What’s up with… Telecoms pricing in the UK, the EU Digital Services Act, Telenor in Myanmar, the evolution of access
Bad news for UK broadband customers, a move towards safer internet in Europe and the announcement of a revived M&A deal for Telenor topped today’s news.
BT is facing heavy criticism for its decision to raise prices for consumer broadband and phone lines by an anti-inflation average of 9.3%, especially at a time when UK households are facing the prospect of a spike in domestic bills (particularly for utilities) in 2022. While BT notes that prices will not change for “financially vulnerable customers on BT Home Essentials, BT Home Phone Saver and BT Basic”, and attempts to justify the move with a list of reasons why it needs to charge more (retention of investor dividends was not mentioned), the operator drew criticism for the rise in the UK media, with a national newspaper ( The Telegraph) referring to the price increases as a “work from home tax” and estimates that 14 million customers will see their bills rise from the end of March. BT is not alone – Vodafone United Kingdom increases its broadband prices by 9.3% and speak speak by 9.1%.
In more positive news for BT, its mobile division, EE, is by far the best performing cellular service provider in the UK, based on extensive testing by RootMetrics (now owned by Ookla) during the second half of 2021. See this announcement for all shared results and statistics.
The European Parliament approved the Digital Services Act which aims to “tackle illegal content, ensure platforms are held accountable for their algorithms and improve content moderation”. Danish MEP Christel Schaldemose said: “Today’s vote shows that MEPs and European citizens want ambitious and future-proof digital regulation. Much has changed in the 20 years since the adoption of the e-commerce directive. Online platforms have become increasingly important in our daily lives, bringing new opportunities, but also new risks. It is our duty to ensure that what is illegal offline is illegal online. We must ensure that we put in place digital rules for the benefit of consumers and citizens. We can now start negotiations with the Council, and I believe we will be able to achieve results on these issues. You can read the European Parliament’s announcement here and also get more details on the late changes to the text of the law in this EurActive article.
TelenorThe sale of its Myanmar operating unit to Lebanese firm M1 Group is back on after the ruling military junta cleared the sale now that M1 has a local partner on board as part of the deal. In July 2021, keen to exit the market due to increasing restrictions, Telenor agreed to sell its Myanmar operations to M1 for $105 million, but the deal was blocked by the military in September. apparently due to lack of local involvement. Now Reuters is reporting that the junta is ready to approve the deal after M1 struck a partnership with local company Shwe Byain Phyu Group. Earlier this week, Telenor announced an agreement to sell its 51% stake in Digital Money Myanmar (aka Wave Money) for $53 million to Yoma MFS Holdings. (See Telenor Group agrees to sell its stake in Wave Money to Yoma Strategic.)
Soft Bank raises 30 billion Japanese yen (264 million US dollars) through the issuance of new bonds to develop its “High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS)” business which aims to provide extensive and stable telecommunications networks from the stratosphere” SoftBank highlighted its HAPS plans when it outlined key challenges facing the communications industry as it moves “beyond 5G” and into the 6G era.
The England cricket team may have just lost, miserably and miserably (again) to Australia in the all-important ‘Ashes’ biennial test match series, but the Brits and Australians remain good friends. and allies. Hence today’s announcement that the two countries will cooperate in a partnership on cyber and critical technologies to “deter cyberattacks before they happen.” Full details have yet to be revealed, but the underlying intent is “to increase deterrence by increasing the costs of hostile state activities in cyberspace, including through the strategic coordination of our cyber sanctions regimes.” /with Britain or Australia and both nations will retaliate to attackers with coordinated technological responses, deterrents, sanctions and punishments.The two nations will also exchange cybersecurity personnel and work closely together in this which is described as “cyber drills” while developing “a global standard setting action plan to ensure that global standards meet our security priorities, our economic interests and reflect our values”. The agreement is an integral part of the newly formed AUKUS partnership between Australia, the UK and the US in an alliance to counter aggressive Chinese expansionism in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. It “will focus on cyber capabilities, artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, and additional underwater capabilities.”
