Sunday, April 2, 2023

Canada's Rogers + Shaw merger reaches the finish line

After receiving final regulatory approval, Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications now expect to close their historic merger prior to the outside date of April 7, 202.

The deal, which was first announced in March 2021, is trasformative for Canada's communications market and builds on the legacies of JR Shaw and Ted Rogers, two of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Rogers will pay approximately CAD$26 billion to acquire all of the shares of Shaw. The companies will also divest Shaw's Freedom Mobile to Videotron, a unit of Quebecor, for $2.85 billion.

“We are very pleased to move forward with this transformative merger and proudly deliver on our commitments to enhance and expand network coverage, connect underserved communities, and improve access for low-income Canadians,” said Tony Staffieri, President and CEO, Rogers. “Building on a shared legacy with Shaw, we will invest substantially to bring more choice, more value, and more connectivity to Canadians across the country.”

“Today begins an exciting new chapter for the future of connectivity in Canada,” said Brad Shaw, Executive Chair and CEO, Shaw. “In today’s telecommunications industry, we recognize that companies need even greater scale to compete and make ongoing investments for future technology. This merger will provide the scale necessary for the future success and competitiveness of the wireline business that Shaw has built over the past five decades.” 

Rogers today reaffirmed the company’s merger commitments, including:

  • Investing $1 billion to improve connectivity for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities and unserved remote highways in Western Canada
  • Investing $2.5 billion to expand and upgrade Rogers 5G network for consumers and businesses in Western Canada
  • Investing $3 billion in technology and network services in Western Canada, including modernizing and expanding fibre-powered internet
  • Creating 3,000 new jobs in Western Canada to support the multi-billion-dollar investment in networks, services, and technology
  • Maintaining a Western Canada headquarters in Calgary
  • Expanding our low-cost Connected for Success Internet program to eligible Canadians across Western Canada
  • Introducing a new low-cost Connected for Success wireless program nation-wide for eligible Canadians
  • Honouring a five-year price commitment for Shaw Mobile customers

Huawei's 2022 revenue holds steady, profits and assets drop

Huawei reported 2022 annual revenue of CNY 642.338 billion (approx US$92.379 billion), a YoY increase of 0.9% and in-line with company forecasts.

The company remained profitable, however the reports shows a significant drop in profits, margins, cash flow, working capital and total assets compared to the past few years.

In the annual report released on Friday, Huawei's Rotating Chairman Xu Zhijun writes:

"Plum blossoms tend to grow sweeter from a harsh winter’s freeze. Today, Huawei is like a plum blossom. While it’s true that we have considerable pressure ahead of us, we have what it takes to come out the other end – with opportunities to grow, a resilient business portfolio, a unique competitive edge, the enduring trust of our customers and partners, and the courage to invest heavily in R&D. We are confident in our ability to rise above any challenge that comes our way, laying a solid foundation for sustainable survival and development."

Additional highlights from Huawei's 176-page annual report:

  • Huawei’s revenue from the Chinese market amounted to CNY403,999 million in 2022.
  • In 2022, Huawei's R&D spend was about CNY161.5 billion, about 25.1% of the company’s annual revenue
  • By the end of 2022, Huawei’s 400G solution had been deployed by more than 60 carriers around the world.
  • In China, Huawei helped carriers build more than 30 all-optical cities using the optical cross-connect (OXC) and OTN optical-electrical converged solution, improving user experience on dual-gigabit networks and meeting enterprise customers’ requirements for digital transformation.
  • In China, Huawei used the ultra-broadband ultra-stable converged backbone network architecture to help carriers build the world’s largest end-to-end 400GE IP backbone network, which boasts 99.9999% reliability
  • Huawei's mobile HarmonyOS has already been deployed on 330 million Huawei devices. HarmonyOS 3 was officially launched in 2022, representing a full expansion of the Super Device feature, which is now available on 12 different device types, including smartphones, tablets, PCs, HUAWEI Vision products, earphones, smart watches, and head units.

NTT offers Microsoft Sentinel Managed Detection and Response

NTT Ltd. launched a Managed Detection and Response (MDR) security service that combines human and machine expertise with leading technologies and threat intelligence to reduce the mean time to detect and respond to cyber attacks. Using analytics, machine learning, and threat intelligence, the service hunts for suspicious activities and minimizes false positives.

The MDR service is built on Microsoft Sentinel, Microsoft’s leading next-gen security information and event management (SIEM) platform, powered by AI, automation, and threat intelligence. Sentinel enables organizations to collect data at scale across all users, devices, apps, and infrastructure, both on-prem and in multicloud environments.

This latest offering represents another step forward in NTT and Microsoft’s multi-year Strategic Alliance Agreement (SCA) signed in 2020. Since then, the two companies have collaborated to build advanced solutions in public, private and edge cloud, data & AI, digital & app innovation, modern workplace, and now most recently in security.

“Organizations are typically utilizing a patchwork of security technologies that lack alignment,” said Charlie Li, Senior Executive Vice President: Managed Cloud and Infrastructure Services, NTT Ltd. “This disjointed approach has left businesses often unable to detect hard-to-find threats and lacking the necessary agility to mitigate them. Many are simply adding more security layers, increasing complexity, and generating even more logs and alerts that go untreated.”

“NTT’s MDR service helps organizations stay ahead of attackers and has a direct impact on workforce productivity and customer satisfaction through real-time and long-term threat correlation, advanced analytics, and continuous monitoring of digital transactions. It delivers a strong cyber-resilience posture, directly impacting an organization’s operational, financial, and resource resilience,” he added.

Kioxia and Western Digital detail next gen 218-layer 3D Flash memory

Kioxia and Western Digital provided an updated on their next generation flash memory technology.

The 218-layer 3D flash leverages 1Tb triple-level-cell (TLC) and quad-level-cell (QLC) with four planes and features innovative lateral shrink technology to increase bit density by over 50 percent. Its high-speed NAND I/O at over 3.2Gb/s, a 60 percent improvement over the previous generation, combined with a 20 percent write performance and read latency improvement, will accelerate overall performance and usability for users.

The advancements are achieved by applying advanced scaling and wafer bonding technologies. 

Kioxia and Western Digital reduced the cost by introducing several unique processes and architectures, enabling continued lateral scaling advancements. This balance between vertical and lateral scaling produces greater capacity in a smaller die with fewer layers at an optimized cost. The companies also developed groundbreaking CBA (CMOS directly Bonded to Array) technology, wherein each CMOS wafer and cell array wafer are manufactured separately in its optimized condition and then bonded together to deliver enhanced bit density and fast NAND I/O speed.

“The new 3D flash memory demonstrates the benefits of our strong partnership with Kioxia and our combined innovation leadership,” said Alper Ilkbahar, Senior Vice President of Technology & Strategy at Western Digital. “By working with one common R&D roadmap and continued investment in R&D, we have been able to productize this fundamental technology ahead of schedule and deliver high-performance, capital-efficient solutions.”

“Through our unique engineering partnership, we have successfully launched the eighth-generation BiCS FLASHTM with the industry's highest1 bit density,” said Masaki Momodomi, Chief Technology Officer at Kioxia Corporation. “I am pleased that Kioxia’s sample shipments for limited customers have started. By applying CBA technology and scaling innovations, we’ve advanced our portfolio of 3D flash memory technologies for use in a range of data-centric applications including smartphones, IoT devices and data centers.”