Monday, August 2, 2021

AT&T completes DIRECTV deal

AT&T and TPG Capital completed their previously announced transaction establishing a new company named DIRECTV. 

The new company will own and operate the DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse video services previously owned and operated by AT&T. DIRECTV had approximately 15.4 million premium video subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2021.

AT&T contributed its U.S. video business unit to the new entity in exchange for preferred units as well as a 70% interest in the common units of DIRECTV. TPG contributed approximately $1.8 billion in cash to DIRECTV in exchange for preferred units and a 30% interest in common units of the new company. The DIRECTV board will include Bill Morrow, CEO of DIRECTV, and the following additional voting board members: Steve McGaw and Thaddeus Arroyo, appointed by AT&T; and David Trujillo and John Flynn, appointed by TPG.

At close, AT&T received $7.1 billion in cash ($7.6 billion net of approximately $470 million cash on hand) and transferred approximately $195 million of video business debt. AT&T expects this transaction will help support its debt reduction efforts, with plans to reach a net debt-to-adjusted EBITDA of below 2.5x by year-end 2023.1

Not included in this transaction are WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming platform and regional sports networks, both of which are part of the pending WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction; Vrio (AT&T’s Latin American video operations, which are being sold to Grupo Werthein); U-verse network assets; and AT&T’s Sky Mexico investment. DIRECTV will continue to offer HBO Max to subscribers along with any bundled wireless or broadband services and associated customer discounts.

SpaceLink to test 10G link to ISS

SpaceLink was selected by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), manager of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, for a funded demonstration of its end-to-end relay service between spacecraft and the ground. 

The demonstration will validate the use of a 10 Gbps optical terminal, for real-time voice, video, and data exchange between ISS crew, onboard systems, experiments, and terrestrial users.

SpaceLink said its relay network is designed to pick up where the NASA Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) leaves off. 

"Our demonstration on the ISS is the first step to proving SpaceLink's capabilities to advance space science and the emerging space economy," said David Bettinger, SpaceLink CEO. "Funding from CASIS marks an important milestone in SpaceLink's roadmap to providing massive bandwidth for organizations that need real-time connectivity between space and the ground."

Vantage Data Centers commits to Net Zero Carbon emissions

Vantage Data Centers has committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions globally by 2030. 

Vantage said its goal specifically targets reductions for emissions that the company directly controls, Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as well as reductions that it can guide or influence throughout its supply chain. Vantage is creating interim reduction targets that are in alignment with the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi) methodology, which defines and promotes emissions reduction in line with climate science.

“As major consumers of power and land, data center operators have an undeniable responsibility to aggressively reduce emissions and lessen environmental impacts wherever possible. This is why we’ve set our target at net zero rather than carbon neutral,” explained Justin Thomas, chief technology officer, Vantage Data Centers. “Our goal is to be a sustainability leader, and we are setting interim reduction goals that touch every part of our business.”

Taiwan's Chunghwa Telecom exceeds 1 million 5G subs

Chunghwa Telecom's total revenues for the second quarter of 2021 increased by 3.8% to NT$ 49.60 billion.

"We are pleased with Chunghwa's remarkable achievements in the second quarter," said Mr. Chi-Mau Sheih, Chairman and CEO of Chunghwa Telecom. "We maintained our leading market position in the mobile business sector, and I would like to express my personal gratitude to all of our employees navigating the challenging operating environment in the quarter. Our accumulated number of 5G sign-ups exceeded 1 million at the end of the quarter, ahead of schedule, and we expect to reach 2 million sign-ups by the end of this year. To upgrade the quality of 5G services, we accelerated our 5G deployment and accumulated more than 8,000 base stations by quarter end, expecting to approach 12,000 base stations by the end of this year. Moreover, we are proud to have won the distinction of "Fastest 5G" and "Best Mobile Coverage" in Q1-Q2 2021, according to the Taiwan 5G Speedtest AwardTM report in July. Given our significant progress in 5G adoption and development, as well as market approval and endorsement, we are optimistic about our growth and strive to maintain our leading status in Taiwan's mobile market."

