Sunday, April 26, 2020

John Stankey to take over as AT&T's CEO on July 1

John Stankey will take over as CEO of AT&T effective July 1, 2020, replacing the retiring Randall Stephenson (60) who has served in the position for the past 13 years.

Stephenson will continue to serve as Executive Chairman of AT&T until January 2021.

John Stankey (57) has served as President and Chief Operating Officer of AT&T since October 2019. He joined AT&T in 1985 and has served in a variety of roles, including: CEO of WarnerMedia; CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group; Chief Strategy Officer; Chief Technology Officer; CEO of AT&T Operations; and CEO of AT&T Business Solutions. He holds a bachelor's degree in finance from Loyola Marymount University and an M.B.A. from UCLA.

“I’m honored to be elected the next CEO of AT&T, a company with a rich history and a bright future,” said Stankey. “My thanks go to Randall for his vision and outstanding leadership during a period of tremendous change and investment in the core capabilities needed to position AT&T well for the years ahead. And I appreciate the Board’s confidence in me leading the company during our next chapter of growth and innovation in keeping people connected, informed and entertained. We have a strong company, leading brands and a great employee team, which I’m privileged to lead. I couldn’t be more excited about the new opportunities we have to serve our customers and communities and create value for our shareholders.”

Stephenson said, “I congratulate John, and I look forward to partnering with him as the leadership team moves forward on our strategic initiatives while navigating the difficult economic and health challenges currently facing our country and the world. John has the right experiences and skills, and the unflinching determination every CEO needs to act on his convictions. He has a terrific leadership team onboard to ensure AT&T remains strong and continues to deliver for customers and shareholders for years to come.”

AT&T’s John Donovan steps down

John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, will retire effective October 1. Donovan joined AT&T in 2008 as Chief Technology Officer, overseeing the company’s global technology direction and innovation road map. He was then promoted to AT&T’s Chief Strategy Officer and Group President—AT&T Technology and Operations, before being named CEO of AT&T Communications in July 2017.


“It’s been my honor to lead AT&T Communications during a period of unprecedented innovation and investment in new technology that is revolutionizing how people connect with their worlds,” said John Donovan. “All that we’ve accomplished is a credit to the talented women and men of AT&T, and their passion for serving our customers. I’m looking forward to the future – spending more time with my family and watching with pride as the AT&T team continues to set the pace for the industry.”


FCC prepares to revoke US operating authority of Chinese carriers

The Federal Communications Commission issued Show Cause Orders to China Telecom Americas, China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks, and ComNet. The order provides a 30-day period for the carriers to explain why the FCC should not initiate proceedings to revoke their authority to operate in the U.S.

Commissioner Carr issued the following statement:

“Last year, when we blocked China Mobile from entering the U.S. market based on national security concerns, I said it was time for a top to bottom review of every telecom carrier with ties to the communist regime in China.  I am pleased with the progress we are making on that front, as evidenced by today’s Show Cause orders. Over the past few weeks, Americans have learned that they no longer need to page through dusty foreign policy magazines to understand the consequences that flow from communist China’s brutal crackdown on freedom and free speech.  The communist party’s silencing of critics and its disappearance of hero doctors and citizen journalists exacerbated the global spread of Covid-19.  Americans are now experiencing the consequences of those oppressive actions in their own lives—whether in the loss of their jobs or their kids not being able to attend school due to Covid-19.

“Since communist China is willing to disappear its own people to advance the regime’s geopolitical agenda, it is appropriate for the FCC to closely scrutinize telecom carriers with ties to that regime.  This is a prudent step to ensure the security of America’s telecom networks.  In the Show Cause orders issued today, we give carriers 30 days to explain why the FCC should not initiate proceedings to revoke their authority.  They now have the opportunity to provide evidence showing that they are not subject to the exploitation, influence, and control of the Chinese government such that we should not look to revoke their authority to operate in the U.S.  I look forward to reviewing the record that develops and reaching a final decision on those key issues.”


  • China Telecom Americas, which is the largest subsidiary of China Telecom Corporation, has its headquarters in Herndon, Virginia, and offices in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose, Toronto and São Paulo. 
  • It owns and operates three Tier 1 global networks: ChinaNet (AS 4134), CN2 (AS 4809) and CTG Net (AS 36778)
  • It is a partial owner of several trans-Pacific cable systems, including China-U.S., Japan-U.S., SEA-ME-WE3 in APCN2, SMW3, SMW5, FASTER, Flag, TAE, and others. 



Deutsche Telekom to extend 5G to 50% of Germany this year

Deutsche Telekom announced a commitment to bring 5G coverage to 50% of Germany's population this year. By year-end, customers in all German states will have broad access to Telekom's 5G
network.

