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Orange Romania, the largest provider of broadband Internet and mobile services in Romania, has entered into an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in the fixed operator Telekom Romania Communications (TKR) in order to strengthen its position in the country and increase its market share in the sector. The reason given for Orange paying over $268 million for TKR, is that it is aiming to become the popular choice among customers for combined services in the Romanian market. Orange will gain a controlling 54% stake from the Greek company OTE, most of which is owned by Deutsche Telekom. According to Orange, the deal gives TKR a value exceeding $590.5 million. The transaction is subject to normal regulatory scrutiny and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021. TKR, being the second largest fixed line provider in the country, achieved revenues of over $739 million in…

Deutsche Telekom hits 50% 5G population coverage Deutsche Telekom, the largest German telecommunications company, has expanded its 5G connectivity to 3,000 towns across all German states. A total of 18,000 antennas, out of the 30,000 already installed, have been upgraded to support 5G services in the last 5 weeks, and as a result, 50% of Germany‘s population now has 5G coverage. Walter Goldenits, Head of Technology, commented: “The 50 percent is no reason for us to rest on our laurels. The 5G rollout continues with the same intensity. Two thirds of the population are our next target. And we want to achieve this too this year.” Read more at https://tinyurl.com/y4z6fd2m Google Cloud and Orange announce their collaboration Google Cloud and Orange announced that they are partnering up for data, AI and edge computing development. The two companies plan on transforming Orange’s IT infrastructure, developing future cloud services, improving operational efficiency…

European telcos: We’re ready to “lift the continent out of this recession” The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) has released a joint statement calling on EU institutions and national governments to support 5G and fiber rollout, stimulate the uptake of technology, fight misinformation, and focus on digital skills and education. According to ETNO, a new approach is needed to ensure that spectrum auctions are timely and conditions for spectrum assignment support network deployment. Sharing agreements for Radio Access Network (RAN) should be supported and incentivized, as well as all fiber investment models should be adequately encouraged. Moreover, future EU initiatives should dramatically reduce roll-out costs for both mobile and fixed networks. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/yadrfxfg Microsoft’s new Teams features fight video conferencing fatigue Microsoft Team’s brand seeks to fight “Zoom fatigue” and exhaustion of physical isolation with its new updates and features. The news includes a shared background to make participants…

Twilio rival MessageBird launches Inbox, an AI-powered contact center MessageBird, a telecommunications service provider in Amsterdam, Netherlands, has unveiled a new all-in-one, AI-powered contact center as it enters the competitive billion-dollar customer service software market. The new solution, dubbed Inbox and pitched as the “Slack for external communications,” enables customers to communicate with businesses and accept inbound messages from WhatsApp, Twitter, Messenger, Instagram, WeChat, Apple Business Chat, RCS, Line, Telegram, email, SMS, voice, and more. Additionally, companies can connect MessageBird’s Inbox to other internal tools as part of their preferred workflows, including Salesforce, Google Calendar, Shopify, HubSpot, Jira, and Slack. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/qvsqh9l CenturyLink adds IBM Cloud to its Cloud Connect portfolio US-based CenturyLink has added IBM Cloud to its growing Cloud Connect Dynamic Connections portfolio, which also includes Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Oracle. The company said that through IBM Cloud Direct Link services, businesses can now access…

EU’s new digital strategy targets data-hoarding tech firms The European Commission has proposed its new European digital strategy “Europe Fit for the Digital Age” that puts a target on all the biggest US tech players. It states that a large part of the world’s data is currently owned by a small number of Big Tech firms, which “could reduce the incentives for data-driven businesses to emerge, grow and innovate in the EU today, but numerous opportunities lie ahead.” The new proposals indicate the need to provide “an attractive policy environment”, which means that data can flow throughout the EU while applying data protection values established under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Read more at https://tinyurl.com/wdb9hee Dell targets telco edge deployments with new server, micro data centre Dell Technologies has introduced new products for telecom operators that are building out edge network deployments. A compact high-performance server, a modular micro…

Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica and Orange test blockchain technology Deutsche Telecom is testing a blockchain solution that can be used to generate and sign secure inter-operator roaming discount agreements. T-Mobile US, Telefonica, Orange and the GSMA are collaborating to test the software that will reduce the complexity of the current process, which usually involves drafting, signing and manually implementing the contracts. Deutsche Telecom said that this is the first time operators are able to jointly test blockchain as a solution that also incorporates a corresponding legal framework, governance model, and integration into corporate IT infrastructures. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/rpwsegx The world’s biggest phone show has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns The GSM Association (GSMA) has canceled the world’s largest mobile phone show, Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona due to concerns related to the growing coronavirus pandemic. The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide uniting more than 1,200…

Apple now owns Intel’s mobile modem business Intel, a leader in the semiconductor industry, has completed the sale of the majority of its smartphone modem business to Apple. The company said this transaction enables it to focus on developing 5G network technology while maintaining the ability to create modems for non-smartphone applications, such as PCs, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and autonomous vehicles. Apple now uses Qualcomm for 4G LTE and 5G modems for iPhones. With this acquisition, Apple is planning to develop its own modems for smartphones in 2021. Read more at: https://tinyurl.com/rqmu724 Orange unveils new five-year grand plan Orange, a French multinational telecommunications corporation, has introduced “Engage 2025”, its new strategy that follows on from the Essentials 2020 plan launched in 2015. The corporation has revealed its goals for the coming years, emphasizing that its business model will be guided by social and environmental responsibility. Considering the operator’s business…

Global telecom operators AT&T, KPN, Orange and Swisscom have launched LTE-M roaming services across their respective IoT networks, thus enabling connected low power IoT devices to operate more efficiently on multiple networks in North America and Europe. This collaborative rollout of LTE-M networks is expected to accelerate the growth in the IoT market all over the world. In a statement, John Wojewoda, AVP of global connections management at AT&T, said, “More and more of our enterprise customers require global capabilities as they deploy IoT devices and applications. These LTE-M roaming agreements help meet that demand and make it easier for businesses around the world to benefit from the power of a globalized IoT.” Carolien Nijhuis, Director IoT at KPN, added, “The introduction of LTE-M creates many new possibilities for our partners, customers and prospects. Roaming with LTE-M has been one of the most requested features by our customers…

As a whole, the telecommunications industry has been traditionally male-dominated. However, the trend is rapidly changing as this business sector becomes increasingly augmented with talented women having profound knowledge and skills, and influencing an industry where high-ranking female officials were a rarity until recently. Here is the list of the top ten women in the telecommunications industry, selected for their technical and business know-how, extensive experience, leadership and most significantly, their influence. Michelle Bourque Michelle Bourque is Senior Vice President, Product, Marketing and Access Strategy for BCE Nexxia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bell Canada. The company provides wholesale services, including voice, broadband, hosting and co-location, and IP connectivity. As the leader of a team of product and marketing professionals, Michelle has introduced innovation and fresh perspectives to the wholesale marketing and product divisions. According to Michelle, women already have a significant presence in the telecoms sector, and…

To compete with Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp as well as Apple’s iMessages, Google is looking for bold new ideas. They have had a number of failures in this area, having tried Talk, Hangouts and Allo! But for an American company, there’s no such thing as failure – there’s just the gaining of experience. Looking forward, Google will focus on delivering their new calling and messaging system called “Chat.” Chat aims to replace SMS, and uses the RCS protocol (Rich Communication Service) to achieve its goals. With Chat, users no longer need to download an application and keep that application updated, and the open-source nature of the RCS protocol will make this platform accessible to developers. According to The Verge media publication, more than 60 companies all over the world, including developers and operators such as Orange, Samsung and Asus have already committed to supporting Chat. For its part, Google promises…