The Hottest CommsUpdate Stories of 2023 (So Far)

By Kristin LeeJul 19, 2023


CommsUpdate—our free daily summary of major telecom news around the world—has been jam-packed with red-hot headlines this year.

Now that we're more than halfway through 2023, let's look back at our most popular stories of the year. From Starlink expansion to a legal battle in South Sudan, these five stories have garnered the most attention since January.

Starlink enters the African market with first launch in Nigeria

SpaceX’s Starlink has been a big topic again this year.

In January, Nigeria became the first country in Africa to see a commercial launch of satellite broadband services by Starlink.

The CommsUpdate team reported the start of Starlink's expansion to Africa in May 2022, when the company received licenses to operate in Nigeria and Mozambique.

Rogers and Shaw complete merger; Videotron takes control of Freedom Mobile

The C$25 billion ($18.4 billion) merger between Canadian operators Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications concluded in April. The deal—which first reached agreement in March 2021—combined Rogers’ nationwide mobile network with both operators’ coast-to-coast fixed networks.

Separately, the acquisition of Freedom Mobile by Videotron was completed in April, creating a larger fourth mobile market player.

South Sudan to appeal Vivacell license suspension case

After Vivacell’s operating license was suspended by the South Sudan government in March 2018, parent company Al Fattouch Group took to the International Court of Arbitration.

The group demanded $3 billion in restitution from the government, and according to reports, was awarded $1 billion by the court. The government then sought to appeal.

In January 2022, South Sudan’s Council of Ministers approved the allocation of $4.48 million to appeal the case.

helloFiber says goodbye to German market

Also in January, the CommsUpdate team reported that helloFiber, the fiber-optic business established by Liberty Networks Germany in 2021, was shutting down due to “changed macroeconomic conditions.”

helloFiber had filed for insolvency, amid rising inflation and interest rate levels, as well as increasing fiber rollout costs with a shortage of construction capacity and the rising challenge of attracting communities with “suitable characteristics.”

United Group selling towers, not Telemach

In February, Amsterdam-based United Group denied press rumors that it may sell fixed and mobile operator Telemach Croatia. Instead, the group revealed that it was considering a spin-off of some base station and mobile tower assets.

At the time of writing, TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database noted that Telemach was the smallest of Croatia’s three mobile network operators in subscription terms, with around 18% of the overall market, behind Hrvatski Telekom (HT) and A1 Croatia.

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