December 4, 2021

Remarkable Mate

Remarkable business & finance

What’s up with… Dish & Cisco, Iliad, Infovista, 5G

A powerful combo for the US enterprise market and some Gallic breast-thumping lead the way in today’s news roundup.  

Dish Network has teamed up with Cisco to deploy a swathe of the vendor’s technology and to develop a suite of enterprise services it can offer over its soon-to-be-launched Open RAN-based 5G network. “The DISH 5G network will be powered by a comprehensive mix of Cisco’s latest cloud networking and automation software, as well as a unique blend of end-to-end lifecycle services from Cisco Customer Experience (CX),” noted the operator, calling out virtual routers and cell site gateways as some of the software-defined elements it will deploy, and private 5G network services as an example of an offer the partners will jointly take to market. Read more.   

Iliad, the European operator that is in the process of being taken private by its founder Xavier Niel, is boasting an “organic growth profile unlike any other telco in Europe” following a near 6% growth in like-for-like service revenues during its third quarter. Total group revenues hit €1.78 billion for the three months to the end of September. For the full details, check out this earnings release.   

Infovista has announced the launch of its rApp program to “support the automation of Network Design and Optimization (NDO) as part of its ongoing integration of cloud-native microservices into the Ericsson Intelligent Automation Platform,” which was launched today. The first Infovista rApp “will allow an operator to automate network planning related activities such coverage, throughput analysis, RAN optimization and, in turn, can enable capabilities such as auto-commissioning of sites and automation of other workflows which needs planning information and/or algorithms.” Anyone else for rApps?

The US Telecom Association, the trade body representing telecoms-related businesses based in America, has published its annual analysis of broadband industry capital expenditure (capex) for 2020, the year that Covid-19 changed the world. It shows that despite the enormous disruption and destruction the pandemic caused, investment in broadband infrastructure powered ahead to the tune of US$79.4 billion. The report also shows that as of the end of 2020, the running cumulative total of dollars invested in telecoms capex since the passing of the landmark Telecommunications Act of 1996 stood at $1.9 trillion. What’s more, as the figures issued by the US regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC,) show, even during the height of the Covid-19 onslaught, the deployment of fibre-optic broadband infrastructure continued with an extra 5 million domestic premises being passed in the first half of that awful year. Fixed wireless and 5G deployment also continued and increased. US Telecom also publishes a mea culpa, admitting that it has not been including in its calculations the contributions of small rural telecoms and satellite broadband companies which, between them, are investing approximately $2 billion per annum in broadband. This is because the figures “are difficult to determine with precision” and the organisation regards it as better not to include imprecise data rather than report it as fact. The report adds the rider that the $79.4 billion total is “a conservative estimate of capex investment.” Of course it is… the total would have been $81.4 billion were the imprecise ball-park figure of $2 billion included.

As a follow-up to our ‘What’s Up with Huawei’ items yesterday, Bloomberg reports the still giant Chinese vendor is working to get around the new US Secure Equipment Act that bans it from doing business with or in America. It is doing so by licensing its smartphone handsets design to third-party brands. This would allow other companies to get hold of the key components (including microchips) on Huawei’s behalf and sell them on to it or badge Huawei devices as their own. One such company is the state-owned China Postal and Telecommunications Appliances (CPTA) which is angling to buy items that Huawei is specifically precluded from purchasing. An arm of the CPTA, “Xnova” is already selling Huawei Nova handsets on its website. CPTA says the “co-operation agreement” allows it to sell its own brand smartphones “based on Huawei’s design.” In other words, apart from a cheap badge they are basically Huawei handsets. Recently, “@Hinova” was registered and certified as a wholly-owned subsidiary of PTAC and PTAC was a major player in last year’s acquisition of Huawei’s Honor brand handsets by a consortium of companies with direct links to the Chinese Communist Party. Huawei is obviously hoping that it will take so long for the US to amend its legislation and close this gaping loophole that components will continue to flow freely despite the sanctions. It would be foolish to bet on that. 