Here is another example of the shamelessness and arrogance of America’s “Big Tech” companies: for years they fought against regulation and tried to prevent the passage of any law that would reduce their power. excessive. Now, however, with Democrats and Republicans opposing Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, etc., in bilateral determination to clip each other’s wings, things are starting to move and anti-trust legislation is finally on the way. elaboration. In response to something that has already taken an unreasonable amount of time, the Silicon Valley behemoths and their ilk, along with the mighty phalanx of their highly paid lobbyists, are actually complaining that Capitol Hill is “rushing” bills designed to cut them down to size. And that from a group of companies whose responses to complaints about their monopolistic and anti-competitive tendencies have always been so deliberately slow that the movement of tectonic plates resembles a Formula 1 Grand Prix in comparison. In an effort to further delay the introduction of new laws, trade bodies representing Big Tech corporate interests are complaining that the Senate Judiciary Committee is going beyond itself by beginning to craft antitrust legislation without having a say. first held a series of hearings where Silicon Valley “experts” would be able, for weeks and months, to “criticize and give their opinion” on legislative proposals, while the companies they represent would blithely continue on their free and well-trodden way. It’s not like any of this is new to Facebook et al. US authorities have already conducted a 16-month investigation into Big Tech and released a 450-page report on their findings that Big Tech must be controlled and monitored through strict regulation and legislation – and, despite Cupertino’s new cries and Mountain View, it seems increasingly likely that they will.
News today from research you wouldn’t necessarily expect to be conducted by a payday loan company, but Cashfloat, a UK company that’s described as “a technology and data-driven lending company [that] develops and integrates technologies to enable affordable loans online” has just published a report on the relative longevity of UK start-ups in which telecommunications come in at the bottom of the Top 10. It seems that every month in the UK an average of 7,800 Google searches are made on “how to start a business”. Since one in five startups fail, Cashfloat set out to find out which industries have the most successful survival rate. It looked at the survival time of 3.2 million new businesses listed on Companies House’s UK register in various sectors, designated by standard industry classification code (SIC) and business number, then analyzed the period between the incorporation of a new company and its dissolution and closure. or acquisition. The data was collected in November 2021 and shows that start-ups in the water sector (including water engineering and the construction of water and wastewater plants) are the best performers , with an average survival rate of 2,718 days (approximately 7 years and 4 months). That’s 1,375 days (or roughly 3 years and 7 months) longer than the worst-performing start-up sector, namely telecoms. At number 2 on the list is the gambling sector, which has an average life expectancy of 2,315 days (6 years and 3 months), followed by specialized research companies created for a specific and limited purpose. They stay in the game for 2,061 days (5 years and 6 months) on average. Behind them comes the broadcasting industry with an average survival rate of 1,735 days (4 years and 7 months) and the financial services sector at 1,558 days (4 years and 2 months). Pulp and paper, transport, culture and electronics occupy places six to nine and poor old telecoms only squeak at number 10. Research, while interesting and valuable, is necessarily a general approach, so without seriously delving into a mass of data. , it’s not immediately obvious that telecoms should fare relatively poorly, but the sector is notorious (or infamous) for its endless consolidation cycles. And that applies as much to retail outlets selling handsets and accessories as it does to manufacturers and infrastructure providers.
And finally, a quick update on Tonga, which is going through very difficult times after the underwater volcanic explosion and subsequent tsunami killed and injured islanders, destroyed and damaged property and infrastructure and left the Pacific island nation without any form of communication with the outside world. As we reported yesterday, limited 2G phone service covering 10% of the population has been restored and this morning came news that satellite company SES was able to restore services for Digital Tonga, the local telecom operator. Relief flights from Australia have also delivered much-needed supplies, but crew must remain on the plane and have no contact with anyone else while local ground staff unload cargo. Indeed, so far there have been no cases of Covid in Tonga, and the government wants that to continue. And there are more offers of help, including from Elon Musk, who made a tentative offer of Starlink satellite broadband terminals before noting how difficult it would be to actually offer service to those who need it in Tonga…
– Staff, TelecomTV