Monday, September 4, 2017

BT unveils “Business Platform-as-a-Service”

BT unveiled its new “Business Platform-as-a-Service” for helping enterprise customers engage in digital transformation.

The service lets enterprises use the BT Personalised Compute Management System (PCMS) to enable them to sell, fulfil and monetise their own portfolio of digital services.

This is the same platform that BT uses for its own cloud portfolio.

BT said enterprises wanting rapid entry into the cloud market will be able to resell its existing digital ecosystem services, such as Cloud Compute, Compute Storage and Apps , or develop their own new services. BT's platform offers more than 45 fully digitalised business support processes, such as product management, customer management, user authentication, order management, service management and billing and collections.

Services are deliverd from 22 BT locations around the world.

“PCMS brings to life a vision of how businesses can innovate in the digital economy. It is a ready-made platform that allows new ways for companies to digitalise, manage and build profitable business models from their own vibrant ecosystem of consumers, producers and innovators," stated Neil Lock, vice president Compute, Global Services, BT.

http://www.btplc.com/News/#/pressreleases/bt-announces-business-platform-as-a-service-2129340
https://www.globalservices.bt.com/uk/en/products/personalised-cms

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Merger completed between HPE Software and Micro Focus

HPE Software and Micro Focus completed their merger creating the seventh largest pure-play software company with annual revenues of $4.4 billion in a transaction valued at $8.8 billion.

The combined company will use the Micro Focus name and maintain its listing on the London Stock Exchange, where it is now the largest UK technology firm.

Chris Hsu, formerly COO of HPE and Executive Vice President and General Manager of HPE Software, was appointed CEO of Micro Focus.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Micro Focus, and I am honored to be leading this team,” said Chris Hsu, Chief Executive Officer of Micro Focus. “We are bringing together a powerful combination of technology and talent uniquely positioned to drive customer-centered innovation at enterprise scale – enabling organizations to maximize the ROI of existing software investments while embracing the new hybrid model for enterprise IT.”



Friday, September 1, 2017

DT activates its first pre-standard 5G connection in Berlin

Deutsche Telekom activated its first, pre-standard 5G connection over its commercial network in central Berlin using 3.7 GHz spectrum.

The 5G connection is operating a over 2 Gbps with a low latency of three milliseconds.

Huawei supplied the user equipment based on 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe and marks an important advancement in the global development of 5G.  

DT said the implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’. With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for the enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency. Therefore, 5G new radio will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.

“5G new radio will be critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board member for Technology and Innovation. “Our achievement demonstrates the feasibility of our plans to deliver a superior, new customer experience.”

“As long time partners, both Deutsche Telekom Group and Huawei have joined hands to successfully test 5G NR equipments in field environments based on latest 3GPP R15 standards. These achievements highlight the capabilities of the 5G NR equipment to meet operators’ requirements for addressing new business opportunities for end users. Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts,” said Huimin Zhu, Vice President 5G Huawei.

https://www.telekom.com/en/media/media-information/archive/dt-and-huawei-go-live-with-europes-first-5g-connection-501660

Juniper to acquire Cyphort for security analytics

Juniper Networks agreed to acquire Cyphort, a start-up specializing in security software. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cyphort, which is based in Santa Clara, California, describes its security analytics and advanced threat defense platform as the Anti-SIEM (security information and event management) because it leverages machine learning to address the time, cost, and complexity challenges associated with traditional SIEMs. Cyphort’s open, scalable Cyphort security analytics platform helps incident responders and security analysts work more effectively.

Juniper said the acquisition will strengthen the capabilities of its Sky Advanced Threat Prevention (ATP), giving security practitioners a consistent feature set for both on-premises and cloud solutions. Combined with Sky ATP, Cyphort will provide increased efficiency and performance, a wider range of supported file types, and new threat-detection functionality that draws from advanced machine learning and behavioral analytics.

