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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.

3G’s Sun is Setting in Europe

More and more wireless operators in Europe are announcing plans to switch off their 3G networks to free up spectrum for newer, faster 4G and 5G services.

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.

Scandinavian Trio Concentrate on Home Markets

Scandinavian telco groups Telenor, Telia, and Tele2 have followed a similar international strategy over the past decade: exit most or all of their Eastern European and Asian operations to concentrate on business closer to home.

The disposals have been attributed to a number of factors depending on the market, including financial pressures, political unrest, and allegations of corruption.

The CommsUpdate Stories You've Been Reading (So Far) in 2021

Readers of CommsUpdate—our free daily email summary of the world’s top telecom news stories—have already seen some big headlines this year. 

We rounded up five specific stories you've been devouring in 2021. From 5G network deals to new players in Ethiopia's telecom market, here's what you've clicked and shared more than anything else as of late.

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.

Ericsson Awaits Huawei Decision

Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson could face a backlash in China following Sweden’s 2020 decision to ban cellcos from using Huawei gear in 5G networks.

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.

Yes, The 6G Race is Already On

While 5G is still in its early stages of deployment, there are already preparations being made for the introduction of its successor. The initial technical standards for 6G aren’t expected until the second half of this decade, but this hasn’t prevented some players from getting an early start.