Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom signs up to AI supergroup

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Portugal won't compensate telcos for rip-and-replace orders; Airtel Africa's Q1 hit by currency fluctuations; EU investigates Microsoft's bundling of Teams.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

July 27, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom signs up to AI supergroup
Deutsche Telekom is one of four operators in the Global Telco AI Alliance. (Source: Deutsche Telekom)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Portugal won't compensate telcos for rip-and-replace orders; Airtel Africa's Q1 hit by currency fluctuations; EU investigates Microsoft's bundling of Teams.

Deutsche Telekom has joined forces with SK Telecom, E& and Singtel to form what the companies are calling the Global Telco AI Alliance to better exploit the potential of generative AI in their respective markets. The four operators will develop the Telco AI Platform, which is expected to act as the foundation for new AI-based services, digital assistants and so-called "super apps" that offer a wide range of services. Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom's representative at the launch in Seoul, said: "In order to make the most of the possibilities of generative AI for our customers and our industry, we want to develop industry-specific applications in the Global Telco AI Alliance. I am particularly pleased that this alliance also stands for bridging the gap between Europe and Asia and that we are jointly pursuing an open-vendor approach."

  • A Portuguese government minister has warned operators that they will not be compensated for having to rip out gear from Huawei or other companies following the decision by the CSSC, Portugal's cybersecurity authority, barring what are considered high-risk suppliers from their 5G networks. As Reuters reports, Mario Campolargo, Portugal's secretary of state for digitalization, denied that the decision was directly aimed at Chinse suppliers.

  • Setting aside currency fluctuations, Airtel Africa had a fruitful first quarter (in fiscal year 2024), recording a 22.5% year-over-year rise in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) in constant currency on revenue that grew by 20.4% over the same period. After tax, however, the operator recorded a $151 million loss, largely due to the devaluation of the Nigerian naira in June 2023. Airtel's total customer base grew by 8.8% to 143.1 million, as the take-up of mobile data and mobile money services continued to rise, driving a 22% increase in data customers to 56.8 million and a 24.3% increase in mobile money customers to 34.3 million.

  • The European Commission has opened a formal investigation into whether Microsoft may have breached EU competition rules by bundling its Teams collaboration platform with its Office 365 and Microsoft 365 business software suites. In particular, the Commission is concerned that Microsoft may give Teams a "distribution advantage" by not giving customers a choice on whether or not to include access to that product when they subscribe to their general-purpose productivity software and may have limited the interoperability between its productivity suites and competing offerings. The investigation has largely been prompted by a complaint made against Microsoft by Slack, the company behind a rival collaboration platform.

  • UK broadband provider TalkTalk has received yet another talking-to from Ofcom, Britain's communications regulator, in its latest quarterly count-up of consumer complaints about telcos. TalkTalk was once again the most complained-about landline and broadband provider, with an increase in complaints for both these services in the last quarter related to, amongst other things, quality of service and – ironically – complaint handling. However, TalkTalk didn't have things all its own way on the fixed-line failure front: BT received the most complaints in the pay-TV department. On the mobile side, BT also won the wooden spoon for its BT Mobile service – although its mobile subsidiary EE performed relatively well. Go figure.

  • Mobile-signal-starved inhabitants in 11 Church of England parishes are to have their connectivity prayers answered thanks to a collaboration between Vodafone and Net CS, who are installing open RAN-based technology in those parishes' churches. Net CS, described as an infrastructure facilitator, has designed the church installations using a neutral host format, so they can be connected to multiple network operators. As you would expect, the church spires came in handy.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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