The acquisition is expected to close within the next month.

http://www.juniper.net

Dell'Oro: Spending on Small Cells Starts to Take Off

The Small Cell Radio market continued to be the bright spot during 1H17 — advancing at a double-digit pace — in the otherwise gloomy RAN market, according to a newly published report from Dell'Oro Group.

In rank order, Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, ZTE, and Samsung accounting for over 90 percent of the Small Cell market in IH17.

“It is no longer a question if carriers are shifting CAPEX from macro to small cells. Now the question is how quick it is happening and what is the impact on vendor shares,” said Stefan Pongratz, Senior Analyst with Dell’Oro Group. “While the pace of small cell growth remains impressive —2Q17 was the sixteenth consecutive quarter of greater than 50 percent year-over-year shipment growth — RAN vendors with macro solutions accounted for more than 90 percent of the combined indoor and outdoor Small Cell market during 1H17. Huawei, Nokia, and Ericsson accounted for more than 70 percent of this market during that time,” continued Pongratz.

http://www.delloro.com

Bouygues Telecom grows revenue, subscriber count

Bouygues Telecom reported sales of €2,434 million in the first half of 2017, 6% more than in the first half of 2016. Sales from network also rose 6% to €2,084 million and sales from network excluding incoming traffic rose 7% over the period. The increase in data usage resulting from the decline in voice and text usage is leading to a decrease in sales from network generated by incoming traffic. However, there is no impact on EBITDA, since this decline in sales is offset by reduced interconnection costs.

EBITDA was up €139 million versus the first half of 2016 to €547 million. The EBITDA margin rose by 5.5 points year-on-year to 26.2%. Operating profit was €215 million higher at €210 million. It included non-current income of €48 million, mainly related to the capital gain on the sale of towers to Cellnex, which more than offset non-current charges related to the roll-out of network sharing.

Some highlights:

  • In the first half of 2017, gross capex stood at €585 million, in line with the 2017 full-year gross capex target of €1.2 billion. 
  • Bouygues Telecom added 645,000 mobile customers in the first half of 2017, resulting in a total base of 13.6 million customers at end-June 2017. 
  • There were over 10 million mobile plan customers excluding MtoM at end-June 2017, with 240,000 new adds in the first half of 2017, of which 110,000 in the second quarter. 
  • In the fixed market, Bouygues Telecom signed up 133,000 new customers in the first half of 2017, of which 45,000 in the second quarter. 
  • Bouygues Telecom confirms its target of 1 million additional fixed customers by end-2017 versus end-2014. The Miami FTTH offer accounted for close to two-thirds of net growth in the second quarter of 2017. As a result, Bouygues Telecom had 171,000 FTTH customers at end-June 2017, more than twice as many as at end-June 2016. 
  • Bouygues Telecom is continuing to roll out FTTH, with 16 million premises secured at end-June 2017, 7 million more than at end-2016, and 2.6 million premises marketed, 0.6 million more than at end-2016. Bouygues Telecom confirms its target of 12 million premises marketed in 2019 and 20 million in 2022. In all, Bouygues Telecom had 552,000 very-high-speed customers at end-June 2017. 
http://www.bouygues.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/press-release.pdf

Thursday, August 31, 2017

T-Mobile gets its first 600 MHz LTE-capable smartphone

T-Mobile announced it will carry the LG V30 – the world’s first smartphone to support 600 MHz LTE - nationwide this fall.

T-Mobile also announced Scarborough, Maine is the latest location to activate 600 MHz service.

“We’re lighting up our new super spectrum for LTE and laying the foundation for 5G so fast we’re making the other guys’ heads spin – and with the LG V30, everything is coming together in record time,” said John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile. “While the carriers try to fake their way to 5G and back off unlimited to keep their networks from caving even more, the Un-carrier’s building the future of wireless and a bigger, better, faster, future-proof network.”

