Growth in the Nordics: a perspective from N0r5ke Fibre

N0r5ke Fibre will be joining Submarine Networks EMEA in London for the first time next month. Ahead of the event, Total Telecom caught up with Anders Vik, Co-Founder of N0r5ke Fibre to learn more about the growth of the Nordics as a connectivity hub as well as to hear about the N0r5ke Viking Cable project.
N0r5ke Fibre secured funding for its N0r5ke Viking cable project last autumn. Please can you tell us more about the system??
Yes, it was a busy autumn for us last year. Firstly, we raised NOK 40m from management and existing investors during the summer. Then, we initiated a process with Arctic Securities where we structured a financing package for new investors consisting of a NOK 150m Nordic bond and a NOK 40m equity issue to fully finance the project…

N0r5ke Fibre will be joining Submarine Networks EMEA in London for the first time next month. Ahead of the event, Total Telecom caught up with Anders Vik, Co-Founder of N0r5ke Fibre to learn more about the growth of the Nordics as a connectivity hub as well as to hear about the N0r5ke Viking Cable project.

N0r5ke Fibre secured funding for its N0r5ke Viking cable project last autumn. Please can you tell us more about the system??
Yes, it was a busy autumn for us last year. Firstly, we raised NOK 40m from management and existing investors during the summer. Then, we initiated a process with Arctic Securities where we structured a financing package for new investors consisting of a NOK 150m Nordic bond and a NOK 40m equity issue to fully finance the project. The equity was committed subject to a signed customer contract (serving as a proof-of-concept for the prospective investors), and once that was signed we launched the bond issue which was substantially oversubscribed with very strong support from institutional investors in the Nordics, UK, Continental Europe and USA.?

The structure of the financing is based on pre-funding both a debt service account for interest payments during the construction phase and a construction account that will be used to finance the project capex. We are allowed to draw on the construction account to pay invoices for construction-related costs and an agreed budget with a third-party consultant to finance the project, which has worked well for us so far. This way we were able to give the bond investors the required comfort on their investment, while not putting too many unnecessary restrictions on our day-to-day operations to complete the project (on budget and in time for onboarding the first customer in December this year).? ?

The Nordics have become a hub of activity for the global submarine cable market. What will the N0r5ke Viking cable mean for connectivity in the region?
Indeed, much of this activity can be linked to the growing interest in establishing green data centers and submarine networks, which are key for connectivity. Even though Norway has abundant production and supply of cheap hydro power, the data center build-out has been significantly slower than our neighbours’, mainly due to the lack of available and diverse connectivity. We expect this to change as several new submarine cables are now RFS connecting Norway directly to Denmark, UK, Ireland and the US. The N0r5ke Viking cable provides significantly improved diversity and is the missing link in a national fiber network ring with a new direct connection between the 2nd and 3rd largest cities Bergen and Trondheim. Along the cable route we have landing sites and ILA huts in areas with hydropower production output of combined 50 Twh.?

In the current market, what are the biggest challenges that a cable owner needs to overcome in order to launch a new project??
Apart from all the detailed planning and permitting needed, we would say that there needs to be a real commercial interest justifying the capex. For most companies this translates into the actual signing of an IRU type customer contract prior to initiation of the build out.? ?

What are your predictions for the submarine cable market in the next 12-18 months?
We expect continued good activity in terms of new submarine cable projects. There are basically four factors that we think will drive these investments:?
1. Low fibre count cables built during the early internet days reaching end of life, some of these will need replacement.?
2. The low interest rate environment and continued expanding digital economy has fuelled a tremendous increase in the allocation of institutional money to digital infrastructure funds, cementing digital infrastructure as an asset class of its own. Submarine cable networks characterised by long stable cash flows, low opex and strong underlying demand for data transport, provide an attractive investment for these funds. With generally high levels of dry powder available combined with a strong focus on ESG, we believe digital infrastructure funds will take a larger portion of the needed capex.?
3. ESG targets set by investors in the form of reducing digital infrastructure related emissions and improve diverse connectivity to areas with high and stable production output of cheap green energy e.g. Norwegian hydropower.?
4. Strengthen submarine cable network diversity and interconnectivity.? ?Recent developments and escalation in geopolitical tensions, if not reversed, could become a relevant source for rethinking the business rational for new subsea networks that would have made sense to build only a few years ago. This could favour cable projects a more decentralized model business cases as globalisation and cross continental interconnectivity. 

What are you most looking forward to about attending Submarine Networks EMEA in May??
This is our first time at Submarine Networks EMEA, so we’re looking forward to meet, interact and present details of our 810km submarine cable build-out along the Norwegian coast to the international submarine cable community.

