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Curated: GSMA Intelligence takes on mobile news

April 2021

In this new monthly blog series, we explore recent mobile industry announcements, and why they matter to you and the ecosystem. These insights are based on our Industry Feed, one of the most complete repositories of mobile news in the market, curated daily by our team of experts.

In the last few weeks, there were several developments in the mobile industry involving, but not limited to: Open Ran deals, 5G launches, coverage expansion, private networks demos/trials, industry partnerships, network/operator closures, restructuring…and more.

From these recent events, the team selected two market developments, and pondering their impact on the future of the industry:

Spin-off, Sell, or Shuffle – What is the latest with restructuring in telecoms?

Do you know that…

Recently two big operators announced new restructuring plans. Bharti Airtel shuffled its existing structure and announced a new structure that involves: (1) folding “Airtel Digital – the digital assets company” in the main holding company “Bharti Airtel”, and (2) creating a new 100% owned subsidiary “Airtel Limited” that will focus on the telecom business of the company (includes DTH business that will eventually be folded into the main telecom company). Separately, SK Telecom announced plans to spin off its telecom businesses into a new separate entity. The existing entity, also referred to as surviving entity, will house the telecom businesses (including SK Broadband), and a new holding company will be created that will oversee the leading tech subsidiaries of SK Telecom dealing into businesses ranging from semi-conductors to e-commerce. In another news, Indosat – Indonesia has joined the club of operators monetizing their tower/infrastructure business. The operator completed the third and final sale of its tower assets involving sale of 4,200 towers at a value of USD 750 million. The proceeds from the sale will be used to improve network performance and launch digital innovations.

So what?

Whether it’s a spin-off, organizational shuffling, or asset sale, the purpose and focus of restructuring is same: Monetize non-core businesses, unlock valuations of tech subsidiaries, tap digital innovation opportunities, and drive future growth in telecom business.

Not one size fits all! The same structure might not work for all the operators universally but what will work is the identification of assets/business that can be monetized in some or the other form and leveraging those assets. For some, it can be the tower business whereas for others it can be e-commerce companies or digital channels that will unlock valuations and drive funds too.

In another news…

Operators and Vendors step up their efforts on 5G private networks

Do you know that…

Operators are quickly moving from the partnership stage to trials/demos and deployment of 5G private networks. In recent announcements from U.S., AT&T has developed a 5G private network at Chicago’s MxD to help companies learn how private 5G networks can improve their manufacturing operations while Verizon, on the other hand, along with AWS, is testing private MEC at Corning’s Smart factory. Outside the U.S, TDC – Denmark and Ericsson came together some time ago and launched private 5G network pilot at grundfos plant, the findings and learning are now shared as valuable insights for future applications. From Asia, Singtel launched GENIE, a portable 5G platform to enable enterprises to experience 5G’s capabilities and trial use cases in their own premises. Meanwhile, Edzcom deployed private 5G networks at Mussalo and Hietanen shipping terminals and NOS installed 5G network at Sport Lisboa e Benfica stadium.

Industry partnerships are also very important and require the ecosystem to come together to deliver private networks set-up for enterprises. In last few weeks, we saw this as a number of players joining forces in separate deals to bring private 5G networks to life. Some of them are:

  • Orange partners with Ericsson to provide private automotive connectivity to Applus+ IDIADA
  • T-Mobile to deploy 5G campus network for Czech university
  • Claro, Embratel and Ericsson set up 5G Smart Campus in Sorocaba
  • Siriraj Hospital teams up with Huawei to develop a cloud-based unified management system

So what…

Now is the time for players to gain first mover advantage when it comes to 5G private wireless networks. LTE private wireless networks are already on the market, but 5G is expected to unlock new opportunities. Industrial IoT and a number of other enterprise use cases demanding low latency, high throughput and secure communication can be realised with 5G private networks.  There are various business models at play in the deployment of private networks; identifying your role in these models and early partnerships to seize on the opportunity will give an operator/vendor leading edge.

Finally, do you know that…

All the above analysis is based on news curated by our team of analysts, and taken from our Industry Updates feed. Visit our feed today for more of the news shaping the mobile industry of tomorrow, without interference.


Radhika Gupta, Head of Data Acquisition, GSMA Intelligence

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