What’s up with… Chinese internet giants and Nvidia, BT, Tel…


In today’s industry news roundup: Major Chinese internet giants are rushing to obtain Nvidia chips, required for GenAI systems, in light of a new US ban; BT and Ericsson demonstrate the benefits of running 5G across FDD links; Telia appoints Eric Hageman as CFO from mid-September; and much more!

China’s internet giants are rushing to acquire high-performance Nvidia chips vital for building generative AI systems, according to Reuters, which cited the Financial Times. It reported that Baidu, TikTok-owner ByteDance, Tencent and Alibaba have collectively ordered some $5bn worth of high-performance A800 processors from Nvidia to be delivered this year and a further $4bn worth of graphics processing units to be delivered in 2024. This is another sign that the tech war between the US and China is heating up and comes as US President Biden signed an executive order prohibiting certain US investments in sensitive technology in China and requiring government notification of funding in other tech sectors. Fearing more restrictions it seems, the Chinese giants are getting their orders in fast.

In what’s being claimed as a European first, BT and Ericsson have demonstrated the transmission of 5G services in a wideband frequency division duplex (FDD) radio carrier (over 20MHz) within a sub-3 GHz spectrum band. The duo claimed this demonstrated the benefits of having 5G run across FDD links, helping pave the way for BT’s mobile arm, EE, to launch its ‘standalone’ version of 5G and, therefore, benefit from the three times capacity uplift provided by the single FDD carrier. Read more here.

Telia has hired ex-CFO of KPN, Eric Hageman, as its new executive vice president and group CFO, with effect from 15 September 2023. He will replace Per Christian Mørland whose departure from the company was announced in March. Hageman’s previous career path includes a stint as CEO of KPN Belgium, as well as CFO roles at TelecityGroup, IWG and William Hill. Hageman noted that Telia has “a unique position in the Nordics and Baltics”, and that he is excited to join the telco as the “positive impact” from digitalisation has “never been more important”. Another prominent top-level management shift at Telia shook the industry late last month when its CEO Allison Kirkby unveiled her decision to step down for the top job at BT – see BT names Allison Kirkby as its new CEO.

Telefónica Global Solutions (TGS) has become a worldwide partner of SpaceX’s Starlink low-earth orbit (LEO) constellation, delivering broadband internet across the globe, it claims. The agreement means TGS can integrate Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency enterprise solutions (fixed or mobile) into its portfolio. According to Telefónica, Starlink allows use cases that historically have not been possible with satellite internet, including the use of a dedicated terminal with wider reach and increased performance, resulting in higher availability in adverse weather conditions at higher speeds of up to 300-350 Mbit/s download.

Still on LEO satellites… OneWeb has signed a distribution partnership agreement to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband across the US for IP Access International, making OneWeb’s constellation the first to be integrated into IP Access International’s SuperGIG service, designed for public safety and enterprise-critical services.

Don’t you just love the term “unlocking new revenue streams”? It may conjure up an image of large sums of money straining to be released into your bank account, but of course the reality is nearly always more mundane. For instance, about 20% of all streaming video subscriptions are now sold through bundling partnerships with telecom services – a percentage expected to increase to 25% by 2028, according to UK/US industry research commissioned by digital payments and marketing technology specialist Bango. While this so-called “pass through” streaming service option might appear to reduce the potential telco monetisation opportunity, it’s gaining ground because it ticks boxes for telcos’ short-term imperatives. These include boosting annual revenue per unit (ARPU) on existing lines of business, creating new revenue streams, reducing customer churn and, perhaps most importantly, reducing customer acquisition costs, claimed the report. But in fact, given the diverse and competitive nature of the market, pass-through streaming and service provision is probably the only sensible option for telcos wanting to stay in the game. Therefore, according to Bango, future telco involvement will see the emergence of “super bundling” where as much as possible, including the kitchen sink, is thrown into the basic bundle and paid-for options are probably offered on top – think Amazon Prime.

– The staff, TelecomTV

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