They said it wouldn’t be possible. They said it wouldn’t be quick. Clearly, they don’t know T-Mobile,” said Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile. “Smartphones are coming, we just lit up another location with LTE on 600 MHz... AND we’re laying a foundation for nationwide 5G at the same time. The Carriers must get tired of T-Mobile continually running circles ‘round them!”

https://www.t-mobile.com/coverage/4g-lte-network
http://www.lgnewsroom.com/2017/08/lg-v30-charts-new-mobile-frontier-with-premium-cinematography-capabilities/

T-Mobile lights up first 600 MHz LTE network


T-Mobile U.S. has begun lighting up its new 600 MHz LTE network — making it the first operator worldwide to activate commercial LTE services on this band. T-Mobile’s first 600 MHz LTE network sites were just switched on in Cheyenne, Wyoming using Nokia equipment. The announcement comes only two months after T-Mobile received its spectrum licenses from the FCC. T-Mobile said it is activating 600 MHz sites in rural locations first, where the spectrum...


Ciena posts quarterly revenue of $729m, up 8.7% yoy

Ciena reported revenue of $728.7 million for its fiscal third quarter 2017, as compared to $670.6 million for the fiscal third quarter 2016. Net income (GAAP) amounted to $60.0 million, or $0.39 per diluted common share, which compares to a GAAP net income of $33.5 million, or $0.23 per diluted common share, for the fiscal third quarter 2016.

“We delivered another solid quarter with strong revenue growth and profitability, and we took additional market share through our diversification and innovation leadership,” said Gary B. Smith, president and CEO, Ciena. “Our continued success, combined with strong fundamental demand drivers that are playing in our favor, is drawing a clear division between the winners and losers in the marketplace.”

Ciena said its expects fiscal fourth quarter 2017 revenue to be in the range of $720 to $750 million.

Some highlights:

  • U.S. customers contributed 60.1% of total revenue
  • Two customers each accounted for greater than 10% of revenue and in aggregate represented 28% of total revenue
  • Cash and investments totaled $854.2 million
  • Cash flow from operations totaled $50.6 million
  • Headcount totaled 5,780




More online.

http://investor.ciena.com

Nutanix hits revenue of $226.1 million, up 62% year-over-year

Nutanix reported revenue of $226.1 million for its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017,  62% year-over-year from $139.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. Billings rose to $289.2 million, growing 40% year-over-year from $206.6 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. There was a GAAP net loss of $90.7 million, compared to a GAAP net loss of $49.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2016. GAAP net loss per share was $0.59, compared to a pro forma GAAP net loss per share of $0.41 a year earlier.

"The fourth quarter was another record quarter and an outstanding conclusion to the fiscal year. Our newly announced products, Nutanix Calm and Xi Cloud Services, extend our market opportunity by simplifying and harmonizing datacenter operations for the multi-cloud era,” said Dheeraj Pandey, CEO, Nutanix. “This quarter, marked by record revenues, continued adoption of AHV, increased software-only sales, strong growth from our OEM partners, and positive operating cash flow, was a great way to end our first year as a public company.”

Some highlights:

Nutanix ended its Q4 with 7,051 end-customers, adding over 875 new end-customers during the quarter. Fourth quarter customer wins included ABC Stores, Amgen, Bacardi, HCA Healthcare, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, The Hershey Company, The Home Depot, and Tokopedia.
Increased Number of $1 Million+ Deals: 43 customers with deals over $1 million in the quarter, up 39% YoY.
During the quarter, Nutanix introduced Nutanix Calm and Xi Cloud Services, along with a strategic alliance with Google to blend the Nutanix environment with the Google Cloud Platform, providing new functionality to address the challenges of the multi-cloud era.
Increased AHV Penetration: Saw a 75% YoY increase in adoption of AHV, Nutanix’s built-in hypervisor, based on a four-quarter rolling average of nodes using AHV.
http://ir.nutanix.com

FCC: More cell sites in Texas back online

Damaged cell sites in Texas are coming back online. As of August 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, there were 296 cell sites offline in the counties impacted by the Harvey disaster, an improvement from 329 a day earlier.

According to the FCC report, there are at least 270,139 cable and wireline subscribers (slightly up from at least 267,426 yesterday) out of service in the affected area. There are 36 (down from 42 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out of service and 38 (up from 25 yesterday) switching centers on back-up power.

