CEOs trade blows over Liberty Global

Growing speculation surrounding a potential deal between Vodafone Group and cable giant Liberty Global appeared to get both Vittorio Colao and Timotheus Hoettges – the respective CEOs of Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom (DT) – hot under the collar at Mobile World Congress.

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Vittorio Colao VF and Timotheus Hoettges DT

In a roundtable discussion, Colao hit back at his counterpart at DT for saying that he wanted to block the merger, which the Vodafone boss seemed to think was tantamount to wanting to shut down competition.

“I’m surprised by this comment from Tim Hoettges,” said Colao. “You should never look to shut down one of your competitors – you have to win by fair means. DT is the largest operator in the best market in Europe. But maybe he’s feeling a little nervous when you consider our results in Germany are pretty good and we’re now a co-leader in his home territory.”

Colao, somewhat playfully, warmed to his theme. “I find the logic that DT is promoting an interesting idea. Here you have a national player who says that a competitor should not buy a regional cable company because this creates some kind of threat to something. If you follow that logic, then DT should be split in two – perhaps an east and west Deutsche Telekom.”

Over at DT’s stand in Hall 3, where the Germany-based player was holding its press conference, Hoettges repeated his concerns about the merger, which he said would be “unacceptable” from a competitive point of view.

Looking at the German market, which he said would be affected “big time” by such a joining of forces, Hoettges claimed again that the tie-up would create a cable monopoly. Vodafone Germany already has the cable assets of Kabel Deutschland under its wing, which, if bolstered further by Liberty Global’s German cable company Unitymedia, would create a formidable competitor in the fixed-mobile converged services space – an area in which Hoettges is keen on making inroads.

“The dominance of the TV market, combined with a telecommunications provider, is something I personally find very tricky for democracy,” he added. “From my perspective, this deal is very unlikely to get approval.”

For his part, Colao made plain that he wanted fair competition in the German telecoms sector.

Source: Mobile World Live 

Operators highlight mobile’s role in transforming lives

Industry executives at the Mobile World Congress highlight the leading role that the mobile communications industry is taking, and must take, in improving the lives of people all over the world, and how collaboration, partnership and leadership during this current period of digital disruption will be key to fuelling innovation, transforming industries and spurring new opportunities.

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During the opening keynote session at Mobile World Congress, Mats Granryd, GSMA director general, emphasised the important role that mobile will play in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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“As an industry, we have an opportunity – and, I would argue, an obligation – to leverage our mobile networks and services to help achieve the SDGs,” he said. “The mobile industry is helping people in times of disaster, reducing inequalities, helping to preserve the world’s resources, and we are positively impacting people’s lives every day.”

Marie Ehrling, chair of both Telia Company and security firm Securitas, said the industry must now lead and shape its future through a period of digital disruption, both in terms of strategy, actions and culture, and also emphasised the need for collaboration.

“Silo thinking is not only unadvisable, but also wouldn’t work. From every company I’ve worked with today, collaborative working environments are rich across industries and across markets. It’s one of the most important catalysts of success,” Ehrling said.

Shang Bing, chairman of China Mobile, called on mobile operators to engage in a “global conversation” with one another and relevant digital players to drive innovation.

He also echoed the views of other keynote speakers in that 5G would help boost economies worldwide, provided mobile operators cooperated with what he called “ICT industries”.

“No single company can do it all alone,” he said. “By working together we can make the cake bigger.”

This was especially true in developing ecosystems surrounding big data. “We want to create win-win digital ecosystems,” he added

During the keynote, NTT DoCoMo provided concrete details of its mid-term strategy, “Beyond”, which will take the Japan-based mobile operator into the 5G era from 2020 onwards. The operator plans to launch 5G in 2020 to coincide with the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In common with other keynote speakers Kazuhiro Yoshizawa, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo, emphasised the importance of “co-creation” strategies with partners to establish what he described as a “richer future with 5G”, also ensuring that people will be able to use 5G services on new 5G networks “from day one”.

