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

Progress Report: The World’s Biggest Mobile Newcomers Ready for Launch

Following last month’s Progress Report in which we examined key wireless newcomers, today we scrutinize would-be major players who are finalizing their launch plans.

Progress Report: Evaluating Much-Hyped Mobile Newcomers

The last 18 months have seen commercial launches from three major wireless newcomers: Rakuten Mobile in Japan, DITO Telecommunity in the Philippines, and WOM in Colombia. 

The markets in question are very different, but each is ultra-competitive in nature. 

This week we examine the respective progress made by the three newcomers and evaluate whether they’re living up to the hype.

Myanmar Mobile Meltdown: Telenor’s Timeline of Telecom Turmoil

Earlier this month, Norway-based Telenor Group agreed to sell 100% of its mobile business in Myanmar to Lebanese investment firm M1 Group. The deal is valued at $105 million. 

As recently as 2013, Myanmar was hailed as the last untapped market in Asia, with global telecom giants jockeying to gain a foothold in the market. But since the country suffered a military coup in February 2021, international operators have watched nervously as conditions have deteriorated.

The Billionaire Dealmaker Who Just Acquired a 12.1% Stake in BT

Telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi was born in Casablanca, Morocco in 1963, before moving to France as a teenager.

His cosmopolitan reputation precedes him. He currently holds Israeli, French, and Portuguese citizenship. A renowned art lover, his 2019 takeover of British auction house Sotheby’s thrust him into the UK media spotlight. 

Understandably, his recent £2.2 billion ($3.1 billion) acquisition of a 12.1% stake in British communications giant BT has only intensified scrutiny on the notoriously private Drahi.

Behind the Madagascan Company in the Hunt for Africa’s Telecom Assets

Last month Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular sealed a pair of deals that will see it exit the African telecom sector once and for all.

Its stake in Ghanaian joint venture AirtelTigo was sold to the country’s government. Tigo Tanzania and Zanzibar Telecommunication (Zantel) were offloaded to a consortium led by Axian—the company that previously acquired Millicom’s Senegal-based business in 2018.

Tracking TracFone: Meet the Prepaid Provider Now Worth $6.25 Billion

In September 2020, U.S. telecom giant Verizon announced the surprise takeover of prepaid MVNO TracFone Wireless. The deal is worth a whopping $6.25 billion. 

Verizon hopes that the transaction will help it compete in the prepaid space, where T-Mobile U.S. and AT&T rule the roost with their Metro by T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless brands. 

Deal-Making Down Under: Oceania's Wave of Telecom M&A

Earlier this month, Australian telecom group Vocus accepted a $2.7 billion (AUD3.5 billion) takeover offer from a consortium comprising Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and the pension fund Aware Super. 

The deal is the latest in a series of Oceania-focused telecom takeovers.

Debt, Distrust, and Dealmaking: the Battle for Digicel Pacific

As GlobalComms Database users know, TeleGeography recently reclassified its regions. 

This basically means we kicked off 2021 with some Marie Kondo-level tidying by aligning our country-to-region mapping across all of our research. For the GlobalComms team, this included spinning out Oceania from Asia. 

Indeed, the exercise gave me the opportunity to check in on happenings in Oceania. And this is why I thought it was the perfect time to take a closer look at one of the region’s major developments: the likely sale of Digicel Pacific.

Tower Talk: Meet the Companies Buying Latin America’s Cell Towers

Latin America has been a hotbed of M&A activity in recent years.

And it isn’t just telecom operators that are changing hands—the tower sector has also accounted for a number of eye-catching deals across the region.

2020: The Essential CommsUpdate Selection

TeleGeography’s daily CommsUpdate newsletter has featured a staggering 76,000 telecom stories since making its debut back in December 2002! 

As a tumultuous year draws to a close, we’re looking back at the telecom stories that captured our readers’ attention during 2020. From shareholder shenanigans to mega-mergers, from tax disputes to 5G launches, the CommsUpdate team left no stone unturned in their quest to bring you the biggest daily news stories.