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
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.
Airtel To Exit From Ghana market, Reports $3.5bn Revenue in India
Bharti Airtel’s board has announced that the Ghana government and AirtelTigo are in the advanced stages of concluding an agreement to transfer the mobile operator AirtelTigo to the state.
This includes its customers, asserts and agreed liabilities, with 100 percent of shares on a going concern basis. No financial details of the sale were disclosed, but Airtel said it is taking an impairment charge of INR 1.84 billion on its holding in the operator.
AirtelTigo is a joint venture between Airtel and Millicom formed in 2017, in which Airtel holds a non-controlling 49.95 percent stake. It’s the third largest mobile operator in Ghana, with around 21 percent of customers.
In another development, Bharti Airtel CEO Gopal Vittal noted the company bucked traditional weakness in its fiscal Q2 (calendar Q3), as growing numbers of 4G users and a hike in tariffs in 2019 combined to deliver the operator’s highest-ever consolidated quarterly revenue.
In a statement, Vittal cited a bump in monthly data consumption as a revenue driver and hailed “strong engagement” of customers as evidence the operator’s digital platform strategy was on the right track. Another highlight was “steady growth momentum” in its business unit.
The operator ended the period with 152.7 million 4G users, up 48.1 per cent year-on-year, with daily traffic up from 48.9PB to 77.3PB. In the quarter it added more than 5,000 LTE sites, taking the total above 200,000.
Airtel explained it continued to tackle the lingering effects of Covid-19 (coronavirus), with ongoing promotion of digital channels for top-ups and payments.
It also noted stores and offices had reopened, insurance arranged for staff, and financial aid provided to partners. Revenue of INR257.8 billion ($3.5 billion) was 22 per cent higher, with net loss reduced from INR230.4 billion in fiscal Q2 2020 to INR7.6 billion.
Mobile service revenue in India grew 25.9 per cent to INR138.3 billion, while its South Asia number was flat at INR1.1 billion. Its tower business reaped INR17.7 billion, up INR1 billion. India ARPU increased from INR128 in fiscal Q2 2020 to INR162 in the recent quarter.
Its Africa operation last week revealed revenue gains, but a slight decline in net profit.
Emerging Economies Should Rewrite Financial Rules To Rein In Big Tech- FSB
Regulatory frameworks in emerging markets and developing economies (EMDE) should be redrawn to reflect the size, scope and growth of Big Tech firms in financial services, says the Financial Stability Board.
The FSB report for G20 finance ministers and central bank governors finds that the expansion of Big Tech firms in financial services in EMDEs has generally been more rapid and broad-based than that in advanced economies.
Lower levels of financial inclusion in EMDEs create a source of demand for Big Tech firms’ services, particularly amongst low-income populations and in rural areas where populations are under-served by traditional financial institutions.
While the expansion of Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon has some benefits, their activity also gives rise to operational and consumer protection risks and concerns about market dominance, states the FSB.
This applies as much to local incumbents as consumers, who the FSB fears may be encouraged to play fast and loose with the rulebook and take more risks in order to keep pace with Big Techs.
States the FSB: “The experience of EMDEs also underscores the need to apply the principle of ‘same risk – same regulation’ with respect to Big Tech firms’ activities, whilst tailoring regulatory frameworks to reflect the relative size and scope of those firms’ activities. Financial authorities may also usefully contribute to the development of robust public policy and frameworks with respect to data governance, consumer protection and operational risk management.”
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