this large debt financing round is a powerful testament to both the insatiable market appetite for AI infrastructure and their belief in CoreWeave’s ability to deliver cutting-edge innovation for the largest AI labs and innovators at scale. And we are really just getting started – our ambitions are to help reshape the cloud landscape, accelerate the AI race, and power the next generation of AI innovation that is changing the course of history,” added the CEO. CoreWeave has a close supplier relationship with AI chip giant Nvidia and was named late last year as one of the first companies to deploy Nvidia’s HGX H200 platform that features the vendor’s H200 Tensor Core GPU (graphics processing unit). 

Deutsche Telekom appears to have headed off the prospect of some damaging industrial action by striking a new pay deal with the Verdi trade union that represents 58,000 DT employees in Germany. Staff will get a 6% pay increase in October and a €1,550 one-time payment in July this year. “We reached an agreement… after a very tough struggle, achieving the highest negotiation result in the company’s history for our employees,” stated Birgit Bohle, member of the board of management for human resources and legal affairs at Telekom. “The result is economically painful, but we have made this decision to prevent prolonged strikes at the expense of our customers,” she added. 

The global cloud infrastructure services sector grew by 21% year on year in the first quarter of 2024 to be worth $79.8bn, according to a new report from research house Canalys. The three largest players – Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – collectively grew by 24%, accounting for 66% of total spending. “All three hyperscalers experienced a growth rate surge, as enterprise cloud spending accelerated,” noted the Canalys team in this press release. “However, Microsoft outpaced both AWS and Google Cloud, with sales rising by an impressive 31% year on year, nearly double AWS’s growth rate of 17%, while Google Cloud grew 28% year on year,” it added. Long-time market leader AWS, which is about to switch CEOs, “faces increasing competition from its fast-growing competitors,” according to the research firm. Yi Zhang, an analyst at Canalys, noted: “There is significant variation in the strategies of the top-three hyperscalers, reflected in their differing growth rates. Microsoft’s end-to-end portfolio is proving to be a strong competitive moat, while Google’s strength in AI is giving it a strong tailwind. However, AWS’s recent $4bn investment in Anthropic for generative AI and its ongoing AI integration in its cloud services underscores a determination to stay ahead of the pack as business priorities shift to AI.”  

Finnish network operator Elisa, which is often one of the first to deploy new network technologies and processes, is set to capitalise on its 5G standalone deployment with the launch of 5G standalone (SA)-enabled services for enterprise users, including the launch of 5G private networks that are provisioned using 5G SA-enabled network slicing functionality. Read more

Subscriber losses as a result of fraudulent robocalling will exceed $76bn globally in 2025, up from $73bn this year and $64bn in 2023, but that figure is likely to start to decline from 2026 as new service provider measures begin to block fraudulent robocalls efficiently, according to Juniper Research

- The staff, TelecomTV

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