Verizon secures $2.7bn US navy contract 


The contract will help the US navy undergo a digital modernisation 

The US Department of the Navy has chosen Verizon’s government, education, and public safety arm, Verizon Public Sector, to provide wireless services, in a contract worth up to $2.67 billion over 10 years. 

The new contract will offer improved and cost-effective wireless solutions to related military and federal agencies. 

The agreement forms part of the fourth round of the wireless and telecoms services contract launched by the US Department of Defence (DOD), also known as the Spiral 4 contract. 

“Verizon’s inclusion in Spiral 4 represents our understanding of the DON’s sophisticated demands for mission critical communications, developed through our history of digital modernization partnership with federal agencies including on Spiral 3,” said David Rouse, head of Verizon’s defence portfolio in a press release. 

“We are proud to continue serving military agencies under this new contract and build on our relationship with the DOD,” he continued. 

Verizon plays a critical role in providing communication services to the US Navy to support their operations. Back in December, the company secured another contract with the US Navy to modernise data services and provide it with new voice technologies.  

The year before, it secured a deal worth almost $1 billion with the DOD to provide network modernisation services and technical support services to the Pentagon, the DOD National Capital Region (NCR), and US army base Fort Belvoir. 

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Also in the news:
Digi set to buy OTE’s Telekom Romania
Billionaire Xavier Neil ponders Millicom acquisition
EU-funded Global Gateways projects on show at Submarine Networks EMEA 2024 

Orange Romania absorbs broadband subsidiary in convergence push


The move is the latest in a series of acquisitions and mergers throughout Europe aimed at combining fixed and mobile operations

This week, Orange has announced that Orange Romania will merge with Orange Romania Communications (OROC), combining their mobile and fixed broadband businesses to become a fully converged telecoms operator.

Orange Romania first acquired a 54% stake in OROC (then Telekom Romania Communications) back in 2021 and moved quickly to unify contact channels and launch a joint commercial offering.

Since then, Orange has been looking to take full control of OROC and merge the two businesses, finally getting the green light for the merger from the Romanian government last year.

Following the merger, Orange Group will hold an 80% stake in the converged business, with the remaining 20% held by Romania’s Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitalization.

“The merger between Orange Romania S.A. and Orange Romania Communications S.A. is a major step for Orange and marks the fruition of the process with the Government of Romania,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Vice President, CEO of Orange Europe. “This merger enables Orange Romania to fully implement its strategy to deliver best-in class offers on mobile and fiber. I warmly thank the teams that have been working on this transaction and wish the new integrated teams all the best.”

The convergence of mobile and fixed broadband operations has been a key strategy for Orange for many years now. Back in 2021, when Orange announced its new strategic priorities for Europe, convergence was highlighted as a key target across the region, with Jégo-Laveissière calling it “the cornerstone of our strategy”.

Since then, the company has moved to expand its converged offerings in numerous markets; last year, for example, the company notably acquired fixed network operator Voo in Belgium last year, allowing Orange Belgium to begin offering combined fixed and mobile packages to customers.

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Also in the news:
UK government conditionally approves £15bn Vodafone–Three merger
Nokia and Vodafone trial Open RAN with Arm and HPE
T-Mobile and Verizon to buy US Cellular, reports say 

KKR TIM deal gets EU go-ahead 


The Italian government has already approved the deal after agreeing with KKR to take a stake of up to 20% in the business once the transaction is complete 

The EU competition authority has given KKR the green light for its planned takeover of Telecom Italia (TIM)’s fixed network operations (known as NetCo) for €19 billion. 

The European Commission was notified of the deal on April 19 and officially approved the merger in a statement yesterday, having completed a full investigation. 

“The Commission investigated the impact of the transaction on the market for wholesale broadband access services in Italy and concluded that it would not significantly reduce the level of competition,” read the statement.  

Specifically, the commission concluded that: 

The number of networks and providers will stay the same, preventing KKR from limiting access to infrastructure services. Existing agreements with rival companies such as Fastweb and Iliad will ensure competitive conditions remain in the market. 

