|2011: Telecom Year in Review|
As we say goodbye to 2011, a year that was certainly another important year of change in the telecom industry, in this feature we take the time to look back on some of the major storylines of the past year.
Nokia Siemens Acquires Wireless Network Infrastructure Assets of Motorola
Nokia Siemens has closed the acquisition of the wireless network infrastructure assets of Motorola Solutions. The company paid $975 million in cash for the assets and approximately 6900 employees will transfer to Nokia Siemens Network from Motorola. As of April 30, 2011, the responsibility for supporting customers of Motorola Solutions’ GSM, CDMA, WCDMA, WiMAX and LTE products and services was transferred to Nokia Siemens Networks.
Nokia Partners with Microsoft
Nokia announced that it has entered a strategic partnership with Microsoft whose Windows Phone will now serve as Nokia's primary smartphone platform. Nokia's decision to join forces with Microsoft marks a major shift in the global smartphone competition.
The announcement had mixed reviews. Some analysts said that the Windows' operating system had failed to gain traction and that a partnership with Google would have been a better choice. The choice to adopt Microsoft Phone is a controversial one as the platform has also not done so well against Google's Android or the iPhone. On the other hand, more optimistic analysts said that this partnership has got every opportunity to succeed since Windows Phone 7 is a credible alternative to Android and the iPhone. Results of this partnership will show this year.
Microsoft Acquires Skype
Microsoft has closed its acquisition of Skype for 8.5 billion USD. Microsoft and Skype will remain focused on their shared goal of connecting all people across all devices and accelerating both companies’ efforts to transform real-time communications for consumers and enterprise customers. The completion of the acquisition also marks the official introduction of Skype as a new business division within Microsoft.
AT&T to Merge with T-Mobile USA Failed
In early 2011, AT&T announced it had agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Germany's Deutsche Telekom in a $39 billion blockbuster deal enabling it to overtake Verizon as the biggest US wireless provider. Later on, the deal failed to be accomplished.
Etisalat's $12bn Zain Deal Fails
Etisalat's attempt to buy a stake in Kuwaiti rival Zain for $12 billion has failed. National Investments Co., the investment firm owned by Zain's major shareholder Kharafi Group, announced its commitment to sell a 4% stake to UAE's Etisalat was over.
Google Acquires Motorola Mobility
Google has surprised the mobile phone industry with the announcement it is buying handset maker Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in cash in a bid to extend the reach of its Android platform. The acquisition gives Google a strong patent portfolio to defend Android against smartphone rivals Apple and Research in Motion (RIM) and turns a company known for its software into a hardware manufacturer.
Ericsson Telcordia Deal
Ericsson agreed to buy Telcordia Technologies Inc. for $1.2 billion, the biggest deal in five years for the world’s largest maker of mobile-phone networks, to add more software and service support offerings.
Huawei Acquires ITS
Huawei announced the purchase of leading System Integrator and Solution Provider, International Turnkey Systems (ITS) Business Support System (BSS) division. Huawei believes the combination of capabilities and experience of the two firms will create a one-stop shop with world-class, customized ICT solutions for customers in the Middle East and Africa region.
Sony Ericsson Splits
Sony and Ericsson announced to go their separate ways after ten years of its Sony Ericsson joint venture into the mobile phone market. Sony is to take full control of the mobile phone venture in a bid to catch up with the two-horse race between Android and iOS-powered phones, with Ericsson taking a consumer-facing backseat for the time being.
The LTE bandwagon
In 2011, mobile operators jumped on the LTE bandwagon. 35 LTE networks have been commercially launched in 21 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, UAE, USA and Uzbekistan.
As for the Middle East, following launches in Saudi from Mobily and STC, and in the UAE from Etisalat, Qatar’s QTel has launched its own LTE services and UAE’s du has announced that it is working on an LTE service to launch soon.
Nokia Siemens Networks to Restructure and Slash its Global Workforce by 17,000
Nokia Siemens Networks' decision to slash its global workforce by approximately 17,000 by the end of 2013 to save EUR 1 billion was among the top news in 2011. As per the restructuring, Nokia Siemens will focus on mobile broadband and services business. It will also look at divesting businesses which are not viable. These job reductions will be driven by aligning the company's workforce with its new strategy as well as through a range of productivity and efficiency measures.
ICANN Approves Corporate Web Suffixes
The internet's global coordinator voted to allow the creation of website addresses ending in company names, enabling big firms to replace ".com" with their own brand. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted overwhelmingly in favor of the radical proposal despite fears that opening up new website suffixes could cause some confusion.
Under the changes, businesses will no longer be restricted to the list of generic top level domains that include .com, .net and .org when they apply to register a website address.
IPv6 Readiness Ramped Up
While the topic of IPv6 addressing has been around for over a decade, it was really only in 2011 when IPv4 address exhaustion began to show its head and drive service providers, vendors and industry groups to create new awareness about being ready to make the IPv6 transition. To test out IPv6 in a live internet environment, the telecom and IT industries alike held World IPv6 Day. Held on June 8, the event was a dress rehearsal where service providers tested the effects of more than 430 internet content providers running their websites in a dual IPv4/IPv6 mode.
Steve Jobs Announced Dead
On October 5th, 2011, the world woke up to the sad news of the death of Steve P. Jobs – the man who revolutionized the mobile, computer, music and multimedia world. Jobs – co-founder of Apple - was behind the company’s biggest successes. Apple's products have revolutionized the whole consumer technology industry.
Schmidt: No Longer CEO of Google
Google unveiled a surprise shakeup of its top management, announcing that co-founder Larry Page would replace Eric Schmidt as Chief Executive of the internet giant. Schmidt, who has served as Google's high-profile CEO for a decade, would remain with the Mountain View, California-based company as Executive Chairman, focusing on partnerships, customers and government outreach, Google said.
Barcelona Named First Mobile World Capital
The GSMA announced that Barcelona has been selected as the Mobile World Capital from 2012 to 2018. As the Mobile World Capital, Barcelona will be the home of the mobile industry's must-attend event, the GSMA Mobile World Congress, and will also develop a range of other program and activities that will span the entire year and will benefit not only the citizens of Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain, but also the worldwide mobile industry.