Submarine Networks EMEA, the region’s leading subsea conference, will return to London on 17th and 18th May. For more information on how to join N0r5ke Fibre and 600 more industry leaders, head to the event website.

Ericsson suspends business in Russia ‘indefinitely’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February was met with immediate condemnation by the international community, swiftly followed by weighty economic sanctions. As a result of this global pressure, many international firms quickly paused their operations in Russia to align with these new policies.
Swedish vendor Ericsson announced that it would cease equipment deliveries to Russia in early March, with rival Nokia doing likewise.
Now, it seems that the Ericsson is preparing to take the next step, announcing that it has suspended its business indefinitely…

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February was met with immediate condemnation by the international community, swiftly followed by weighty economic sanctions. As a result of this global pressure, many international firms quickly paused their operations in Russia to align with these new policies.

Swedish vendor Ericsson announced that it would cease equipment deliveries to Russia in early March, with rival Nokia doing likewise.

Now, it seems that the Ericsson is preparing to take the next step, announcing that it has suspended its business indefinitely.

“Ericsson is engaging with customers and partners regarding the indefinite suspension of the affected business. The priority is to focus on the safety and well-being of Ericsson employees in Russia and they will be placed on paid leave,” said the company in a statement.

The company reportedly has around 600 staff working in Russia. 

While not explicit as to what this means, the announcement appears to imply the closure of Ericsson’s Russian offices, indicating that they are preparing for long-term closure.

The move will not affect Ericsson’s ability to manufacture equipment in Europe, since its European factories are instead located in Estonia and Poland.

Ericsson says it expects to record a $95 million provision in Q1 2022 for the impairment of assets and other exceptional costs. This total does not include staff redundancy costs.

Whilst this is no small sum, it should be noted that Ericsson’s operations in Russia and Ukraine account for below 2% of the company’s global sales, and falling foul of international sanctions against Russia, intentionally or otherwise, would have far greater financial impact.

For the Russian operators, however, this news will be a cause for consternation. With no new equipment arriving from either Nokia or Ericsson for the foreseeable future, network maintenance and expansion will rapidly become a major challenge – one that could warrant shifting to a new equipment supplier entirely.

Indeed, many have suggested that these sanctions could represent a major opportunity for China’s Huawei and ZTE, two vendors that are already market leaders within Russia. These companies, much like China’s broader stance on the invasion of Ukraine, have refused to follow Western sanctions against Russia while also avoiding lending the country overt aid. 

Around a month ago, two of Huawei UK’s non-executive directors, Sir Andrew Cahn and Sir Ken Olisa, both resigned from their position citing Huawei’s refusal to officially condemn the Russian invasion. Two weeks later, Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in her first public appearance since being released from house arrest in Canada, said that the company was still evaluating the complexities of government sanctions being put in place against Russia.

Both Huawei and ZTE comfortably have the scale and expertise to exploit the market opportunity presented by the temporary or even long-term departure of Ericsson and Nokia, but to do so would not be without risk. The US, for example, has made it clear that those companies seeking to circumvent sanctions against Russia could face sanctions of their own. 

With China’s telecoms sector, including Huawei and ZTE, already suffering under the weight of US sanctions put in place over the last three years, the threat of additional measures will not be taken lightly. 

In fact, reports suggest that Huawei may itself be preparing to reduce its business in Russia for fear of impinging on international prohibitions. Last week, Forbes reported that Huawei had sent part of its Russian staff on holiday for a month and had stopped entering into new supply contracts with Russian operators.

Huawei currently accounts for more than a third of all network equipment installed in Russian telecoms network.  

Want to keep up to date with the latest developments in the world of telecoms? Subscriber to receive Total Telecom’s daily newsletter here

Also in the news: 
Crafting the perfect digital foundation: DE-CIX and the importance of regional expansion
TIM starts formal talks with CDP for building Italian single network
Connecting Germany: Building the fibre that underpins 5G

TCS s’associera à BSNL pour le déploiement indien de la 4G

Suivant dur sur les talons de le rapport d’hier qu’il doit déployer 112 000 tours mobiles à travers l’Inde vient la nouvelle que l’opérateur indien appartenant à l’État BSNL a nommé un partenaire avec lequel il déploiera 6 000 des sites 4G.

Le contrat de 550 crores de roupies (environ 72,3 millions de dollars) a été attribué à la société indienne Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), un fournisseur de ce qu’elle décrit comme des conseils, des solutions et des services informatiques innovants et de premier ordre.

