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9 May 2023

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

T-Mobile USA’s president of technology spoke about the difficulties of rural coverage. It has reached 275 million POPs (points-of-presence) for its mid-band 5G network, and has another 25 million to go to reach its target. “As a rule of thumb, it is about 3x harder for every 10 million that you add. It’s very easy when you start out, and gets harder and harder to do.” It has also suffered a second data breach, affecting customer data.

Axiata and Bharti Airtel have signed a merger agreement, to combine Axiata’s Dialog and Bharti Airtel Lanka, in Sri Lanka. No price has been given.

OneWeb has been selected by Now Corporation to provide it with wholesale satellite connectivity services in the Philippines.

The FCC is planning to issue $8.8 million of fines related to defaults on its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. Some 22 companies are targeted, with Starry securing the largest – some $3.8 million. GeoLinks is being docked $3.1 million, but was hamstrung by not receiving an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) designation from the California Public Utilities Commission.

The USA has not further delayed the deadline for aircraft to upgrade their altimeters, to avoid interference that the FAA warns is dangerous. This is a uniquely American problem, it seems, which has hindered 5G deployment roadmaps.

Mavenir has raised $100 million, bringing its total raised to some $955 million. Siris, a private equity firm that is the largest holder in Mavenir, led the round, which involved two other unnamed ‘strategic ecosystem partners.’

T-Mobile has demonstrated a 200 Mbps uplink on its 5G standalone (SA) network, using carrier aggregation. This is the first such demo on a live commercial network, apparently, and Nokia and Qualcomm equipment was used. The two channels were the 1.9 GHz and 2.5 GHz midband allocations.

Siemens maintains that its 5G strategy is a long play. “We haven’t been slow. Release 15 came out in December 2018. We were among the first with a 5G end-device, for public and private 5G. We said in 2019 we wouldn’t have a network product before 2023.”

Malaysia has announced a second national 5G network, in an attempt to address criticism of its state monopoly strategy. The country is facing international pressure not to allow Huawei to provide equipment. Ericsson is the current exclusive provider for the first network.

Nokia has won a 5G equipment contract with Orange in Jordan, which will include its AirScale Baseband and Radio portfolio, and its next-gen massive MIMO systems.

Qualcomm is acquiring Autotalks, a fabless semiconductor specialist that has been designing V2X chips since 2009. These offerings will be integrated into the Snapdragon Digital Chassis portfolio. Qualcomm’s automotive sector grew by 20% in the past year. No price has been given.