Telecom News

A quick roundup of the news in Telecoms | Week #19

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Liberty Global and Telefonica to merge their U.K. operations creating the leading fixed-mobile provider in the country

Virgin Media, Liberty Global’s cable operator, and Telefonica’s mobile carrier O2 have announced an agreement to merge their UK operations in a 50-50 joint venture between the two companies. This mega-deal is valued at GBP 31.4 billion, with O2 worth GBP 12.7 billion and Virgin Media valued at GBP 18.7 billion. According to the announcement, this combination will create a stronger fixed and mobile competitor in the UK market, supporting the expansion of Virgin Media’s giga-ready network and O2’s 5G mobile deployment for the benefit of consumers, businesses and the public sector. The transaction is expected to close in mid-2021.


Ericsson ‘talking to advisers’ about selling $1.2bn number portability unit

Ericsson’s largest shareholder Cevian Capital has advised the communications equipment supplier to sell its 83.3% stake in the US number portability company Iconectiv, formerly known as Telcordia. For the past several years, Iconectiv has been the local number portability administrator, under a contract awarded in 2015 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). According to its website, Iconectiv develops solutions allowing operators to connect networks, and its service is used by more than 1,200 customers, including service providers, regulators and enterprises around the world. Now, as stated by Bloomberg, Iconectiv could be worth USD 1.5 billion to USD 2 billion.


Free Zoom accounts get three more security features this week

Zoom Video Communications is deploying additional security changes to prevent “zoombombing” by uninvited attendees. According to the company, Zoom account owners and admins can now disable the use of a personal meeting ID (PMI) for scheduling or starting an instant meeting. This option to disable PMIs can be locked at the account or group level. Beginning May 9, passwords will be required for all meetings, including new meetings, previously scheduled meetings, and those using PMI. Furthermore, Waiting Rooms for PMI will be turned on by default, and screen sharing privileges will be Host Only by default as well.


N. Ireland FTTP Broadband ISP Fibrus Acquired by Infracapital

Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&G Plc., has acquired Belfast-based fiber broadband company Fibrus. This ISP has recently started an GBP 85 million deployment of a new gigabit-capable Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network in Northern Ireland and aims to cover 145,000 premises by around 2024. Infracapital said that it will provide funding for this commercial roll-out. Conal Henry, Fibrus Co-Founder and Chairman, said, “Alongside Infracapital, Fibrus now has the firepower to deliver, at scale and pace, our radical plan to transform the broadband landscape in the region. With this investment, we will deliver the digital infrastructure that will transform our economy and our society.”


AT&T gives Loon a big lift with connectivity partnership

Alphabet’s Loon, the former Google X project and now an independent company, and US operator AT&T have formed a network partnership that will facilitate Loon’s internet connectivity through its high-altitude broadband balloons over disaster areas. This is a huge step forward for the balloon-based internet provider, since the deal extends to AT&T’s roaming partners, allowing them to quickly provide service to a vast number of operators worldwide. Loon CEO Alastair Westgarth said, “While coordination with a local operator will be crucial, Loon’s ability to leverage the AT&T network vastly expands the number of operators around the world that Loon can work with without having to complete time-intensive network integration for each one.”


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