News Roundup

A quick roundup of the news in Telecoms | Week #28

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Huawei to Produce New 5G Smartphones Amid Chip Supply Boost

Chinese tech giant Huawei is poised for a comeback in the smartphone market with new 5G devices expected by year’s end. After facing setbacks from international restrictions, Huawei is set to access domestic chip supplies through Semiconductor Manufacturing International Co (SMIC). However, there are concerns about the quality and performance of these chips, which may lag behind competitors like Qualcomm. Additionally, Huawei’s absence from the Android Play Store remains a significant hurdle. Despite the challenges, Huawei aims to launch top-tier 5G smartphones like the P60 in late 2023, with further releases planned for early 2024.

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CityFibre Challenges Openreach with High-Speed Wholesale FTTH Service

Telecom company CityFibre is launching a wholesale FTTH service that surpasses Openreach’s offerings in terms of speed. CityFibre has upgraded its network to XGS-PON, delivering symmetrical peak throughput of 10 Gbps, significantly faster than GPON. The company plans to roll out a 2.5 Gbps wholesale consumer broadband product in areas where XGS-PON is mature, starting with York. CityFibre aims to have XGS-PON available at 90% of its fibre exchanges by year-end, covering around 20% of its addressable footprint. The company highlights the eco-friendly aspects of XGS-PON, but pricing details for the new offering are undisclosed.

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Optus Teams Up with SpaceX’s Starlink to Expand Mobile Coverage in Australia’s Outback

Optus, one of Australia’s leading telecom providers, is collaborating with SpaceX’s Starlink to bring mobile connectivity to remote areas lacking terrestrial network coverage. With approximately 60% of Australia’s landmass lacking mobile connectivity, the partnership aims to use Starlink’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation to deliver direct-to-mobile connectivity. Optus plans to enable satellite-enabled capabilities on compatible mobile handsets, starting with SMS services in late 2024 and expanding to data and voice services in the following year. This move follows Telstra’s agreement with Starlink, highlighting the growing importance of LEO satellite technology in expanding global telecom coverage.

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Ofcom Investigates O2 Virgin Media Over Customer Complaints on Contract Terminations

UK telecommunications regulator Ofcom is launching an investigation into O2 Virgin Media (VMO2) following numerous customer complaints about the company’s contract termination procedures. Customers have reported difficulties in canceling their contracts, including challenges in reaching representatives, abrupt call endings, and long wait times. Ofcom will assess whether VMO2 adequately informed customers about their right to escalate disputes to an independent ombudsman. If found in breach, VMO2 may face fines and be required to revise its procedures. This issue arises as ISPs in the UK struggle to implement One Touch Switching, aimed at simplifying ISP switches for customers.

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European Court of Justice Rejects Ruling on Three-O2 Merger

The European Court of Justice has overturned a previous ruling on the merger between Three and O2 in the UK, adding to the uncertainty surrounding telecommunications regulatory guidelines. The legal objection by Hutchison, the company behind Three, has led to the annulment of the prior decision due to legal inaccuracies. The case will now be reconsidered, raising questions about the European Commission’s stance on future telco mergers. The ongoing merger between Orange and MasMovil in Spain is being closely watched as it may set a precedent for in-market consolidations in the EU. The regulatory climate remains ambiguous.

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