Selon des informations indiennes, BSNL avec TCS déploiera des sites 4G dans des endroits qui ont un « potentiel de revenus élevé » et où « l’infrastructure est prête pour la 4G ». Cela sera apparemment suivi d’un déploiement pan-indien.

Selon un responsable du Centre de développement de la télématique (C-DoT), un centre de développement des technologies de télécommunications appartenant au gouvernement indien, cité dans l’Economic Times de l’Inde, BSNL lancera ses services commerciaux 4G, ainsi que la 5G non autonome, d’ici août de cette année.

Cette évaluation peut être optimiste; le bilan de BSNL à ce jour en ce qui concerne la 4G n’est pas trop encourageant.

En 2020, l’opérateur a vu son appel d’offres 4G annulé par le gouvernement après des accusations de conditions limitant la participation des entreprises nationales. Malgré les demandes de BSNL d’être autorisé à utiliser la technologie de base 4G à partir de noms établis, le ministère des Télécommunications (DoT) a finalement mis en avant critères qui incluaient l’utilisation de fournisseurs nationaux, ce qui peut avoir limité l’accès de l’opérateur à la technologie de base 4G éprouvée ou testée.

La situation est peut-être proche de la résolution, mais les performances de BSNL sur le marché du mobile restent médiocres. Selon les chiffres de l’Autorité de régulation des télécommunications de l’Inde (TRAI), BSNL est désormais loin derrière ses concurrents opérateurs privés en termes de parts de marché.

Fin janvier 2022, BSNL et son compatriote opérateur public Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) détenaient ensemble une part de marché de seulement 10,24%, tandis que les opérateurs privés détenaient une part de 89,76%. Et bien sûr, tous les grands noms proposent déjà la 4G sur une grande partie du marché indien.

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Le Burundi gagne en connectivité Internet avec les pays voisins

Parmi les pays africains, Burundi fournit un marché des télécommunications attrayant compte tenu de sa forte densité de population et de ses faibles taux de pénétration existants pour tous les services.

Cependant, un inconvénient pour les investisseurs est que le pays a une production économique très faible, que le revenu disponible est également très faible et que les infrastructures de téléphonie fixe sont médiocres en dehors des principales zones urbaines. En pratique, les investisseurs sont plus motivés à se concentrer sur l’amélioration des réseaux mobiles que sur l’expansion de l’infrastructure fixe.

Pour surmonter les difficultés liées à la mauvaise infrastructure des télécommunications, le gouvernement a soutenu un certain nombre de sociétés de télécommunications de premier plan dans la construction d’un réseau national de fibres optiques. Ce réseau offre une connectivité continue aux atterrissages d’infrastructures de câbles sous-marins au Kenya et en Tanzanie. Les premières sections de ce réseau ont été mises en service au début de 2014, et d’autres provinces ont depuis été connectées. En outre, le gouvernement a lancé début 2018 le projet Burundi Broadband, qui vise à fournir une connectivité nationale d’ici 2025. Sur la base de cette infrastructure améliorée, le gouvernement et l’UIT ont élaboré une stratégie TIC pour utiliser les télécommunications afin de promouvoir le développement socio-économique du pays jusqu’en 2028. En outre, les progrès réalisés par la Tanzanie avec son propre réseau dorsal national ont profité au Burundi, qui a bénéficié d’une connectivité continue avec la plupart des pays de la région.

La capacité de bande passante internationale a continué d’augmenter ces dernières années, y compris une augmentation de 38% au cours des neuf mois se terminant en septembre 2021, ce qui a entraîné une baisse des prix de détail pour les consommateurs.

Deux des opérateurs mobiles ont lancé des services 3G et LTE pour capitaliser sur la demande croissante d’accès à Internet. Le nombre d’abonnés mobiles a augmenté de 7% au troisième trimestre 2021, en glissement trimestriel. Une croissance similaire est attendue pour les deux prochaines années au moins, ce qui contribuera à rapprocher la pénétration du mobile de la moyenne de la région.

Développements clés:

  • Le gouvernement lance un projet de cybersanté et progresse avec son projet Haut débit Burundi 2025;
  • Lumitel fournit une couverture LTE nationale;
  • Lancement d’un programme de TIC pour promouvoir le développement socio-économique;
  • Broches de pénétration d’abonné mobile 70%;
  • La mise à jour du rapport comprend les données de marché du régulateur au T3 2021, les graphiques et analyses mis à jour de l’Indice de maturité des télécommunications, l’évaluation de l’impact mondial de la pandémie sur le secteur des télécommunications, les développements récents du marché.

