Weekly Telecom Analysis : Apple gets a new Cook

The biggest news of the week has no doubt been the stepping down of iconic leader, Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple. Ending an almost 40-year run, ever since Steve Jobs, former chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios and director on the Board of The Walt Disney Company, founded Apple along with business partner and long-term associate, Steve Wozniak in the 1970’s, Steve Jobs announced his exit due to an ‘inability to perform according to expectations any longer’, which was an indication for his deteriorating health condition. Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, Steve Jobs has been on bouts of medical leave since 2008.


Tim Cook has now been appointed CEO of Apple on Steve’s recommendation. He has been given a sum of $28 billion to carry the Apple tradition of innovative, model computer systems like the Mac, as well other revolutionary devices like the Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad – the latter which gave Apple the largest number of app stores in the world, and helped it beat its closest former rival, Microsoft. While questions arose as to whether Cook is the right man to take on such a huge responsibility to lead the internal team, while simultaneously being able to ward off sharks like Google, Samsung, Lenovo and HP, and keep doling out industry-leading products that Apple is known for, those questions have more or less been put to rest, considering that Cook is an experienced hand who has worked closely with Jobs, has the same fervent attitude to be number one, and has proven in his absence time and again to be a sturdy hand in troubled times.


Besides, Jobs has resumed a place on the Board of Directors of the Company from which post he will continue to closely monitor the activities of the Company going forward.



In other news, Sprint Nextel, the company responsible for introducing 3G to the US, is in talks to acquire Clearwire, its 4G partner. Sprint is in discussions with investors like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, and cable providers like Cablevision and Cox Communications to help it fund the buyout of 46 percent stake in Clearwire. Clearwire needs at least $600 million for its 4G network upgrade and to run day-to-day operations of the company.


More headline-grabbing news, came in the form of top US Satellite TV provider Dish Network, aiming to roll-out an LTE network of its own, by transferring frequencies attached to bankrupt satellite mobile operator TerreStar to a Dish subsidiary, which it had acquired for $1.38 billion in July 2011. The pay-TV provider is now seeking approval from the FCC to offer a standalone cellular service, as opposed to an integrated satellite service.



 While in South-East Asia, Vietnam is finalizing its MNP plan, Taiwan and China have inked a deal to increase co-operation between their respective telecom sectors. According to the deal, Chinese companies will purchase US$ 5.14 billion of equipment from Taiwan, besides undertaking joint R&D projects, focusing on 4G and VAS, which will be extended to cloud computing or wireless cities, as part of future ventures.



 In India, telecom operators have been getting on the wrong side of the law – first being questioned by telecom authority, TRAI for raising 2G mobile tariffs by 20-60 percent this month. 3G operators, including state-run MTNL and BSNL have also been questioned by DoT for violating norms for 3G spectrum, by selling 3G airwaves among 3G operators in circles where they did not win spectrum, to supplement their revenues. The special committee working on the New Telecom Policy 2011, may also include a framework for NGN. This will be a landmark breakthrough for India, which is planning to roll out 4G by early next year.



Telkom Kenya has last week also launched 3G in Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, with plans for additional regional deployments in the future, as data demand increases. The US$ 42.6 million network deployment will offer its subscribers download speeds of 21Mbps. Meanwhile, Airtel Zambia has extended its network to rural areas in the Western Province, in an effort to fend off competition in the area.


Apple has announced that it will be soon be rolling out low-cost versions of the iPhone, that will be based on the iPhone 4, especially for developing telecom nations, starting with China in order to increase smartphone usage in these nations. And while the US continues to reel over falling market indices, and weather calamaties, the Apple saga is something they will be closely looking out for in the coming days.


By Beryl M

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