In addition, the FCC received a request from FEMA to extend the disaster data collection report to nine additional counties in Texas. Forthcoming reports will now cover  19 counties in Louisiana and 36 counties in Texas.

http://www.fcc.gov

Qadium raises $40m for indexing every device on public Internet

Qadium, a start-up based in San Francisco, announced $40 million in Series B funding for its automated, global Internet intelligence operation.

Qadium said it "indexes every device on the public Internet every hour, similar to how search companies crawl web pages." Qadium then uses these data to continually monitor the global Internet for large organizations’ true network boundary, surfacing comprehensive information about all of an organization’s Internet-facing risks.

“Our technology would have been impossible just a few years ago,” says Co-Founder and CTO Matt Kraning. “Now, we leverage distributed and massively parallelized computation to monitor the global Internet in real time. It’s the first game-changer in a decade for defenders in cyberspace, allowing them to find and fix risks faster than attackers can exploit them.”

Qadium is available on a SaaS basis. Cited customers include PayPal, Capital One, Allergan, and Fluor, among others.

The new funding round was led by IVP, joined by new investor TPG Growth. Prior investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Founders Fund, Susa Ventures, and angels also participated.

https://qadium.com/

NTTCom opens data center in Bonn, Germany

NTT Communications, acting through its European subsidiary e-shelter, a  inaugurated a new data center in Bonn, Germany.

The two-story Rhein-Ruhr 1 offers 2,700 square meters (sqm) of server space, equivalent to 1,100 racks. The facility conforms delivers data-center services based on more than 300 globally unified standards that NTT Com’s Nexcenter facilities have implemented for equipment and operations.

In Europe, NTT Com delivers data center services in Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the UK (see Appendix 1). NTT Com expands its data center business to the Rhein-Ruhr region, one of the most expected data-center markets in Germany mainly serving the customers from the public sector.

“We provide the infrastructure that Germany needs for the future”, says Rupprecht Rittweger, e-shelter CEO and founder. “At first sight, you may perceive just a building fulfilling its purpose as a data center. But the conceptual design of our data centers goes much further. Data centers will be even more important in the future, they are a foundation for digital sovereignty in our country.

http://www.ntt-global.com

SanDisk packs 400GB into microSD

SanDisk announced the highest capacity microSD card to date: 400GB. This would be sufficient for 40 hours of full HD video. Transfer speed is rated at up to 100 MB/s.

The 400GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card comes just two years after a 200GB version was announced. MSRP is $250.

“We continue to push technology boundaries and transform the way consumers use their mobile devices,” said Sven Rathjen, vice president, product marketing, Western Digital.

http://www.sandisk.com

Ethernet Alliance appoints new officers

The  Ethernet Alliance announced the appointments of Mr. Greg McSorley of Amphenol Corporation as President, and Mr. Craig Carlson of QLogic Corporation as Treasurer. Both previously served as members of the organization’s Board of Directors.

McSorley, who currently serves as Technical Business Development Manager for Amphenol, replaces outgoing President Scott Kipp of Brocade Communications Systems.

Carlson serves as a Senior Technologist with the CTO Office of QLogic.

“We’re sad to have to say farewell to Scott, who has served the Ethernet Alliance well as its President for six years. Thanks to his astute guidance and dedicated efforts, we have been able to realize many of our strategic goals, such as delivering the industry’s first forward-looking Ethernet roadmap. His presence will be greatly missed,” said John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance; and senior principal engineer, Huawei.

http://www.ethernetalliance.org

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

AT&T's fixed 5G trial expands to more cities

In a show of confidence in 5G, AT&T announced the expansion of its fixed wireless 5G trials to business and residential customers in Waco, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; and South Bend, Indiana by the end of the year. Trial participants in the new markets may include universities, hospitals, churches, restaurants, and other small businesses. Participants will be able to stream premium live TV via DIRECTV NOW and experience faster broadband services, all over a 5G internet connection.

