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25 April 2023

Worth Noting – Deals, Launches and Products, in the wireless industry

Kepler Communications has raised $92 million in a Series C funding round, to fund its Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite network. This brings the total raised to some $200 million since 2016, with new plans to provide connectivity to other orbital and flying objects.

Vodafone Idea has placed a $28 million optical networking equipment order for ZTE, to supply two service areas in India. This is likely going to receive regulatory pushback, as both Huawei and ZTE remain on India’s block list – lacking a ‘trusted source’ certification.

Deutsche Telekom has partnered with AWS, for campus-based 5G offerings. This means that private LTE and 5G DT customers will be able to integrate their connectivity systems with a dedicated AWS services portal, to enable applications.

Wholesale LoRaWAN network provider Everynet has announced the availability of AWS’ IoT Core for LoRaWAN service, on its neutral-host networks. The service is available in the USA immediately, and will expand to the sizeable global footprint in the coming months.

China Tower, the towerco established by the country’s MNOs, says it ended Q1 with 2.06 million towers in its portfolio, adding some 7,000 towers in the quarter. Total tower tenants, the units installed on these towers, grew to 3.62 million. The country has some 2.29 million 5G base stations, according to government data.

China Mobile announced a 1.7% growth in its mobile subscriber count, reaching 983 million in Q1. There were 363 million 5G users on the network, up from 130 million in Q1 2022. Net profit was $4.1 billion, up 9.5%, from operating revenues of around $36.37 billion, up 10.3%.

AT&T has added 5.1 million mobile subscribers in Q1, with post-paid churn sitting at 0.99%. Its midband network now covers 160 million people, with its total 5G network footprint reaching 290 million. Some 272,000 fiber customers were added in the quarter, but copper-based losses brought its total broadband subscriber numbers down 23,000.

Unabiz, the company that owns the Sigfox LPWAN assets, has taken another step to enmeshing Sigfox with LoRaWAN. It has signed a deal with Actility, a LoRaWAN network provider, to integrate their respective networks, so that data can flow between them.

Carrier billing will be a $122 billion market, in 2027, according to a forecast from Juniper Research. The Japanese market will outperform others, representing 12% of the spending in 2027, but just 2% of the global mobile subscribers.

Arm is reportedly creating a prototype chip, to be used to demonstrate its advanced capabilities to partners. The Financial Times reports that there are no plans to sell or license the chip. A dispute in the US between Qualcomm and Arm has been rumbling since September, concerning an alleged breach of license agreements.

Reliance Jio has announced Q4 revenues of $3.64 billion, up around 14.3%. It counted 469.3 million total customers, at the end of 2022, and claims to have deployed its 5G network across 2,300 towns and cities.

VMO2 has plans to divest its tower portfolio, according to The Financial Times. The Cornerstone wing is jointly owned by Vodafone and VMO2, and is thought to be worth around $3.7 billion (£3 billion). It is the largest towerco in the UK, with around 14,200 masts and 1,400 other locations.