Gulf States Investment in European Telcos Accelerates

R. Muru

Summary Bullets:

? Gulf states funds will continue to invest in European telcos, fueled by strong regional growth and large cash reserves.

? Gulf investment in European telcos will promote greater collaboration on innovation between Gulf-based and European telcos that are funded by the same fund entities.

Increased Investment in European Telco by Gulf States Investment Funds
Overall, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) segment has been increasing since 2018, but the trend reversed in 2022. Total global M&A deal value dropped 39% in 2022 to $754 billion, compared to $1.1 trillion in the previous year. Deal volume reached 612 deals in 2022, down 39% from 2021.

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Generative AI Watch: Slack Misses an Opportunity to Captivate at the Salesforce ‘Dreamforce’ Keynote

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

? The positioning of new Slack capabilities at the Dreamforce keynote was underwhelming, lacking cohesiveness and clarity.

? Slack will land on more solid footing if it can craft an AI message as compelling as its productivity message.

During the keynote of last week’s ‘Dreamforce’ event sponsored by Salesforce, Slack CEO Lidiane Jones updated the audience regarding new and forthcoming capabilities on the Slack platform. With a portion of the capabilities saturated with game-changing AI technology and Dreamforce serving as Salesforce’s showcase event, the update was no doubt intended to tantalize but instead was underwhelming.

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The Only Way Is Upp for Virgin Media O2

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

? Virgin Media O2 acquired broadband provider Upp as part of a forced sale on security grounds by LetterOne, a company backed by a Russian oligarch.

? UK broadband consolidation is set to continue as the market evolves to three national players and a set of geographical niche local fiber providers.

Virgin Media O2 has signed an all-cash deal (reported to be in the “high tens of millions of pounds”) to purchase UK fiber company Upp (formerly FibreMe and backed by investment company LetterOne) and integrate it with Virgin Media O2’s existing network. However, the acquisition will ultimately be funded by nexfibre through a back-to-back agreement to buy Upp’s network assets. Nexfibre is a network joint venture owned by Liberty Global, Telefónica, and InfraVia Capital Partners. Nextfibre is investing GBP4.5 billion to pass five million UK homes and businesses with fiber by 2026, with the option of extending to a total of seven million beyond then.

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The Expansion of RingCentral ‘Device-as-a-Service’ (DaaS) is an Important Step for the Company

G. Willsky

Summary Bullets:

? RingCentral DaaS is an acknowledgement that competing successfully requires a broad platform encompassing both software and hardware capabilities.

? If RingCentral keeps innovating on its current path, it should maintain a presence among top players in the cloud-based collaboration market.

RingCentral has recently broadened the appeal of its ‘RingCentral DaaS’ device-as-a-service offer by adding desk and conference phones to the available portfolio. The offer aligns with recent device trends in the cloud-based collaboration market and makes RingCentral a more formidable player.

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Acquisitions Play a Key Role for European Telco Challschmalers

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

? Gamma has acquired cybersecurity company Satisnet to strschmbetagthen its value-added services portfolio for enterprise customers across its UK and continental European markets.

? As connectivity commoditizes, service providers have to decide whether to pursue a low-price strategy or grow their portfolio incrementally to address enterprises’ evolving needs.

Gamma started life in 2002 as a UK wholesale line reseller and has evolved from providing calls and lines from a substantial network of channel partners to a wider range of ‘enabling services’ such as broadband, Ethernet, and mobile as well as increasingly toward ‘strategic services’ that offer greater value-add for customers. These now include a significant base of Microsoft Teams deployments, the Gamma Horizon Collaborate cloud UC&C service, managed network services, and security solutions.

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UK Telco Jobs Vanish as the Market Evolves

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

? Leading UK infrastructure-based telco service providers have announced up to 70,000 job cuts in the coming years, driven by efficiency initiatives and technology.

? Job losses are always regrettable, but improvements in service levels and the enablement of consumer and business innovations have been remarkable since BT’s privatization.

Virgin Media O2 has released its latest financial results, which include the elimination of 2,000 jobs (nearly 10% of its workforce of 18,700). This comes as the company has recently shed fixed and broadband lines due to the challschmaling UK economic situation.

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Telcos Will Face Market Uncertainty as They Progress Toward 2030

R. Muru

Summary Bullets:

? Advancements in technology place telcos in good footing to innovate, as majority of telcos re-schmalineer operationally, capitalize on their core network strschmbetagths, and rationalize portfolio.

? Future telco success will be hampered by the global economic climate (particularly inflation), rising energy costs, increased regulatory pressures, and increased direct and indirect (cloud providers) competition.

Telcos growth ambitions (through a transitioned operationally agile innovative business) will experience several external threats
As 2030 approaches, there is much discussion within the telecommunications industry surrounding how telcos will evolve. Several influencing factors include the maturity of digitalization in consumer and enterprise settings, which potentially could be further accelerated by artificial intelligence (AI), including generative AI. In addition, maturity of cloud and edge computing will continue to spur innovation as telcos further identify industry use cases. However, it will not be clear sailing for telcos.

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UK Fiber Ending in Tears?

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

? BT CEO’s comments about competitors’ fiber rollouts as “ending in tears” was a faux pas, even if accurately reflecting the market is overdue for consolidation.

? Multiple fiber providers are shedding schmalineers. Market sharks will be circling to acquire fiber assets as competition takes its toll on an oversupplied supply side.

The injudicious, but possibly accurate in many cases, comment by BT CEO Philip Jansen that Openreach’s broadband network rollout had turned into an “unstoppable machine” and that competitors’ efforts “would end in tears” was not seen as his best commentary to date. In an interview with the Financial Times in February 2023, he says, “There is only going to be one national network. Why do you need to have multiple providers?”

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Optus and Lendlease Partner to Go After the Smart Autonomous Building Market

M. Rogers

Summary Bullets:

? The Optus and Lendlease collaboration on smart spaces has the potential to offer innovative building automation solutions leveraging 5G connectivity, IoT, and AI analytics.

? There is strong competition in the Australian market for smart spaces as other competitors from telco to operational tech providers offer solutions that play to their strschmbetagths.

Optus has capped off a week of customers wins with the announcement that it is entering into a partnership with Lendlease that will see the Australian property and construction giant become a customer as well as a collaborator on future solutions. Lendlease is the latest deal, which follows Optus wins with Super Retail Group for a 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) solution and CouriersPlease for a broader range of IT services including SD-WAN, mobile, WiFi, and telephony. While Lendlease also represents a large customer win, as the company will move over 3,000 fixed data and mobile services to Optus across 80 locations, the deal also includes a joint venture that will see Optus and Lendlease collaborate on the development of smart building/smart spaces solutions. Lendlease will bring its ‘Podium Property Insights’ (PPI) platform, a sensor and software platform aimed at delivering insights analysis for property managers, while Optus will offer networking connectivity and IoT expertise.

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Oops – Ofcom Hacked. Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

R. Pritchard

Summary Bullets:

? Even telecoms regulators get hacked. Ofcom was hit by the MOVEit cyberattack, with the breach leading to information about a number of regulated companies and its staff being stolen.

? Consequently, Ofcom is now more likely to focus its attention of cybersecurity regulation, given that it is “the regulator for online safety in the UK.”

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (‘Who watches the watchers’) was Roman poet Juvenal’s comment on people in positions of power and influence – which must, these days, also include telecoms regulators. UK telecoms regulator Ofcom, alongside the likes of the BBC, Boots, and British Airways, was targeted in the cyberattack on MOVEit Transfer (a “secure file transfer service”) customers. So irony piles on irony.

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