Trends

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.

2020: A Mixed Year for Russia’s Telcos

Russia’s four main telecom groups had varying levels of financial success in 2020. All operators suffered to some degree from the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but some fared better than others.

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.

Eight Billion and Rising: Wireless Market Grows Again in 2020

Figures from TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database show that the global wireless subscriber total has passed 8 billion. User numbers were up 1% in 2020, ending the year at 8.05 billion.

The cellular market showed year-on-year growth despite the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which contributed to downturns in user take-up in a number of countries.

Over 100 5G Network Launches in 2020

More than 100 5G mobile networks went live around the world during 2020.

This included launches in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Poland, Hong Kong, and Sweden.

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.