"We have big plans for 5G and will bring the latest mobile communications standard to large parts of Germany before the end of the year," says Telekom Deutschland CEO Dirk Wössner. "I am delighted that the network will be even better for our customers. Preparations in the network are in full swing to ensure that as many people as possible get the new technology quickly. In the city and in the countryside."

https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/5g-for-germany-598886

Deutsche Telekom kicks off 5G rollout

Deutsche Telekom has kicked off its 5G rollout in Germany and expects to have 300 5G antennas in more than 100 locations online by the end of the year.

The first six German cities with 5G include Berlin, Bonn, Darmstadt, Hamburg, Leipzig, and Munich. In the upcoming 18 months, the 20 largest cities in Germany will all be connected with 5G.

"We punched our ticket for a 5G future with the spectrum auction. Our goal now is to get 5G to the streets, to our customers, as quickly as possible. Nearly three-quarters of our antenna locations in Germany are connected with optical fiber – we're now building on that," says Dirk Wössner, Member of the Board of Management, Deutsche Telekom, and Managing Director, Telekom Deutschland GmbH. "Our teams are working hard in every area. Whether we're talking about the network, rate plans, or devices and applications – we're speeding up to get 5G started this year. At the same time, we need a clear regulatory framework and pragmatism from the authorities – particularly when it comes to questions regarding regional spectrum, local roaming, allocation of the auction proceeds, and the approval procedures – which takes far too long in Germany."

In parallel, Deutsche Telekom is working on 5G campus networks, together with industrial users. In this approach, the network build-out follows the specific needs of business customers. "We're already working on the 5G network with Osram and automotive supplier ZF," says Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member, Technology and Innovation. "Whether mobility concepts in cities, manufacturing in the industry of tomorrow, or virtual reality in the entertainment sector is involved: 5G is the key. And the industry can count on us as a partner in the 5G rollout."

AWS releases Augmented Artificial Intelligence service

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the general availability of Amazon Augmented Artificial Intelligence (A2I), a fully managed service that helps developers add human review for model predictions to new or existing applications using reviewers from Mechanical Turk, third party vendors, or their own employees.

Amazon A2I provides over 60 pre-built human review workflows for common machine learning tasks (e.g. object detection in images, transcription of speech, and content moderation, etc.) that allow machine learning predictions from Amazon Rekognition and Amazon Textract to be human-reviewed more easily. Developers who build custom machine learning models in Amazon SageMaker (or other on-premises or cloud tools) can set up human review for their specific use case in the Augmented AI console or via its Application Programming Interface (API). After setting a confidence threshold for model predictions, developers can choose to have predictions below that threshold reviewed by Amazon Mechanical Turk and its 500,000 global workforce of independent contractors, third-party organizations who specialize in business process outsourcing (e.g. iVision, CapeStart Inc., and iMerit), or their own private, in-house reviewers.

“We often hear from our customers that Amazon SageMaker helps speed training, tuning, and deploying custom machine learning models, while fully managed services like Amazon Rekognition and Amazon Textract make it easy to build applications that incorporate machine learning without requiring any machine learning expertise. But even with these advancements, our customers still say there are critical use cases where human judgment is required like in law enforcement investigations, or times when human review can be used to resolve the ambiguity in predictions when confidence levels fall below a given threshold for less sensitive use cases, and the current human review process involves a lot of custom effort and cost,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, Vice President, Amazon Machine Learning, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “Today, we’re excited to help our customers remove another obstacle to building machine learning applications with the launch of Amazon A2I, which makes it significantly easier and faster to incorporate human judgment into machine learning applications in order to ensure higher quality predictions over a sustained period of time.”

Amazon A2I is available today in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Canada (Central), EU West (London), EU West (Ireland), EU (Frankfurt), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), Asia Pacific (Sydney), Asia Pacific (Seoul), and Asia Pacific (Mumbai).

Verizon reports Q1 revenue and COVID-19 related impacts

Verizon reported total consolidated operating revenues in first-quarter 2020 of $31.6 billion, down 1.6 percent from first-quarter 2019. This decline was primarily the result of growth in wireless service revenue in the Consumer and Business segments, more than offset by sharp reductions in equipment revenue, after social distancing measures were adopted in March, limiting in-store customer engagement. Verizon reported EPS of $1.00, compared with $1.22 in first-quarter 2019. The company estimates that first-quarter 2020 EPS and adjusted EPS included approximately negative 4 cents of COVID-19-related net impacts, primarily driven by an increase to its bad debt reserve.