In addition, NetCo and Open Fibre, Italy’s second-largest fixed broadband provider, will keep competing for customers and expanding their networks, driven by competition from Fastweb. 

Approval of the deal comes just weeks after TIM reportedly presented a raft of remedies to the European Commission to get it over the line. The specifics of these remedies were not revealed, but anonymous sources speaking to Bloomberg said the measures would likely solve EU concerns over possible price hikes in the wholesale market. 

The acquisition may still face opposition from Vivendi, TIM’s largest shareholder. The company has been vocal in its disapproval of the deal and has said it will use “any legal means at its disposal” to challenge it. The company believes that TIM’s assets are worth around €30 billion and are therefore being undervalued.   

Keep up to date with the latest international telecoms news by subscribing to the Total Telecom daily newsletter 

Also in the news: 
Digi set to buy OTE’s Telekom Romania
Billionaire Xavier Neil ponders Millicom acquisition
EU-funded Global Gateways projects on show at Submarine Networks EMEA 2024 

Orange finalises merger in Romania

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Field Mobility is Key to the Rural Connectivity Challenge

This Industry Viewpoint was authored by James Wolfley, Telecom Customer Success Manager at IQGeo

As governments globally take action in implementing strategies, such as the USA’s Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program (BEAD), to ensure rural communities are served with strong, reliable network systems, it brings into discussion the importance of connectivity in a rapidly digitalized world. We only need to cast our minds back to the Coronavirus pandemic and the ‘work-from-home’ requirements to highlight how, … [visit site to read more]

Starlink’s Indonesia pricing is not predatory: antimonopoly agency

The Indonesian Competition Commission (KPPU) has reportedly ruled that Starlink’s aggressive discounts on its VSAT terminal kits and subscriptions do not amount to predatory pricing.

According to government news agency Antara, Starlink – which officially began offering LEO satellite bradband services in Indonesia on May 19 – has been offering a 40% discount on its VSAT devices in Indonesia until June 10. The devices, which normally retail at IDR7.8 million (US$480), are being offered at IDR4.68 million.

The KPPU has been fielding allegations that this constitutes predatory pricing and unfair competition. According to media reports, the Indonesia Satellite Association (ISSA) has complained that Starlink’s VSAT pricing is negatively impacting players in both the enterprise and retail VSAT segments.

ISSA also claims Starlink’s monthly subscription packages are predatory. A monthly subscription to Starlink starts at IDR750,000 per month. While that’s more than twice the average amount Indonesians typically spend on consumer internet services, it’s far below unlimited VSAT service packages offered by existing players, which are in the ballpark of IDR 3.5 million, ISSA says.

However, following a closed-door focus group discussion on the matter on Wednesday, the antimonopoly watchdog said the VSAT prices were promotional, not predatory, the report said.

KPPU member Eugenia Mardanugraha told Antara that predatory pricing involves an active strategy to sell products below cost to eliminate competitors and establish a monopoly. « Predatory pricing is not just about low prices,” she said.

According to Indonesian national newspaper Kompas, KPPU Commissioner Hilman Pujana said it will continue to monitor Starlink’s activities in the market to ensure it plays by the rules.


Mah Sing joins Malaysia’s data centre gold rush with BDC tie-up

Malaysian property developer Mah Sing Group threw its hat in the country’s increasingly crowded data centre ring on Thursday by launching a new site in Southville City and announcing Bridge Data Centres (BDC) as its first partner.

Mah Sing said it has earmarked 150 acres of land bank at Southville City – which sits 19 km from Kuala Lumpur City Centre – for further expansion into a data centre hub with planned capacity of up to 500MW. The collaboration with BDC will occupy an initial 17.55 acres of land for a data centre with planned capacity of up to 100MW.