AT&T has been running a 5G field trial in Austin, Texas for some time. In June, this trial was expanded to included fixed 5G connections to various types of businesses and residences. The company said this testing reveals insights into millimeter wave (mmWave) performance and propagation, including variance for foliage, building materials, device placement, the surrounding environment and how weather impacts the signal and system. The testing showed speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second and latency rates well under 10 milliseconds for the radio link at customer trial locations in Austin.  AT&T is also conducting outdoor pre-standards mobile 5G testing.

AT&T said that the expanded field testing in Waco, Kalamazoo, and South Bend will increase the number of participants and expand the physical footprint. The company hopes to begin standards based deployment as early as late 2018.

“In Austin, we see all types of weather and substantial foliage,” said Marachel Knight, senior vice president, Wireless Network Architecture and Design, AT&T. “Taking our fixed wireless 5G trials out of the lab and into the real world helps us learn important factors about mmWave and 5G. And in doing so, we’re learning how to better design our network for the future.”

“We’ve been testing and demonstrating 5G technologies with AT&T for over a year and now we’re expanding the scope of our trial to AT&T customers in Waco,” said Joakim Sorelius, head of Product Area Network Systems at Ericsson. “Ericsson is providing an end to end solution that includes new 28GHz radios, virtualized RAN and a full 5G virtualized Core. By testing the technologies in the live commercial-like environment and trialing new 5G use cases together, we are able to gain valuable experience in preparation for commercial deployments based on 3GPP New Radio (NR) technology.”

http://about.att.com/story/att_expanding_fixed_wireless_5g_trials_to_additional_markets.html

AT&T flies drones in Texas to inspect cell towers

AT&T is deploying a fleet of 25 drones to areas in Southeast Texas to inspect cell towers to determine the hurricane's impact on its network.

AT&T said the drones can inspect areas that are still unreachable by cars or trucks because of flooding.

The company is also deploying two Satellite Cell on Wheels (Sat COLTs) in Beaumont, Texas and will stage 12 more in the area to support customers and first responders following the second landfall of Tropical Storm Harvey.

http://about.att.com/newsroom/hurricane_harvey_drones.html

Windstream builds its enhanced ‘Cloud Connect’

Windstream introduced an enhanced version of its Cloud Connect solution, providing a dedicated, high-speed, highly secure cloud-optimized network connection to major Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), including Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, Google Cloud, Oracle Fast Connect and Salesforce. The service is available immediately to companies in Windstream’s nationwide service area.

Windstream Cloud Connect offers customers flexible bandwidth options ranging from 50 Mbps to 10 Gbps, with the ability to design customer solutions using multiple 10 Gbps connections. It also supports a variety of connectivity options – including SD-WAN, MPLS VPN, VLS or new wavelengths.

“Windstream Cloud Connect enables customers to confidently and more cost-effectively migrate mission critical applications, workloads and business processes to the cloud,” said Joseph Harding, executive vice president and enterprise chief marketing officer at Windstream. “We are confident that Windstream Cloud Connect will deliver a better and more cost-effective experience for large and mid-sized enterprises than any of our competitors.”

Windstream said its Cloud Connect allows customers to more easily move data and workloads between cloud environments, as well as maximize flexibility and scalability by integrating dedicated onsite IT infrastructure with shared offsite cloud-based environments. These cloud-based environments enable them to optimize application performance and reliability, increase network resiliency and simplify network management.

http://windstreambusiness.com

FCC: More cell sites restored in Texas

As of August 30, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, there were 329 cell sites still down in areas of Texas and Louisiana impacted by tropical storm Harvey, according to the FCC.  This is an improvement from 24 hours earlier when 365 cell sites were down.

In addition, there were at least 267,426 cable and wireline subscribers without service, down from at least 283,593 yesterday.

There are 42(up from 21 yesterday) non-mobile switching centers out of service and 25 (down from 35 yesterday)
switching centers on back-up power. All of the additional non-mobile switches out of service are very small switches.

http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2017/db0830/DOC-346445A1.pdf

Frontier counts damage in south Texas

As of midday Wednesday, Frontier Communications, which serves approximately 200,000 access lines in the South Texas area, said that about 100 central offices across the territory either lack commercial power or are operating on battery and generator backup.

