Friday, July 22, 2022

SpaceX completes 2nd Starlink mission this month from California

On Friday, July 22, SpaceX launched 46 Starlink satellites to low-Earth orbit from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched NROL-87, NROL-85 and SARah-1. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage landed on the Of Course I Still Love You droneship stationed in the Pacific Ocean.

The launch came 12 days after the last SpaceX launch from the same SLC-4E pad at Vandenberg, marking its fastest turnaround time to date at Vandenberg.

The mission was SpaceX’s 53rd Starlink mission to date.

MIT: The best semiconductor of them all?

Researchers at MIT, the University of Houston, and other institutions demonstrated that cubic boron arsenide offers the best thermal conductivity of any known semiconductor material, and may be the best possible material based on theoretical predictions.

Only a small amount of cubic boron arsenide has only been made, however the researchers were able to test small regions within the material. 

More work will be needed to determine whether cubic boron arsenide can be made in a practical, economical form, much less replace the ubiquitous silicon.

The team published its findings in the journal Science, in a paper by MIT postdoc Jungwoo Shin and MIT professor of mechanical engineering Gang Chen; Zhifeng Ren at the University of Houston; and 14 others at MIT, the University of Houston, the University of Texas at Austin, and Boston College.

Verizon posts flat revenue for Q2, missing expectations

Verizon reported total revenue of $33.8 billion for Q2 2022, relatively flat from second-quarter 2021. EPS amounted to $1.24, compared with $1.40 in second-quarter 2021.

"As the market leader, in a very competitive industry, we are determined to improve our operational and financial performance for the second half of the year,” said Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg. "With our network-as-a-service foundation, our new consumer mobility plans, and recent pricing actions, we are being deliberate in our decisions to improve our profitable growth opportunities today and into the future."

"Although recent performance did not meet our expectations, we remain confident in our long-term strategy,” said Verizon Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis. “We believe that our assets position us well to generate long-term shareholder value."

Some highlights:

Verizon Consumer 

  • Total Verizon Consumer revenue was $25.6 billion, an increase of 9.1 percent year over year, driven by the inclusion of TracFone, higher equipment revenue and core wireless service revenue growth.
  • 47% of the consumer postpaid phone customer base is now on 5G
  • Wireless service revenue increased 10.5 percent year over year, driven by the inclusion of TracFone and growth in postpaid Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA).
  • Consumer wireless retail postpaid churn was 0.93 percent in second-quarter 2022, and wireless retail postpaid phone churn was 0.75 percent. 
  • Consumer reported 168,000 fixed wireless net additions and 30,000 Fios Internet net additions in second-quarter 2022. Consumer Fios revenue was $2.9 billion in second-quarter 2022, flat year over year. 
  • In second-quarter 2022, Consumer reported 215,000 wireless retail postpaid phone net losses, due to a year over year increase in churn and a year over year decline in phone gross additions. Consumer ended second-quarter 2022 with nearly half of its wireless phone customers having 5G-capable devices.
  • In second-quarter 2022, Consumer operating income was $7.2 billion, a decrease of 4.6 percent year over year, and segment operating income margin was 27.9 percent, a decrease from 31.9 percent in second-quarter 2021. Segment EBITDA1 in second-quarter 2022 was $10.4 billion, a decrease of 0.3 percent year over year. A higher contribution from TracFone was more than offset primarily by higher promotional activity. Segment EBITDA margin1 was 40.5 percent, a decrease from 44.3 percent in second-quarter 2021.

Verizon Business results

  • Total Verizon Business revenue was $7.6 billion in second-quarter 2022, down 1.8 percent year over year.  
  • Business wireless service revenue was $3.2 billion, an increase of 3.0 percent year over year. This increase was driven by momentum in Small and Medium Business, and the best performance in Global Enterprise since first-quarter 2020. 
  • Business reported 430,000 wireless retail postpaid net additions in second-quarter 2022, including 227,000 postpaid phone net additions. This was the third consecutive quarter that Business reported more than 200,000 postpaid phone net additions. Phone gross additions in Business increased nearly 30 percent year over year.
  • Wireless retail postpaid churn was 1.37 percent in second-quarter 2022, and wireless retail postpaid phone churn was 1.07 percent.
  • Business reported 88,000 fixed wireless net additions in second-quarter 2022. 
  • In second-quarter 2022, Verizon Business operating income was $675 million, a decrease of 21.1 percent year over year, and segment operating income margin was 8.9 percent, a decrease from 11.0 percent in second-quarter 2021. Segment EBITDA1 was $1.7 billion in second-quarter 2022, a decrease of 6.5 percent year over year. In addition to Wireline revenue declines, Business experienced elevated device subsidies related to wireless activations in the quarter. Segment EBITDA margin1 was 22.9 percent, a decrease from 24.1 percent in second-quarter 2021.

