Friday, September 2, 2016

Verizon Confirms Cat M1 Rollout

Verizon confirmed plans to deploy Category M1 connectivity solutions on its 4G LTE network to support IoT. Verizon expects to launch Cat M1 connectivity by the end of this year.

Category M1 (or Cat M1) refers to sensors and devices requiring lower throughput, extended battery life (for some use cases) and better power efficiency than current IoT solutions.

Verizon said it is working closely with industry-leading chipset, modules and device partners to drive the ecosystem towards the next-generation of IoT use cases. Partners include Altair, Sequans, U-Blox, Telit, Sierra Wireless, Gemalto, Nokia, Ericsson and others.

“Up until now, the cost to connect devices to a wide-area network has been a barrier to widespread IoT,” said Rosemary McNally, vice president Mobile Devices & OS Technology at Verizon. “By evolving our device ecosystem to include Cat M1, we’re aligning Verizon’s 4G LTE network to the needs of future IoT deployments. We are also taking direct aim at emerging low power wireless access (LPWA) solutions, which have entered the U.S. market, but do not offer the same level of scale, coverage and security as LTE.”

Verizon's ThingSpace Ties IoT with Data Analytics and Cloud

Verizon launched ThingSpace, a new IoT platform allowing developers to create applications, customers to manage devices, partners to market their services, and Verizon to launch integrated vertical solutions in an open environment.

Thingspace, which will leverage an existing ecosystem of more than 1,000 channel partners and revenue from the company's IoT and telematics business, promises to accelerate innovation and adoption of IoT devices.  At a press event in San Francisco, Verizon's executives said the industry is poised to move from millions to billions of connected devices and sensors in the coming years. To achieve this, Verizon is creating a new dedicated network core and new connectivity options for the next-generation of IoT use cases in verticals such as agriculture, healthcare, the consumer electronics evolution and the sharing economy.

Verizon has created a core IoT network within its LTE architecture optimized for Cat1 devices.  The company is also working with partners to embed LTE chipsets in a wide-range of connected machines to automate the provisioning process and make it faster to deploy IoT devices on its wide-area network

Significantly, Verizon will offer a big data analytics engine tied into its IoT deployments. ThingSpace will provide end-to-end management of IoT environments and related data, from device to network to application. The goal is to offer hundreds of APIs via the Thingspace environment. The data and analytics engine is being developed at the Verizon labs in Palo Alto, California.

Zayo Lands Layer 2 Networking Contract

Zayo announced a contract to supply a Layer 2 network connecting more than 20 locations in North America, South America and Europe for a leading location intelligence company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The network leverages existing Zayo network, including recently acquired assets from Allstream and Viatel. Zayo is providing a Layer 2 solution that enables the customer to connect key office locations with core data centers, integrating into its multi-vendor network.

“Zayo’s rich assets in the North America and Europe, in addition to our expansive Global Reach partnerships, made this the ideal combination of capabilities for this customer,” said Tyler Coates, senior director, Ethernet at Zayo. “We look forward to building this relationship as we continue to leverage our technology and the power of our global assets.”

Is the Axiata Group of Malaysia just a smaller version of Singtel? - Part 2

 Foreword: -- Is the Axiata Group of Malaysia just a smaller version of Singtel? --Part 2 ------Some further data from the Axiata 2015 AR shows the distribution of revenue by country or group 

In thousands of Malaysian ringgits 

------------------>                    REVENUE.            EBITDA.          PROFIT 
MALAYSIA.                        7,330,177               2,719,163.          1,301,311 
INDONESIA                        6,619,966               2,512,587              (10,932) 
BANGLADESH.                 2,622,844                   944,179.            200,438 
SRI LANKA                        2,081,835.                 684,315.               98,581 
OTHERS.                             1,756,355.                452,831.           1,075,272 
ELIMINATIONS. (527,717). (29,021). (28,602) 
TOTAL 19,883,460. 7,284,054. 2,636,068 

As can be seen Malaysia provides just under 37% of total revenue but almost half total profit; Others are amazingly profitable 
The rest appear in poor shape profit wise. 

Recent news 
--------------------News just in on Axiata merger in Bangladesh 
On September 1st 2016, Axiata Group Bhd and Bharti Airtel Ltd received the approval of Bangladesh's High Court to merge their operations in the country. 