Frontier's operations teams are continuing to repair and assess damages to the company's network in severely affected areas and are working to identify and repair damages to poles, pedestals and cables.

http://www.frontier.com

Kuwait-based Zain Group positions for digital transformation

Kuwait-based Zain Group, which now has operations in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, has just raised $846 million in cash by selling a 9.8% equity stake to neighboring Omantel. The all-cash deal adds a measure of liquidity to Zain Group, which is aiming to transform itself into a digital service provider as it prepares for 5G and other advanced infrastructure.

Zain Group, which was established in 1983 as Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications company, once pursued a very geographically expansionist strategy. In 2005, it acquired mobile operations in 13 African countries from Celtel International for a reported US$3.4 billion, including networks in Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Five years later, Zain decided to exit these ventures while making a nice profit on the investment. These African businesses were sold in 2010 to India’s Bharti Airtel for US$10.7 billion.

In 2008, the Zain Group raised US$4.49 billion (by issuing new shares) to support strategic expansion into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Nokia Siemens Networks was awarded a contract valued at US1 billion to rollout the network.

Even now, Nokia continues as a lead vendor to Zain Saudi Arabia, as well as other markets. In May 2017, the companies confirmed the deployment of Nokia’s multi-access edge computing (MEC) platform in Mecca.  A similar installation also uses Nokia centralised RAN technology.to boost network upload speeds at Jeddah's King Abdullah Sports stadium by up to 50%.

Since selling its African operations in 2010, Zain has stayed to closer to home, focusing its external efforts on Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Sudan, South Sudan, and the very important market of Saudi Arabia. Some of these countries, especially Iraq, Sudan, and South Sudan, are beset by social, political and economic issues – but everyone wants/needs mobile connectivity so demand remains strong.

In a management shake-up earlier this year, Zain’s board of directors appointed Mohannad Mohammed Al-Kharafi as the Chairman of Zain Group, Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi as Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zain Group, and appointed Scott Gegenheimer in a new role as Chief Executive Officer of Operations. Previously, Gegenheimer, a U.S. citizen, served simply as CEO for all of Zain Group since 2012. Before joining Zain, Gegenheimer held leadership positions at several regional operators, as well as with Cisco Systems and Motorola.

At the end of June 2017, Zain Group counted 45.2 million customers. The breakdown by country is roughly as follows:
Iraq 27%
Sudan 27%
KSA 23%
Jordan 9%
Kuwait 6%
Lebanon 5%
Bahrain 2%

Declining revenue and EBITDA for the first half of 2017

Earlier this month, Zain Group consolidated first half 2017 revenues of KD 508 million (US$1.67 billion) down 8% year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in KD terms. The Group’s consolidated EBITDA for the period reached KD 212 million (US$695 million), down 17% Y-o-Y in KD terms, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 41.7%. Consolidated net income remained stable at KD 82 million (US$270 million). Earnings per share for the half-year stood at 21 Fils (US$0.07).   Overall, the company described its financial performance as “in line with expectations” while acknowledging the impact of a significant 61% currency devaluation in Sudan and other factors. (the company says Zain Sudan continues to perform ‘exceptionally well’ in local currency terms),

Some key items and indicators

Data revenues for the group (excluding SMS and VAS) increased 4% Y-o-Y, representing 25% of the consolidated revenues.

Zain launched an over-the-top, streaming video service called “iflix” across several markets. This follows the announcement earlier in the year that Zain and iflix had formed a joint venture entity named ‘iflix Arabia' to be headquartered in Dubai. The JV will trade commercially as “iflix”, adding Zain’s territories of operation to iflix’s global footprint, including Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, with the potential to further extend into additional regional markets. The content catalogue will include highly acclaimed Arabic shows and movies, exclusive Arabic content series, best titles from Hollywood and Bollywood, local programming and children’s shows.