Obtenez une copie complète de ce rapport

Les résumés des rapports sur le marché des télécommunications sont produits en partenariat avec BuddeCom, le plus grand service de recherche sur les télécommunications en ligne continuellement mis à jour au monde.

L’article ci-dessus est un résumé du rapport BuddeCom suivant:

Titre du rapport: Burundi-Télécommunications, Mobile et Haut débit-Statistiques et analyses

Édition: Mars 2022

Analyste: Henry Lancaster

Nombre de pages: 96

Entreprises mentionnées dans le rapport: Office National des Télécommunications (Onatel, Onamob); U-Com (Orascom, Telecel Globe, Leo), VTEL Holdings( Tempo, Africell Safaris), Econet Wireless Burundi( Spacetel), LaCell SU( Smart Burundi), Renaissance Capital, BNP Paribas, Millenium Finance, Linkstone Capital

Prix de la Licence PDF pour Un Seul Utilisateur: 890$US

Pour plus d’informations ou pour acheter une copie du rapport complet, veuillez utiliser le lien suivant: https://www.budde.com.au/Research/Burundi-Telecoms-Mobile-and-Broadband-Statistics-and-Analyses/?r=83

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Comprendre les Opportunités des caméras IA et LiDAR pour les infrastructures routières Intelligentes

Ce point de vue de l’industrie a été rédigé par Georges Aoude, co-fondateur de Derq 

Alors que le Consumer Electronics Show (CES) de janvier a déclenché une nouvelle vague de véhicules autonomes (VA) sur le marché automobile au cours des prochaines années, l’accent a été mis récemment sur la technologie de ces véhicules eux-mêmes. Cependant, la technologie intégrée dans les infrastructures routières commence également à susciter davantage de discussions entre les fournisseurs de services et les municipalités. … [visitez le site pour en savoir plus]

PLDT déploie le premier SRv6 commercial aux Philippines

La société de télécommunications philippine PLDT a déployé le routage de segment sur IPv6 (SRv6) sur son réseau commercial, améliorant ainsi l’efficacité de son réseau pour fournir des services 5G, haut débit domestique et d’entreprise.

La plus grande entreprise de télécommunications entièrement intégrée du pays archipel d’Asie du Sud-Est a déclaré dans un communiqué de presse que PLDT avait piloté SRv6 pour desservir des clients dans certaines parties de la région métropolitaine de Manille, devenant ainsi la première entreprise de télécommunications philippine à atteindre cette étape.

Déployé par un certain nombre de grands opérateurs mondiaux disposant de réseaux commerciaux à grande échelle à travers le monde, le SRv6 est une mise à niveau et un élément clé du vaste projet de transformation du réseau de transport de l’entreprise qui a débuté en 2017, a déclaré PLDT.

« Le déploiement de SRv6 fait partie du parcours de transformation de PLDT pour préparer notre réseau à l’avenir. Cette initiative est cruciale car nous soutenons le pivot numérique du pays dans la nouvelle normalité et améliorons l’expérience Internet de nos clients fixes, sans fil et entreprises à l’échelle nationale », a déclaré Mario G. Tamayo, responsable de la technologie chez PLDT et Smart.

Avec ces améliorations en place, le réseau de PLDT est mieux positionné pour permettre de futures capacités de réseau, ainsi que la fourniture des meilleurs services 5G et fibre optique jusqu’à la maison aux particuliers, aux familles, aux communautés et aux entreprises à travers le pays, a déclaré le communiqué de presse.
« En plus de fournir des services à bande passante élevée et à faible latence, ces améliorations renforceront encore le fonctionnement automatisé du SDN ou réseau défini par logiciel existant, et permettront au réseau de prendre en charge l’efficacité et l’évolutivité requises par la 5G, le haut débit domestique, le cloud computing et l’Internet des objets (IoT) pour les clients individuels, domestiques et professionnels”, a déclaré Meinardo Opiana, Responsable de la planification et de l’ingénierie des réseaux de transport chez PLDT et Smart.

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TIM refuses to let KKR look at its books

US private equity firm KKR first made a non-binding bid to take control of Italian operator TIM last year, offering €10.8 billion. 
At the time, TIM was in something of a vulnerable position, with then-CEO Luigi Gubitosi coming under fire from shareholders for failing to provide the financial uplift that had been promised. The bid from KKR hasted Gubitosi’s departure, with TIM Brasil’s CEO, Pietro Labriola, taking over as Group CEO at the start of 2022…

US private equity firm KKR first made a non-binding bid to take control of Italian operator TIM last year, offering €10.8 billion

At the time, TIM was in something of a vulnerable position, with then-CEO Luigi Gubitosi coming under fire from shareholders for failing to provide the financial uplift that had been promised. The bid from KKR hasted Gubitosi’s departure, with TIM Brasil’s CEO, Pietro Labriola, taking over as Group CEO at the start of 2022. 