On completion of the merger, Axiata would hold a controlling 68.7% stake in the combined entity, while Bharti would own 25%. The remaining 6.3% would be held by existing shareholder NTT DoCoMo of Japan. Bharti Airtel Bangladesh is reported to have around 17 million mobile customers compared to Axiata Bangladesh's existing 50 million 

However, the merger fee and spectrum charge will come to almost RM320mil in total. Previously the possibility of very high charges had threatened to derail the merger. 

In its statement to the stock exchange on Thursday, Axiata did not say whether it would appeal, or consider to appeal, for a lower amount. 

Axiata had originally targeted to complete the merger transaction in the first half of 2016. In the latest announcement to Bursa Malaysia, it gave the fourth quarter of 2016 as the new deadline. The court in Bangladesh also ruled that spectrums assigned to Robi Axiata and to Airtel Bangladesh respectively prior to the proposed merger would continue to be used by the amalgamated company for the time period stipulated in the letter of assignment or license. 

-------------------Axiata could get control of M1 in Singapore 

In late January 2016, Bloomberg reported that, according to some of its private sources, Temasek Singapore's sovereign wealth fund was considering possible adjustments in their stock holdings by two of Temasek's portfolio companies namely Keppel and Sembcorp Marine, the world's No. 1 and No. 2 maker of oil rigs, of which Temasek owned 21.0% and. 49.5% respectively. 
Orders at Keppel and Sembcorp Marine, had dropped in 2015 to their weakest level in six years as falling crude prices crimped demand for drilling equipment and the two companies also faced cancellation risks from a major client in Brazil. Temasek also did not believe the demand for oil rigs would recover for at least three years. 

According to Bloomberg's informants, Temasek was considering the possibility of Keppel selling its 19.1 percent stake in wireless operator M1 Ltd. and paring its 44.6 percent interest in office landlord Keppel REIT. 
In early March 2016 a report by BMI Research suggested that if Keppel Corporation decided to sell off its 19.08% stake in mobile operator M1, then Temasek and, the Axiata Group which currently held a 28.32%* in M1 would be the most obvious buyers of Keppel’s stake. In Axiata's case acquiring Keppel’s stake would enable Axiata to own a controlling stake in M1, which in turn would give it better control over the telco's business direction and assets. 

Meanwhile, Keppel’s divestment would mean that the Singapore government, which holds stakes in all three operators, would be losing a major stake in the country's smallest operator. 

NB* Shown as 29.12% in Part 1 


Axiata's subsidiary Idea Cellular has been doing very well in India generally gaining share every month and is definitively the country's third largest operator The company now has a clear 17 % mobile market share only 2.2 pp behind Vodafone 

In early June 2016, Axiata Digital invested $16 million in four years old StoreKing of India which uses modern low-cost technology kiosks equipped with low-cost TV monitors and Android tablets to provide a simple self-service shopping experience to small-town shoppers. 
With presence in over 1,200 towns, StoreKing’s model enables rural retailers to sell over 50,000 products to walk-in customers via the digital kiosks. The retail shop owner helps customers use the mobile kiosk, select products and make cash payment to the retailer. In return, a receipt is given and StoreKing ships the products to the retail store within 24-48 hours. Users then can collect their order from these retail stores. 
Currently, StoreKing operates 16,000 mobile kiosks with a network of local stores across south India. It claims to deliver over 150,000 orders every month from a base of over 1 million. 

--------------------Need to reduce debt in Indonesia 

At the end of March 2016, PT XL Axiata Tbk, signed an agreement to sell 2,500 of its broadcast towers to tower provider PT Professional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo) for Rp 3.5 trillion (US$267.2 million) in an effort to pay off some of the company’s debt. 
XL Axiata finance director Mohamed Adlan bin Ahmad Tajudin explained that the sale of the towers was part of the company'€™s strategy to reduce its total debt, which stands at Rp 26.9 trillion and is due in 2020. 

Axiata and Singtel do appear to be rather closely competitive in Indonesia, India, Bangladesh and Singapore. Both companies seem to have similar strategies but Axiata does not seem quite big enough to execute well