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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.

Monaco Telecom: The Small Telco Making its Mark

Earlier this year, Monaco Telecom (MT) entered Malta’s communications sector when it acquired Vodafone Malta. While its domestic operations are fairly small, the company now has three sizeable overseas businesses as subsidiaries.

The Brazilian Broadband Bonanza: Meet Regional Players with Big Plans

The Brazilian telecom sector is a hotbed of deal-making activity in 2020. And regional consolidation is a theme.

While industry observers are focused on the high-profile auction of Oi’s mobile assets—which is scheduled to take place on December 14—a series of broadband-centric deals have taken place under the radar.

Today, we explore the companies who are pulling the strings.

2G Bows Out, 5G Grows in South Korea

South Korea’s cellular sector is the scene of intense, cutthroat competition between its three mobile network operators (MNOs): SK Telecom (SKT), KT Corp, and LG Uplus. Advanced technology rollouts have been a key battleground for the trio.

Broadband Britain: Who is Buying the UK’s ISPs?

Earlier this month, UK fixed-line operator TalkTalk received a proposal from its minority shareholder Toscafund Asset Management.

Toscafund made an offer of GBP0.97 per share in a bid to take the company private. If approved by the company’s owners—who include founder Sir Charles Dunstone, the telco’s majority shareholder—the deal will value TalkTalk at a cool GBP1.1 billion.

Trouble for Telcos in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s telecom providers are facing a growing crisis as the dual effects of an ongoing economic meltdown and the COVID-19 outbreak hit hard.

Merger Mania: Has Altice USA Triggered the Next Phase of Cable Consolidation?

Altice USA recently saw its shocking takeover bid for Canada’s Cogeco rejected by the latter’s controlling shareholders, the Audet Family.

The unusually-structured deal would have seen U.S. cable player Altice retain Cogeco’s U.S. business, Atlantic Broadband. However, it would sell the company’s Canadian assets to Rogers Communications, which came as a surprise to industry observers in both markets.

Ten Groups Control 40% of Global Wireless Subscribers

After four months of work, the GlobalComms Team is thrilled to unveil a new section of the GlobalComms Database Service. Users can now explore our hub for all things groups, ownership, and M&A in the world of retail mobile, fixed broadband, and fixed voice.

To mark the new addition, we’re looking at some of the world’s largest multi-country wireless operators and the extent of their reach, as well as major telcos that are still under state control.

5G Slowly Makes Its Way Across U.S.

AT&T Communications is claiming “nationwide” coverage for its 5G network seven months after going live.

The firm’s 5G service is now available to 205 million consumers in 395 markets across the U.S.; notable recent additions to its network footprint include Little Rock, AR; Jacksonville, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Houston, TX.

The Companies Competing to Break One of Africa’s Last Mobile Monopolies

After years of speculation that market liberalization was coming in Ethiopia, in May 2020 authorities kick-started the long-awaited licensing process. The Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA) issued a request for expressions of interest (EoI) for two new telecom licenses.

With the deadline now passed, we look at the bidders vying to disrupt one of Africa’s last mobile monopolies.