The site, dubbed “Mah Sing DC Hub@ Southville City”, is envisioned as “a holistic digital infrastructure ecosystem” designed to accommodate the demands of hyperscale, retail, and enterprise service providers. Mah Sing also expects to draw a diverse clientele from tech corporations, telecoms players, and financial institutions by engineering its data centres to support AI computation and large-scale data storage.

Mah Sing said it selected Southville City for the hub partly because it’s a mature township with the necessary essential infrastructure to support the project, and partly because the site is around 20 km away from existing data centre hubs Cyberjaya and Bukit Jalil.

The planned DC hub is also less than 50km from Telekom Malaysia’s upcoming new cable landing station in Morib, Selangor for the SEA-ME-WE-6 submarine cable system. Once the landing station is completed (which is scheduled to be in the first quarter of 2025), Mah Sing said it will be able to provide dark fibre for the hub.

The announcement marks BDC’s fifth hyperscale data centre project in the country. BDC currently operates two data centres in Cyberjaya, one in Bukit Jalil and another in Johor.

“This initiative not only boosts our operational capabilities but also highlights Malaysia’s increasing significance as a digital hub in the Asia Pacific region,” said BDC president Eric Fan.

Mah Sing’s entry into Malaysia’s data centre business comes as just about everyone else is doing likewise. This week alone, Google announced plans to develop its first data centre in Malaysia, while Equinix officially opened its first two data centres in Johor and Kuala Lumpur.

Last week, Malaysian real estate firm Sime Darby Property made its first move into the data centre game via a partnership with Pearl Computing Malaysia to develop a hyperscale data center at its business park in Elmina, northwest of Kuala Lumpur.

In April, Malaysian property development firm Crescendo Corporation Berhad (CCB) said Microsoft had purchased a plot of land in Johor for a cash consideration of RM132.4 million (US$27.8 million). A few weeks later, Microsoft pledged to invest US$2.2 billion over the next four years in new cloud and AI infrastructure in the country.

ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) entered Malaysia in November 2023 via a JV with Basis Bay to build and operate green data centre projects in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya. A week later, STT GDC said it would also build a data centre in Johor.

EdgeConneX entered the Malaysian market in September 2023 with plans to build data centres in Kuala Lumpur’s Central Business District, Bukit Jalil and Cyberjaya with a combined capacity of nearly 300 MW.

Local players are also busy chasing the DC dollar. YTL Power International is collaborating with GPU chip maker Nvidia to build an AI data centre in YTL’s 500-MW Green Data Center Park in Johor by the middle of next year. Telekom Malaysia is also said to be exploring plans to build a new hyperscale data centre to expand its capacity from the existing Klang Valley Data Centre (KVDC) and Iskandar Puteri Data Centre (IPDC).

At the start of this year, Malaysia’s Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) formed a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Investment of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to develop data centres in Malaysia and boost its status as a regional data centre hub.

Mah Sing’s founder and group MD Leong Hoy Kum said the company is looking to diversify its revenue streams beyond property development, which currently covers high-rise residences, townships, offices, retail spaces and an increasing focus on industrial projects.

“Entering the data centre market allows the Group to establish recurring income, crucial for a more resilient financial foundation amidst market fluctuations,” he said in a statement.

Leong also said Mah Sing is looking at other sites for future data center projects. “Beyond Southville City, Mah Sing’s other landbanks, such as MSS Business Park in Sepang, Selangor, which is also close to TM’s upcoming new cable landing station in Morib, present potential for similar data centre collaborations.”


Submarine Networks EMEA 2024: Supporting Africa’s growing ICT sector through infrastructure development 


A key panel on day one of Submarine Networks EMEA in London delved into how infrastructure can assist the growth of Africa’s ICT sector

The session was moderated by Ed McCormack, Director of Mc Corporate Services, and consisted of:

Rosalind Thomas, Managing Director and CEO at SAEx International Management

Dylan Carver, Global Account Manager at Medusa Submarine Cable System

Mohammed Aliyu, Chief FiberCo Officer at Bayobab

Nikki Popoola, Director of Sales West Africa & DRC at WIOCC Group

Africa is home to 1/6 of the population and is the fastest growing population in the world. That sounds promising, but that does not mean the market is without challenges. 