Some highlights

  • Mobile communications revenue for the second quarter of 2021 increased by 3.2% to NT$ 21.77 billion. This was mainly due to the increase in handset sales revenue as well as mobile service revenue.
  • Internet business revenue for the second quarter of 2021 increased by 4.8% year over year to NT$ 7.79 billion.
  • Domestic fixed revenue for the second quarter of 2021 decreased by 0.5% year over year to NT$ 15.61 billion, mainly due to the decrease of local and DLD service revenue primarily driven by the increased mobile and VoIP substitution, which was offset by the increase of broadband access revenue.
  • International fixed communications revenue decreased by 0.4% to NT$ 2.17 billion.

Arista's Q2 sales hit $707 million, up 31% yoy

Arista Networks reported Q2 revenue of $707.3 million, an increase of 6.0% compared to the first quarter of 2021, and an increase of 30.8% from the second quarter of 2020. GAAP gross margin was 64.2%, compared to GAAP gross margin of 63.7% in the first quarter of 2021 and 63.7% in the second quarter of 2020. Non-GAAP net income was $216.8 million, or $2.72 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net income of $167.0 million, or $2.11 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2020.

"Our record second quarter reflects continued momentum and diversification across our top verticals and product-lines," said Jayshree Ullal, Arista's president and CEO. “We are on the cusp of network software and data driven transformation and look forward to delighting many more customers."

  • In Q2 2021, Arista surpassed 50 million cloud network ports shipped cumulatively.

Ampere to acquire OnSpecta for its inference software

Ampere has agreed to acquire OnSpecta, a start-up based Redwood City, California offering AI inference optimization software.  Financial terms were not disclosed.

OnSpecta claims its Deep Learning Software (DLS) AI optimization engine can deliver significant performance enhancements over commonly used CPU-based machine learning (ML) frameworks. The companies said they have already demonstrated over 4x acceleration on Ampere-based instances running popular AI-inference workloads. 

"We are excited to welcome the talented OnSpecta team to Ampere," said Renee James, founder, chairman and CEO of Ampere Computing.  " The addition of deep learning expertise will enable Ampere  to deliver a more robust platform for inference task processing with lower power, higher performance and better predictability than ever. This acquisition underscores our commitment to delivering a truly differentiated cloud native computing platform for our customers in both cloud and edge deployments."

Digital Realty to build another 64-Megawatt data center in Seoul

 Digital Realty will develop a new 64-megawatt data center in in Seoul, South Korea. The facility will be located in Gurae-dong, Gimpo City in northwest Seoul, approximately 23 kilometers from Digital Seoul 1 (ICN10), Digital Realty's first facility in South Korea, which is currently under construction and scheduled for delivery in the fourth quarter of 2021.  

The new, multi-story facility, Digital Seoul 2 (ICN11), is expected to encompass 970,000 square feet and to be fully operational and offer more opportunities for domestic and international companies to expand their digital capabilities across South Korea by the first half of 2023.  The carrier-neutral campus will form a key building block in the development of the industry's largest open fabric of fabrics, providing access to the rich connected data community on PlatformDIGITAL® with over 4,000 participants in 47 metros across 24 countries. 

"South Korea is one of the world's largest economies and represents a significant opportunity to extend coverage, capacity and connectivity options for the world's leading enterprise customers and service providers," said Digital Realty Chief Executive Officer A. William Stein.  "Our continued investment in the country supports the delivery of carrier-neutral solutions to enable the digital transformation strategies of local and global customers in the region." 

Ceragon posts Q2 revenue of $68.6 million

Ceragon Networks posted Q2 revenue of $68.6 million, up 9.9% from $62.4 million in Q2 2020 and up 0.4% from $68.3 million in Q1 2021. The increase from Q2 2020 is mainly attributed to stronger sales in North America and India. Net loss was $(1.7) million, or $(0.02) per diluted share compared with $(5.5) million, or $(0.07) per diluted share for Q2 2020 and $(1.2) million, or $(0.01) per diluted share for Q1 2021.

Doron Arazi, the newly appointed CEO, commented: "I've been at Ceragon for less than a month and already seen so much to be proud of, thanks to a highly efficient, proactive team. I feel fortunate to lead a team of 1,000+ dedicated and talented individuals who collectively have driven Ceragon's impressive performance, weathering unexpected storms such as the Covid-19 pandemic, bringing the company to where it is today. We had a strong quarter in terms of bookings, especially in North America, India and Europe. We've been awarded new contracts. To date we have sixteen 5G design wins. We're participating in more OpenRan trials. It has been a good start and I'm truly excited about all the growing 5G-era opportunities lying ahead."