To support this strategy, the operator has launched the DoCoMo 5G Open Partner Programme, and has already received expressions of interest from 610 entities that wish to participate.

As well as 5G, Granryd highlighted artificial intelligence as a new area of innovation, fuelled by the availability of high-speed connectivity, the mass-market adoption of smartphones and the power of machine learning.

However, both Granryd and José Maria Alvarez-Pallete, chairman and CEO of Telefonica, once again stressed the requirement for a regulatory environment that supports the communications industry’s enormous contribution to society and global economies.

“This industry makes huge investments every year and employs millions of professionals,” said Alvarez- Pallete. “In order to efficiently make all our contributions, we need an investment friendly framework. It is not about regulating others; it is about having a level playing field.”

Granryd echoed this message, saying: “We need an environment that provides higher levels of certainty and consistency,” including the timely release of harmonised spectrum, approval of effective consolidation, an even playing field for equivalent digital services, and the ability to harmonise international privacy and data protection rules.

“All of these are crucial to the development of a rich and vibrant digital economy and to the very future of our industry,” Granryd concluded.

Source: Mobile World Live

2018 to see ‘big bang’ moment for mobile IoT

The coming 12 months are expected to be an active period for mobile IoT technologies, with further network rollouts and the ongoing construction of a “vibrant” ecosystem to drive growth.

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According to Cheng Zhu, president of the Huawei cellular IoT product line, 2018 will see a “big bang” moment for networks based on narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT), with the number increasing to 100 from 28 in 2017, connections rising from 10 million to 150 million, and the number of ecosystem partners tripling to more than 3,000.

The mobile IoT journey is well underway, proclaimed Mohammad Chowdhury, partner at PwC Australia, with the number of commercial network launches based on both NB-IoT and LTE-M technologies now standing at 41 (32 NB-IoT and nine LTE-M).

Yet panellists at the 6th Mobile IoT Summit agreed that much more still has to be done to ensure than existing challenges with regard to cost, roaming, scalability, the simplification of services and devices, and security aspects are overcome.

Lory Thorpe, head of innovation & prototyping at Vodafone Group Enterprise, stressed that what has been made clear with mobile IoT is that collaboration has been and will continue to be key.

Shen Hong Qun, deputy general manager in the marketing department at China Mobile, agreed, saying that cooperation and a win-win ecosystem will drive the future prospects for mobile IoT.

Johannes Kaumanns, vice president IoT – strategy & business development at Deutsche Telekom, added that an important approach will be to develop services with the customer in mind from the beginning.

The panel agreed that NB-IoT and LTE-M are not in competition with other and are both required because they serve different use cases – such as lower power requirements with NB-IoT.

“We don’t see them converging,” added Vodafone’s Thorpe. “There is still a lot of work to be done in understanding how these technologies can work in the most optimized manner.

Source: Mobile World Live

Greater Accra Regional Police Command Calls On Telecoms Chamber

Accra; Wednesday 14th February 2018.

The Accra Regional Police Command (ARPC), led by DCOP Alex Mensah engaged with the Industry Association together with its Mobile Financial Service heads in a quest to build stronger collaboration to combat Mobile Money fraud and service security.

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Greater Accra Regional Police Command with Mobile Money Heads

Mobile Money fraud and attacks on agents continues to grow, which is a huge concern for the Mobile Industry and the Ghana Police.

DCOP Alex Mensah observed that, "since the start of the year 2018, the ARPC has recorded over thirty (30) cases of attacks on Mobile Money agents and countless reports of Mobile Money fraud."

The Ghana Police Service believes that, a concerted effort to enhance collaboration between the Mobile Industry and the Police would provide the necessary strategies to combat the menace.

Ing. Kenneth Ashigbey reiterated the Chambers commitment to working with the Police to mitigate the menace.

“Our members are more than willing to work with the Police to fight all mobile Industry related crimes as it hurts our members’ revenues and reputation” said Kenneth.

The meeting discussed other critical security issues and parties agreed to implement some key plans, while working to engage the media and general public to boost education about the service to enhance safety.