An obvious big challenge are cable outages currently going on, such as in the  Red Sea or in West Africa. “This a major challenge,” said Nikki Popoola “I don’t recall a time when there have been so many cables down”. 

“But there’s so much opportunity in Africa,” she continued. “More than anything, we need to develop the terrestrial. That’s a big challenge”. 

Africa has a population 1.4 billion people, so there is a huge opportunity for expansion. “If you want to go fast you go alone, but if you want to go far, you go together,” said Mohammed Aliyu. Collaboration is vital for African growth.  

The challenges are also opportunity. “We are operating in a bipolar global economy with geopolitics impacting us. We can’t ignore that,” continued Rosalind. 

Power is a huge challenge in Africa, especially in South Africa, which has an issue with load shedding. Without power, you can’t have any of the advanced technologies such as data centres, so “Africa is paying catch up”. 

Rosalind notes that there’s also a problem with getting skilled people, which must be addressed collaboratively. Skills are a challenge everywhere, but it is more intense in Africa. In South Africa, there is 65% youth employment rate, who simply are not skilled enough to be able to work in a digital economy. In other countries on the continent, due to the problems in country, many of them leave for jobs elsewhere. 

Some answers to this could be visa free travel within Africa or driving pan African initiatives, because there’s less employment issues in Kenya, Nigeria etc. Youth employment is much lower in Kenya for example, 12.5%. In South Africa, there are 330,000 people filled by employees on critical skills visas in South Africa, and 77,000 jobs they cannot fill, but around 14 million unemployed youth. 

Because the industry is a global one, it attracts skills globally. There are not seeing enough people entering the subnets industry, and they go to the likes of meta or google related to the end user applications, not the submarine cables bit!  

Africa has built thousands of kilometres of cable in recent years. But what is different in the business plan for the development of new cables?  

There are now more players in the market with different interests. Collaboration must be seen one the ground, as people are far too protective of what they own, there need to be more of an open access model, the panel argues. In South Africa, there are more than 17 fibre providers duplicating fibre in the same areas, and its impacting on their Return on investments because they are not collaborating. “The idea of sharing is very important”, confirms Rosalind. 

The areas in need of investment 

It has been made clear that some cables will reach the end of their life in the next 10-15 years. The recent outages on the continent are shifting mentalities on how to address the next cable initiatives. 

The current problem with African cables is that they all follow the same routes, Rosalind argues. Last year, there were 9 cable cuts. Climate change will also be a factor in these cuts, because they have all been laid too close to the continent.  

“In the short term, because there have been many more data centres built in Africa. There must be a focus on domiciling content in Africa, so you don’t need to go out of Africa to get this continent,” says Mohammed. 

“We need to be able to connect the hubs in Africa: the three major ones are Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa,” he continues. Therefore, building terrestrial connectivity is equally important.  

Technology has leapfrogged the continent no end. The phone has become the way that we all work, live and play. It becomes your banking, source of information, everything. 

The panel concludes that there is ample opportunity for Africa to be better connected within the next five years. The growth potential in the market is great. Working together has been a key takeaway here – cross collaboration will be the pathway to success. 

Keep up to date with the latest international telecoms news by subscribing to the Total Telecom daily newsletter

Also in the news:
Digi set to buy OTE’s Telekom Romania
Billionaire Xavier Neil ponders Millicom acquisition
EU-funded Global Gateways projects on show at Submarine Networks EMEA 2024

Google plans US$2 billion cloud hub and data centre investment in Malaysia

Keep up-to-date with all the latest news, articles, event and product updates posted on Developing Telecoms.
Subscribe to our FREE weekly email newsletters for the latest telecom info in developing and emerging markets globally.

Sending occasional e-mail from 3rd parties about industry white papers, online and live events relevant to subscribers helps us fund this website and free weekly newsletter. We never sell your personal data. Click here to view our privacy policy.