Tom Leins

Tom Leins is a Senior Research Analyst for TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. Based out of the company’s UK office, he also contributes to the company’s daily CommsUpdate newsletter, which includes his popular weekly MVNO Monday round-up. MVNO industry aside, Tom has developed a strong specialization in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean, tracking mergers and acquisitions, spectrum auctions, regulatory developments, market opportunities, and growth trends.

Recent Posts

How MTN Hung Up on the Middle East

Last month, it was revealed that South Africa’s MTN Group received a $31 million offer from an unnamed buyer for 100% of the shares in its Afghanistan subsidiary. The deal means that MTN is another step closer to exiting the Middle East.

Today, we take a look at how MTN set about dismantling its Middle Eastern portfolio and examine its exit strategy.

A Spanish Sub-Brand Squeeze Out

The last year has seen a number of well-known sub-brands withdraw from the Spanish mobile market, as telecom giants like Telefonica and Orange have sought to streamline their respective product portfolios.

Today we take a closer look at the history of these brands—and their untimely demises.

Meet the Cellcos Serving Rural America: Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our analysis of the regional cellular scene in the United States!

In this installment, we scrutinize some of the most interesting cellcos operating in far-flung corners of rural America.

If you missed Part 1 of our deep dive, you can catch up here.

Meet the Cellcos Serving Rural America: Part 1

The U.S. mobile market is notoriously ultra-competitive, and household names like Sprint aren't the only ones to have been squeezed out in recent years.

Since 2020, Verizon Wireless has snapped up regional players such as Chat Mobility, Bluegrass Cellular, Triangle Mobile, and Chariton Valley Communications.

Tellingly, all four operators were participants in the telecom giant’s “LTE in Rural America” program, which leased 700MHz of spectrum to regional players in areas where Verizon had no intention of deploying infrastructure. After going live in 2010, the project was completed in October 2015, when all 21 participants were confirmed to be operational.

At the program’s peak, operators collectively covered more than 2.7 million people across 169 rural counties in 15 states.

Despite Verizon’s low-key takeover spree, dozens of smaller players continue to thrive in the U.S. This week we take a deep dive into the regional cellular scene and uncover the cellcos serving rural America.

Mobile Merger Season: Examining M&A Activity Across Asia

Recent months have seen an unprecedented level of M&A activity across Asia’s mobile markets, with eye-catching deals in Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

Today we examine the players reshaping the Asian telecom landscape.

Scandinavian Skirmishes & Baltic Battlegrounds: Reviewing Regional Rivalries

Last year we investigated how major Scandinavian telecom groups Telenor, Telia, and Tele2 have followed a similar international strategy over the past decade: divesting the bulk of their Eastern European and Asian operations to concentrate on business closer to home.

Today we examine their ongoing activities within Scandinavia and the Baltic States and inspect how 5G and M&A continue to drive their respective strategies.

Meet the Acquisition-Hungry ICT Firm Gobbling Up Telcos Across Eastern Europe

The telecom landscape in Eastern Europe has changed dramatically over the last decade, with sustained deal-making reshaping a number of markets across the region.

The latest player to jump aboard the M&A merry-go-round is 4iG, an ICT firm based in Budapest. Today, we take a look at the company’s key takeover deals to date.

Fresh Blood: Meet The Newcomers Who Acquired 5G Spectrum in Brazil

Brazil’s long-awaited 5G spectrum auction drew to a close in November. It generated total commitments of BRL47.2 billion ($8.5 billion). 

Alongside bids from major players Telefonica Brasil (Vivo), Claro Brasil, and TIM Brasil—and established regional players like Algar Telecom and Sercomtel—the auction featured a number of lesser-known participants. 

Today we scrutinize the other companies that scooped up 5G frequencies and examine their plans.

Cold as Ice: Former Ice Cream Vendor Scoops Up Telecom Assets Across Europe

When the Portuguese 5G auction concluded in October 2021—after a wearying nine months and 1,727 rounds of bidding—the glacial pace looked set to strip the frequency sale of any remaining excitement.

But not so fast.

Out of this World: The International Satellite Broadband Battle Intensifies

Starlink—the satellite broadband venture established by Elon Musk’s SpaceX business—has attracted plenty of attention this year, especially as the outspoken entrepreneur continues to share his company’s ambitious plans on social media. 

With fellow tycoon Jeff Bezos plotting an alternative satellite broadband launch via Project Kuiper, the two billionaires have become embroiled in an increasingly bitter public feud in recent months.

But these two heavyweights aren’t the only parties determined to enter the satellite broadband sector. From China, to Canada, to the UK, let’s break down the key international players targeting the low earth orbit (LEO) sector to see how their respective proposals stack up.