Labriola brought with him a plan to restructure the business, including separating its wholesale network and service arms into separate units. This radical change aimed at harnessing what TIM has described as the business’s ‘untapped value’, opening the door for fresh investment from external players. 

Furthermore, the split would free the company’s infrastructure unit for a potential merger with rival Open Fiber, creating a single national fibre network across Italy that had long been sought by elements of the Italian government. 

Throughout this process, which has now lasted over fourth months, KKR has been left waiting for a formal answer to its takeover proposition. 

Formal discussions between TIM and KKR finally began late last month, with KKR reiterating its interest in submitting a takeover bid. However, the company said that it was unable to confirm its non-binding offer without conducting due diligence of TIM’s finances, noting that the global economic environment had changed dramatically since their bid was first submitted.  

Now, TIM has declined to give KKR the information it requested, saying that « it would not be appropriate at this time to grant KKR access to due diligence ».

The operator said that it would reconsider this decision if KKR were to submit a formal offer. 

« Should KKR submit a deliverable, complete and attractive offer … TIM Board of Directors would be open to reconsidering its decision in the interest of all shareholders, » said the company.

With the two companies seemingly reaching an impasse, it seems likely that this signals the end of KKR’s formal takeover ambitions. 

However, there could yet be other avenues through which KKR can capitalise on TIM’s restructure. The US firm already owns a 38% of TIM’s ‘last-mile’ network, Fibercop, and additional investment in TIM’s infrastructure unit could see them play a key role in the proposed merger with Open Fiber 

« KKR ultimately confirmed its interest in exploring any other transactions in the interest of the company, its shareholders and Italy, » said a statement from TIM.

Meanwhile, in related news, TIM has already been approached by UK-based private equity fund CVC, looking to purchase a 49% stake in TIM’s separated service business. 

According to analysts, TIM’s enterprise business could be worth around €10.5 billion. 

Other private equity funds, including Apax Partners and Apollo Global Management, are also reportedly interested in bidding for TIM’s service unit.

Want to keep up to date with the latest developments in the world of telecoms? Subscriber to receive Total Telecom’s daily newsletter here

Also in the news: 
Crafting the perfect digital foundation: DE-CIX and the importance of regional expansion
TIM starts formal talks with CDP for building Italian single network
Connecting Germany: Building the fibre that underpins 5G

Sky and Vodafone among those interested in buying TalkTalk

According to reports, Sky and Vodafone are among a number of suitors having approached UK broadband ISP TalkTalk regarding a potential acquisition. 
The reports note that TalkTalk have appointed investment bank Lazard to review their options…

According to reports, Sky and Vodafone are among a number of suitors having approached UK broadband ISP TalkTalk regarding a potential acquisition. 

The reports note that TalkTalk have appointed investment bank Lazard to review their options.

TalkTalk was taken private in a £1.1 billion purchase by Toscafund back in 2020, valuing the business at around £2 billion. Since then, despite difficult years during the pandemic, the company has seemingly grown in value, with TalkTalk founder and chairman Charles Dunstone reportedly suggesting that the business is now worth “at least” £3 billion.

In 2021, TalkTalk reported having around 4 million broadband subscribers.  

Vodafone has long been interested in purchasing TalkTalk, with discussions having taken place numerous times over the past couple of years but always fizzling out for unknown reasons. Vodafone itself has just under a million broadband subscribers, so the addition of TalkTalk’s subscriber baser would see their position in the fixed market hugely enhanced.

Sky, meanwhile, already has roughly 6.7 million broadband customers, but this does not mean their acquisition of TalkTalk would be any less ground-breaking. The move would immediately make them the UK’s largest broadband provider, exceeding current market leader BT’s tally of roughly 9.2 million subscribers as of January 2022.

TalkTalk has yet to receive a formal offer from either company.

How would the acquisition of TalkTalk reshare the UK’s connectivity landscape? Find out from the experts at this year’s live Connected Britain conference

Also in the news: 
The Greater Manchester Authority talks digital investment at Connected North 2022
TIM refuses to let KKR look at its books
Spectrum Coordination Act set to smooth collaboration between FCC and NTIA