Telefónica validates its net-zero ambitions

Telefónica claims to be the first telco in the world to obtain validation from the Science Based Targets (SBTi) initiative, according to the new ‘Net-Zero Standard’, of its net zero environmental targets, both in the short, medium and long term. 

Telefónica's Net-Zero targets include:

  • a committment to achieving net zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions across the value chain by 2040, which means an effective reduction of at least 90% of all its emissions (direct and indirect) and neutralising the remaining emissions (less than 10%) through high quality carbon credits.
  • an intermediate target of reducing absolute GHG emissions in Scope 1 and 2 by 80% and 56% in Scope 3 (value chain) by 2030.

The company says it has already decreased all its emissions by more than 40% (70% for Scope 1+2 since 2015 and 27% for Scope 3 since 2016).

“Protecting the environment is a top priority for Telefónica, which is why we are working to curb climate change and reverse biodiversity loss. The fact that our emissions reduction targets are validated by SBTi according to the new ‘Net-Zero Standard’ demonstrates the company’s commitment to leading the energy and digital transition as they go hand in hand to build a greener future for all,” said Elena Valderrábano, Global Chief Sustainability (ESG) Officer.

IQM raises €128m for quantum computing

IQM Quantum Computers, a start-up based in Espoo, Finland, raised €128 million ($128m) in Series A2 funding for its development of superconducting quantum computers.

IQM delivers a quantum advantage through a unique application-specific, co-design approach. IQM is building Finland’s first 54-qubit quantum computer with VTT and an IQM-led consortium (Q-Exa) is also building a quantum computer in Germany. This computer will be integrated into an HPC supercomputer to create a quantum accelerator for future scientific research. IQM has over 180+ employees with offices in Paris, Madrid, Munich and Espoo. The company was founded in 2018.

The funding was led by World Fund and included participation from Bayern Kapital, EIC Fund, OurCrowd, QCI SPV, Tofino and Varma, as well as existing investors, Matadero QED, MIG Fonds, OpenOcean, Salvia GmbH, Santo Venture Capital GmbH, Tencent, Tesi, and Vsquared. The funding round follows a €39m ($39m) Series A1 announcement in 2020 and includes part of a €35m ($35m) venture loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) announced earlier this year, 

Dr. Jan Goetz, CEO and Co-founder of IQM Quantum Computers, said: “This funding underscores the importance of our mission: building quantum computers for the well-being of humankind. It also demonstrates the confidence in our business model and the continued trust in our team's ability to build the future of quantum technologies. I am confident that we will continue to achieve all our product and business milestones and deliver world-class quantum computers to our customers.”

Rakuten Symphony opens lab in Bengaluru

Rakuten Symphony will open a new lab in Bengaluru, India, to focus on the automation of Open RAN-based, cloud native mobile networks. The Global Innovation Lab is expected to open in early 2023 and will be housed inside new engineering development facilities opening simultaneously to bring together Rakuten Symphony’s Bengaluru employee base.

Tareq Amin, Chief Executive Officer of Rakuten Symphony, said, “Our operations around the world are powered by incredible Indian talent and creative innovation, so I am very proud to announce this additional investment with the establishment of our Global Innovation Lab and new engineering development facilities in Bengaluru. I am very confident that as we continue to grow here in India, our ability to provide telco solutions to the world will also grow exponentially.”

Rakuten says its Global Innovation Lab will be a state-of-the art facility that recreates the entire network architecture in a simulated environment, from RAN to Core to transport, enabling function and performance testing. The lab will also act as a showcase for Symworld platform, allowing Rakuten Symphony to demonstrate the capabilities and performance of the platform to customers. It will complement and expand upon Rakuten Symphony’s existing RAN lab in Bengaluru and the Rakuten Cloud Innovation Lab in Tokyo, allowing for global end-to-end testing of apps across the Symworld portfolio. Going forward, there are plans to set up facilities for 6G infrastructure R&D in the lab.

Narendra Narayana, Managing Director of Rakuten Symphony India said, “Rakuten Symphony India represents a key driver of innovation in the telecom space, and we are very excited to further expand our presence. We look forward to fostering local talent and working with local Indian and global partners to promote the adoption of Open RAN technologies and empower global telecom operators to build and operate secure mobile networks.”

Including locations in Bengaluru and Indore, Rakuten Symphony’s employee base in India has grown to over 3,300 in less than one year through acquisitions and organic growth.

Xunison secures €3.35 million

Xunison, a start-up based in Dublin, Ireland,  raised seed capital of €3.35 million for its development of software/hardware solutions for telcos and ISPs. 

The funding was secured through Focus Capital Partners.

Xunison cited a business’s partnership rollout with STC, Saudi Arabia.  

Speaking of the super round secured, CEO of Xunison, Ryan O’Donovan commented, “We were humbled by the level of interest that was expressed in this round. It exceeded our expectations and capacity when it closed out on Christmas week. As a result of this funding, 2022 will see Xunison cement our brand presence and effectively communicate the incredible capabilities of the organisation to a global audience.”