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

The Panama Paper Trail: Tracking Five Years of Telecom Upheaval

Back in 2018, the Panamanian government rubber-stamped long-gestating plans to reduce the mobile market from four players to three, seeking to make better use of the country’s spectrum resources.

Despite multiple meetings, no breakthroughs were achieved, and all four operators were unwilling to concede ground.

Five years later, multiple international telecom groups have exited Panama and the authorities find themselves in the unusual position of trying to attract a new operator to fill the void.

Today, we track the key events that led to this point.

2022: The Essential CommsUpdate Selection

Our daily CommsUpdate newsletter has featured a staggering 82,000 telecom stories since making its debut back in December 2002!

Twelve months is a long time in the world of telecom. So as another eventful year draws to a close, we’re looking back at the telecom stories that captured our readers’ attention during 2022.

From SIM card registration to Simba Telecom, satellite broadband to Standalone 5G, the CommsUpdate team left no stone unturned in their quest to bring you the biggest daily news stories from around the world.

Read on for the most popular CommsUpdate stories of 2022.  

CommsUpdate Is 20!

Since making its debut back in December 2002, our daily CommsUpdate newsletter has featured a staggering 82,000 telecom stories and now ranks as one of the most extensive telecom news resources in the world.

Born out of desk research for TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database Service, CommsUpdate is produced by a team based in the historic city of Exeter in Devon, England.

CommsUpdate actually has its roots in the Communications Update newsletter launched by CIT Publications on September 6, 1999. CIT Publications eventually merged with TeleGeography to create the telecom research giant you now know. 

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of CommsUpdate, let's take a look at some of the choice telecom headlines of December 2002. We'll see what has changed in this ever-evolving industry—and what (if anything) has stayed the same. 

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.