"Verizon began 2020 with strong operational performance," said Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg. "In an unprecedented time, Verizon took decisive and balanced actions that will serve our stakeholders in the long term, including protecting our employees, maintaining our network quality and reliability, serving our customers, and supporting our communities. We will emerge from this crisis stronger, knowing we provided critical connectivity to our customers, and especially our first responders, while maintaining our commitment to investing in our 5G and Fiber strategies. We are particularly proud of our employees who continue to deliver essential services to our customers and those on the front lines so they can serve others."

Consumer highlights

  • Total Verizon Consumer revenues were $21.8 billion, a decrease of 1.7 percent year over year, driven by strong service revenue and other revenue growth, more than offset by a significant decrease in wireless equipment revenue due to low volume activity.
  • As a result of COVID-19, Verizon closed nearly 70 percent of its company-operated retail locations and reduced in-store service hours to promote social distancing. This resulted in a significant drop in customer activity and device volumes for the quarter. Consumer reported 525,000 wireless retail postpaid net losses in first-quarter 2020. This consisted of 307,000 phone net losses and 227,000 tablet net losses, offset by 9,000 other connected device net additions. Postpaid smartphone net losses were 167,000.
  • Consumer wireless service revenues were $13.5 billion in first-quarter 2020, a 0.9 percent increase year over year.
  • Total retail postpaid churn was 1.01 percent in first-quarter 2020, and retail postpaid phone churn was 0.77 percent.
  • Consumer reported 59,000 Fios Internet net additions as work-from-home, in-home schooling, and other related measures increased the demand for high-quality broadband offerings. Consumer reported 84,000 Fios Video net losses in first-quarter 2020, reflecting the ongoing shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings.
  • In first-quarter 2020, segment operating income was $7.3 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent year over year, and segment operating income margin was 33.5 percent, an increase from 32.7 percent in first-quarter 2019. Segment EBITDA (non-GAAP) totaled $10.1 billion in first-quarter 2020, a decrease of 0.4 percent year over year. Segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP) was 46.4 percent in first-quarter 2020, up from 45.8 percent in first-quarter 2019.

Business highlights

  • Total Verizon Business revenues were $7.7 billion, down 0.5 percent year over year. Business trends were strong throughout first-quarter 2020. Starting in March, Business saw heightened demand for its products and services, specifically for mobility, jetpacks, VPN services and high speed circuit capacity, and experienced increased activity to support front line crisis responders, new work-from-home and home schooling arrangements, and other demands for critical connectivity services.
  • Business reported 475,000 wireless retail postpaid net additions in first-quarter 2020, compared with 264,000 in first-quarter 2019. This consisted of 239,000 phone net additions, 60,000 tablet net additions, and 176,000 other connected device additions.
  • Business' customer-centric approach led to an effective response to the needs of its business customers at the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. In wireless, this led to a total retail postpaid churn of 1.30 percent in first-quarter 2020, and retail postpaid phone churn of 1.02 percent.
  • In first-quarter 2020, segment operating income was $954 million, a decrease of 9.0 percent year over year, and segment operating income margin was 12.4 percent, compared with 13.6 percent in first-quarter 2019. Segment EBITDA (non-GAAP) totaled $2.0 billion in first-quarter 2020, a decrease of 5.8 percent year over year. Segment EBITDA margin (non-GAAP) was 25.6 percent, down from 27.1 percent in first-quarter 2019.

FCC updates satellite orbital debris rules

The FCC updated its satellite rules on orbital debris mitigation for the first time since 2004.

Specifically, the new rules improve the specificity and clarity of rules that require disclosure of debris mitigation plans by satellite companies.  The changes include requiring that satellite applicants assign numerical values to collision risk, probability of successful post-mission disposal, and casualty risk associated with those satellites that will re-enter earth’s atmosphere.  Satellite applicants will also have new disclosure requirements related to protecting inhabitable spacecraft, maneuverability, use of deployment devices, release of persistent liquids, proximity operations, trackability and identification, and information sharing for situational awareness.  The new rules also update the process for geostationary orbit satellite license term extension requests.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated "Today, for the first time in 15 years, we are adopting new rules to mitigate the threat posed by orbital debris, including regulations involving satellite design, better disposal procedures, and active collision avoidance.  15 years is an eternity in this fast-moving sector, and the time has come to address this critical issue.  The rules that we adopt today take a balanced approach: mitigating the risk posed by orbital debris, while at the same time continuing to light a regulatory path for space-based innovation." 

ZTE reports Q1 sales and commits 15% to R&D

ZTE reported Q1 2020 operating revenue of RMB 21.484 billion (approximately US$3.03 billion), net profit attributable to holders of ordinary shares of the listed company of RMB 780 million, and net profit after extraordinary items attributable to holders of ordinary shares of the listed company amounted of RMB160 million, representing a year-on-year increase of 20.5%. Basic earnings per share was RMB0.18.

