The final stage of the French 5G tender ended on 01 October, completing the sale of 310 MHz of spectrum in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band.
Telecom regulator Arcep said that proceeds amounted to EUR 2.79 billion, which compares with the floor price of EUR 2.17 billion set by the government at the end of last year.
Market leader Orange accounted for the highest spend, at EUR 854 million for 90 MHz of spectrum. Altice France subsidiary SFR acquired 80 MHz for EUR 728 million, while Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile both secured 70 MHz for EUR 602 million.
In the first phase of the award, the French government had agreed to sell 200 MHz at a set price of EUR 1.4 billion, with each of the four network operators spending EUR 350 million for a block of 50 MHz.
After a pause due to the Covid-19 health crisis, the regulator was asked to oversee an auction for the remaining 110 MHz of spectrum available, sold in equal-size chunks (10 MHz) at a starting price of EUR 70 million per block.
Bidding lasted just three days, with the unit price rising from EUR 70 million to EUR 126 million by the end of the final round. In addition to the initial 50 MHz, Orange secured the most spectrum in the auction (40 MHz), followed by SFR (30 MHz). Bouygues Telecom and Free Mobile were each attributed two blocks (20 MHz).
Spectrum acquired in the auction will have to be paid for over four years, while the set price of EUR 350 million will be spread over the fifteen-year duration of the licences, which can be extended by a further five years under conditions set by Arcep.
The final amount spent in the tender will be known at the completion of the last step of the award process, in which the four participants will bid in a “positioning” auction to determine where their spectrum will be placed in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band.
French operators will also be able to rely on other frequencies for their 5G deployments. These include the 700 MHz band, which was awarded by Arcep in 2015, and in future 26 GHz frequencies, still to be allocated.
orange commented that the total amount raised in the tender remains reasonable compared with other large European countries, such as Germany. CEO Stephane Richard said that the company was very satisfied with the auction process, noting that the result was “well balanced” and encouraged operators to invest.
The rules set by Arcep capped the amount of spectrum per operator at 100 MHz, including the 50 MHz block sold at a set price. Industry’s expectations were that this limit, coupled with the decision to auction blocks of equal size (10 MHz each), could keep a lid on auction bids.
Including 90 MHz in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band, Orange retains the largest portfolio of frequencies in the French market with 257 MHz overall, while SFR defends its runner-up position holding nearly 245 MHz across all bands.
Source: Telecom Paper
Digital Wallet Users to Surpass 4.4 Billion by 2025- Juniper
A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of unique digital wallet users will exceed 4.4 billion globally in 2025; rising from 2.6 billion in 2020. It found that mobile wallets are leading this 70% growth, as mobile payments rapidly scale across geographical and vertical markets.
The increasing alignment between in‑person and remote commerce channels is leading to greater use of mobile wallets than ever before, with online wallet use confined to high-value purchases or complex bill payments.
The research recommends that merchants should undertake complete reviews of their processes to ensure that they are offering a highly capable mobile app. This must be inclusive of a seamless checkout process, the correct mobile wallet integrations and high levels of security, or they will lose out to more mobile-adept merchants.
The new research, Digital Wallets: Key Opportunities, Vendor Analysis and Market Forecasts 2021‑2025, found that markets such as the UK and US are lagging behind China and India in terms of digital wallet adoption, with China and India accounting for 69% of digital wallet transactions in 2025.
Research co-author Nick Maynard explains: ‘In developed markets, mobile wallets facilitate card payments, but in emerging markets, wallets in places have bypassed cards entirely. Wallet providers in developed markets need to focus on building acceptance and analytics features, in order to boost their appeal in a card-centric environment.’
The research also found that QR code payments will account for 40% of all digital wallet transactions globally in 2025; a fall from 47% of transactions in 2020. QR code payments are presently playing a leading role, due to their ease of use and acceptance, which makes them a critically important area for wallet use. However, over the next five years, the evolution of features such as card acceptance via NFC smartphones will begin to close the ease of acceptance gap.
Microsoft Accuses China of Global E-mail System Hack
Microsoft has blamed the Chinese government for a cyber security incident that resulted in tens of thousands of compromised e-mail servers round the world.
A sophisticated attack discovered last week on Microsoft’s e-mail system, Microsoft Exchange, is reportedly escalating into a global cyber security disaster, as hackers race to infect as many users as possible.
The Microsoft Exchange account is a work or school e-mail account, which runs on the Windows Server operating system.
The incident, which had affected over 60 000 users across the globe by the weekend, mainly US-based small and medium businesses, banks and energy suppliers, was identified by the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Centre as a Chinese state-sponsored threat actor, called Hafnium.
According to the tech giant, Hafnium, which operates from China, is a highly-skilled and sophisticated actor, which primarily targets entities in the US for the purpose of exfiltrating information from a number of industry sectors, including infectious disease researchers, law firms, higher education institutions, defence contractors, policy think tanks and NGOs.
Microsoft has since released security updates which it says will protect customers running Exchange Server. However, it notes that even though it has worked quickly to deploy an update for the Hafnium exploits, many nation-state actors and criminal groups are also expected to move quickly to take advantage of any unpatched systems.
“We strongly encourage all Exchange Server customers to apply these updates immediately,” says Tom Burt, Microsoft corporate VP of customer security and trust.
“Exchange Server is primarily used by business customers, and we have no evidence that Hafnium’s activities targeted individual consumers, or that these exploits impact other Microsoft products. Promptly applying today’s patches is the best protection against this attack.”
The US government’s cyber security agency issued an emergency warning last week, urging state institutions to urgently patch their systems.
WSJ Ranks Ericsson Among Most Sustainable Companies In The World
A new ranking by the Wall Street Journal, places Ericsson in the top percentile for its ability to create long-term shareholder value through sustainable business practices.
Sustainability is central to Ericsson’s purpose – and the company was recently ranked #12 on The Wall Street Journal’s list of the 100 Most Sustainably Managed Companies in the World.
“The ranking shows that Ericsson is positioned to adapt and thrive in the long term,” says Heather Johnson, Vice President, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility.
“We firmly believe in sustainability practices based on science and embedded throughout our business can help create value for employees, customers, investors and – ultimately – society. It’s excellent recognition of cross-company collaboration to reduce risks and create positive impacts across our value-chain.”
The ranking was developed by the Wall Street Journal’s environmental, social and governance analysts, who assessed more than 5,500 publicly traded businesses based on sustainability metrics in areas such as business models and innovation, external social and product issues, employee and workplace issues, and the environment.
The ranking’s methodology takes a broad view of sustainability, one which assesses a company’s leadership and governance practices for their ability to create value for shareholders over the long term.
For all of the companies, transparency was key. Scores reflect the amount of publicly available information about each company’s policies, initiatives and performance metrics—all of which can be important indicators of a company’s long-term financial performance and the effects it could have on the planet and people.
Ericsson’s Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility strategy focuses on three pillars: responsible business, environmental sustainability and digital inclusion.
“We are convinced that digitalization and mobile broadband networks will help tackle global challenges,” says Johnson. “By integrating purpose and business strategy, we can amplify the impact and value delivered.”
Read more about Ericsson’s Sustainability environmental, social and economic impacts, targets and performance in our annual Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report.
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