In its home market of Kuwait, Zain’s customer base stands at 2.6 million. Kuwait remains the Group’s most profitable operation with revenues reaching KD 167 million (USD 549 million), EBITDA amounting to KD 66 million (USD 215 million) and net income came in at KD 39 million (USD 128 million). Zain Kuwait’s EBITDA margin stood at 39% at the end of the six-month period, with data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) accounting for 32% of total revenues.

Zain Kuwait is currently implementing a smart meter project, in one of the sector’s largest ICT projects for the country’s Ministry of Electricity and Water. The Smart Meter project, which runs through 2024, is a key step in the company's strategic plans to deploy smart city solutions in Kuwait and beyond. Ericsson has been selected as the sole technology partner in the Zain led consortium.

In June 2017, Zain launched Cloud Disaster Recovery (Cloud DR) service in Kuwait in collaboration with IBM. The new service provides Zain’s enterprise customers with cloud-based business continuity capabilities and faster disaster recovery of their critical IT systems.

In Saudi Arabia, Zain reports improved financial indicators thanks to a turnaround and cost optimisation program. In H1, 2017, the operator recorded its first-ever half yearly net profit of USD 14 million, compared to net losses USD 154 million in H1 2016. Revenues for the period were up by 9%, reaching USD 1.04 billion. The company recorded a significant 59% increase in EBITDA to reach USD 346 million in H1 2017.

Zain noted that the introduction of a biometric identification requirement for mobile services caused its total customer base to shrink by 15% to stand at 9 million customers at the end of June 2017. Impressively, the operator witnessed a 42% rise in data revenues (excluding SMS and VAS) Y-o-Y, representing 50% of total revenues.  

During Q2, Zain KSA also successfully secured an additional 1800MHz spectrum for expansion of its4.5G LTE network's coverage and capacity.

In January 2017, Zain Group appointed Peter Kaliaropoulos, an Australian national, as CEO of Zain Saudi Arabia. Previously, Kaliaropoulos was the GM of ‘touch’ Lebanon until June 2016, the country’s leading operator that Zain manages on behalf of the Lebanon Telecom Ministry

In Iraq, Zain managed to achieve US$523 million revenues due to the impressive growth in data usage and numerous customer acquisition initiatives in the northern regions of the country. The operation’s efficiency drive saw EBITDA reach USD 179 million, reflecting a 34% EBITDA margin. Net income amounted to USD 11 million for the period. Zain Iraq leads the market serving 12.9 million customers, which represented an impressive 15% Y-o-Y increase.

In Sudan, the 61% currency devaluation this year impacted financial results as measured in USD terms for the first six months of 2017. Nevertheless, in local currency (SDG) terms, revenues grew by 38% Y-o-Y to reach SDG 3.4 billion (USD 213 million, down 44% in USD terms) for the first six months of 2017. EBITDA increased by 22% to reach SDG 1.3 billion (USD 81 million, down 50% in USD terms), and net income increased by 14% to SDG 545 million (USD 34 million, down 54% in USD terms). Data revenues (excluding SMS and VAS) accounted for 15% of total revenues, with an impressive annual growth rate of 69%. The operation saw its customer base expand 3% to reach 12.9 million.

In Jordan, Zain grew its customer base by 3% Y-o-Y, serving 4.2 million customers at the end of June, and maintaining its market leading position despite intense price competition. Y-o-Y revenues increased 2% to reach US$241 million, with EBITDA up 1% to reach USD 116 million, reflecting an impressive 48% EBITDA margin. Net income decreased 5% to USD 48 million for the six-month period. With the continual expansion of 4G services across the country, data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) represented 37% of total revenues, up by 15% Y-o-Y.

In Bahrain, Zain generated revenues of USD 100 million for the first six months of 2017, up 17% Y-o-Y. EBITDA for the period amounted to USD 30 million, down 8%, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 30%. Net income amounted to USD 4 million, reflecting a 21% decrease. Data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) increased 36% Y-o-Y, representing 43% of overall revenues.