For the three months ended 31 March 2020, the research and development costs amounted to RMB3.241 billion, 15.1% of operating revenue, increased by 1.2 percentage point compared to the same period last year.

During Q1, ZTE collaborated with operators to guarantee the communication services of the front line against COVID-19. It has constructed 4G/5G networks and telemedicine diagnosis systems for hundreds of hospitals in China.  A part of the effort, ZTE released 5G remote diagnosis and mobile diagnosis services, as well as the smart video cloud solution for epidemic prevention and control. Moreover, the company launched a family "cloud classroom" services to support online education.

ADVA reported Q1 revenue of EUR 133 million

On April 22, ADVA reported Q1 2020 revenue of EUR 132.7 million, a decrease of 12.2% from EUR 151.1 million in Q4 2019 and an increase of 3.5% from EUR 128.2 million in the same year-ago period.

Pro forma operating income for Q1 2020 was negative EUR 1.7 million (-1.3% of revenues), substantially down from EUR 10.3 million (6.8% of revenues) in Q4 2019 and also down from EUR 2.7 million (2.1% of revenues) in the same year-ago period. Operating income for Q1 2020 of negative EUR 4.0 million significantly decreased from EUR 5.4 million reported for Q4 2019 and decreased from EUR 0.9 million in the same year-ago quarter. ADVA reported a net loss of EUR 7.2 million in Q1 2020 that decreased significantly from a net income of EUR 2.5 million in Q4 2019 and declined from a net income of EUR 1.0 million in Q1 2019.

The company attributed its decline in profitability mainly to the lockdown in Wuhan at the beginning of the first quarter and to significant project-related shifts in the product and customer mix in Q1 2020.

“We are currently experiencing a crisis that is unprecedented in the history of the modern, industrialized world. Covid-19 knows no national borders, affects all continents and creates severe challenges for all of us,” said Brian Protiva, CEO, ADVA. “As a network equipment supplier, we serve some of the world’s most critical communications infrastructures. As such, we’re doing everything humanly possible to remain fully operational, while protecting the safety and health of our employees, partners and customers. Order entry from a few large customers was strong in the first quarter, and our main focus is on maintaining our ability to deliver. We have developed a very agile and flexible supply chain, and our development and distribution centers have so far largely avoided the crisis. Apart from a few minor exceptions, our production and supply chains are intact. Clearly, this can worsen suddenly, and that’s why we have developed a strategy that enables us to compensate for production and delivery bottlenecks due to possible location closures.”

“Despite elevated levels of uncertainty on the demand and supply side, we operate in a framework of financial resilience,” commented Uli Dopfer, CFO, ADVA. “We were able to improve our operating cash flow compared to the year-ago quarter while our cash balance of EUR 52.8 million remained on a comfortable level. We have a strong order backlog and are confident that we will grow sequentially in Q2 2020. So far, we haven’t utilized any of the Covid-19-related government loans. However, we are reviewing all meaningful opportunities and actively manage our working capital to ensure balance sheet stability and financial flexibility.”

https://www.adva.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/20200423-adva-posts-quarterly-revenues-of-eur-132-7-million-for-q-1-2020

DISH to deploy Mavenir for Cloud-native Open RAN

Mavenir confirmed that it has been awarded a multi-year agreement by DISH Network to supply its cloud-native OpenRAN software. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“The open and intelligent architecture of our greenfield network will give us the ability to source a diverse technology ecosystem, including U.S.-based solution providers,” said Marc Rouanne, DISH’s Chief Network Officer. “Mavenir will help us lay the foundation for an innovative software-defined network with the flexibility, intelligence and scalability to deliver applications that will redefine the U.S. wireless industry.”

“We are honored to be partnering with DISH Network and being recognized for our innovation and leadership in developing and delivering innovative solutions,” said Pardeep Kohli, President and CEO of Mavenir. “Working with DISH, we will be supporting the deployment of the world’s largest cloud-native OpenRAN 5G network.”

Airtel India picks Ceragon to boost 4G capacity

Bharti Airtel has selected Ceragon Networks' wireless hauling products for additional 4G network expansions beginning first quarter of 2020. Ceragon is an existing supplier to Airtel. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Airtel is looking to increase 4G network capacity in urban areas and expand its coverage in rural regions as well as prepare for its future evolution to 5G. Ceragon said it is working closely with Airtel to pursue rapid deployment of its microwave radios, as best it can, considering India's recent temporary lockdown.

"As an established strategic partner of Airtel for over a decade, Ceragon delivers innovative technology, products and services that enable us to achieve quick and dynamic network deployments", said Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology Officer of Airtel. "Ceragon's wireless hauling solutions and services allow us to quickly adapt to our customers' changing needs and deliver higher speeds with reliable, first-time-right rollouts." 

See also