Google has announced that it is to invest 1 billion Australian bucks, that’s US$740 million, in the Lucky Country during the next five years. Following the maxim of the late and unlamented Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, “lick the hand you cannot bite”, Google is now trumpeting its friendship and investment just a few months after an unedifying bout of sabre-rattling when it threatened to quit Australia altogether as the Federal Government moved to increase regulation and introduce a new taxation and content payment regime. In January this year, the designated villain of the piece, the managing director of Google Australia, Mel Silva, told an Australian parliamentary committee that if the changes were to be introduced, the company would block Google preparatory to upping sticks and leaving altogether. It was a big mistake. Australians are proudly independent and don’t take kindly to threat. Google was told to “shove it” (itself, its bosses and its business) and the legislation was introduced, debated and passed into law anyway. After that Google pretended it hadn’t made a threat in the first place and, anyway, if it had, it would have been a mistake and a bit of miscommunication between cobbers. That went down about as well as a dead dingo on a Dongolocking dinnerplate and all went quiet for months until Google announced it will now spend big on expanding cloud infrastructure, establish a “research hub” staffed by Aussie scientists and engineers and will also partner with the prestigious Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The prime minister, Scott Morrison, says the investment is “a billion dollar vote of confidence in Australia that will bring more important science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs to our shores.” Interestingly, a parliamentary review of the new law will take place in March next year and there are plans to make social media and content companies directly responsible for misinformation and defamation hosted on their platforms. Google doesn’t like that any more than the prospect of paying increased tax, a proposition that would not only raise revenue but also be immensely popular with the Australian population at large. Reaction to Google’s U-turn and sudden largesse has been sceptical. For example, the Centre for Responsible Technology at the Australia Institute, an influential public policy think tank founded in 1994 with the remit to research and report on economic, technological, social and environmental issues, provided a statement saying, “the spending commitment makes a great headline but simply paying tax on Australian earnings would deliver far more money to Australia”. How very true. Last year Google paid a derisory one per cent tax on its Australian earnings of A$5 billion. As Peter Lewis, the director of the Centre for Responsible Technology trenchantly observed, “When big tech offers to put money into a nation there are always strings attached” Too bloody right, mate! Now, where’s the barbie-lighter…

Monday was an extraordinary day for the data centre sector, as it witnessed two of the largest acquisition deal announcements in the sector’s history that together were worth more than $25 billion. While we snuck them into our coverage yesterday at the last moment, we didn’t have time to include the details, so as a follow-up, here’s a bit more about these massive deals… 

First, international neutral host facilities giant American Tower slapped down $10.1 billion to acquire CoreSite, which has 25 data centres, 21 ‘cloud on-ramps’, more than 32,000 interconnections in eight major U.S. markets and an annualized revenue run rate of $655 million. What has driven this move? The increasingly distributed nature of communications networks in the 5G era – American Tower spies a great opportunity to combine its carrier-neutral mobile towers portfolio with CoreSite data centre facilities to meet the cloud-oriented needs of next-gen network operators. “We are in the early stages of a cloud-based, connected and globally distributed digital transformation that will evolve over the next decade and beyond,” stated Tom Bartlett, American Tower’s CEO.  “We expect the combination of our leading global distributed real estate portfolio and CoreSite’s high quality, interconnection-focused data center business to help position American Tower to lead in the 5G world. As the convergence of wireless and wireline networks accelerates and classes of communications infrastructure further align, we anticipate the emergence of attractive value creation opportunities within the digital infrastructure ecosystem.” Read more.    
 
Then, while the digital facilities world was still agog, along came CyrusOne, a real estate investment trust that invests in carrier-neutral data centres, with news that it had struck a deal to be acquired by private equity firm KKR and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) in a deal valued at $15 billion. CyrusOne operates more than 40 data centres across the Americas and Europe and has an annualized revenue run rate of more than $1.2 billion. “This transaction is a testament to the tremendous work by the entire CyrusOne team. We have built one of the world’s leading data center companies with a presence across key U.S. and international markets supporting our customers’ mission-critical digital infrastructure requirements while creating significant value for our stockholders,” stated Dave Ferdman, Co-Founder and interim President and CEO of CyrusOne. “KKR and GIP will provide substantial additional resources and expertise to accelerate our global expansion and help us deliver the timely and reliable solutions at scale that our customers value.” Read more

https://www.telecomtv.com/content/5g/what-s-up-with-dish-cisco-iliad-infovista-42958/