Tuesday, May 28, 2024

T-Mobile to acquire UScellular operations for $4.4 billion

T-Mobile agreed to acquire substantially all of UScellular’s wireless operations, including its wireless customers and stores, as well as approximately 30% of its spectrum across certain bands. The combination will add millions of UScellular customers, many of whom are in rural areas, to T-Mobile’s 5G network. Conversely, T-Mobile customers will also get access to UScellular’s network in areas that previously had limited coverage.

Under the deal, T-Mobile will pay approximately $4.4 billion, consisting of cash and up to $2.0 billion of assumed debt. UScellular will retain its other spectrum and towers, while T-Mobile will lease space on 2,100 towers. T-Mobile anticipates $1.0 billion in annual cost synergies and plans to reinvest these savings to enhance consumer options and competition.

  • T-Mobile’s acquisition cost: $4.4 billion (cash and up to $2.0 billion in assumed debt).
  • UScellular retains ownership of its certain spectrum and towers.
  • T-Mobile to lease space on 2,100 towers.
  • No impact on T-Mobile’s 2024 guidance or shareholder return program.
  • Expected annual cost synergies: $1.0 billion.
  • Integration cost: Estimated between $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion.
  • Reinvestment of synergies to improve consumer choice and competition.

“With this deal T-Mobile can extend the superior Un-carrier value and experiences that we’re famous for to millions of UScellular customers and deliver them lower-priced, value-packed plans and better connectivity on our best-in-class nationwide 5G network,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “As customers from both companies will get more coverage and more capacity from our combined footprint, our competitors will be forced to keep up – and even more consumers will benefit. The Un-carrier is all about shaking up wireless for the good of consumers and this deal is another way for us to continue doing even more of that.”


Cologix completes 50MW data center in Columbus, Ohio

Cologix completed construction of its fourth data center in Columbus Ohio,

Spanning 256,000 square feet across a seven-acre campus, COL4 is equipped to handle the growing influx of AI applications and offers unparalleled connectivity options and fully available power for businesses seeking high-performance data center solutions.

Higlights of Cologix COL4

  • Capacity: 50MW of power across three data halls 
  • Connectivity: COL4 provides access to over 50 unique network providers in Meet-Me-Rooms (MMRs), ensuring diverse connectivity options for all customers.
  • Scalability: The facility offers scalable power options to meet diverse colocation requirements, providing flexibility and efficiency for enterprises of all sizes.
  • AI Readiness: COL4 is designed to support the surge of AI applications, providing the infrastructure needed for seamless integration with cloud services.
  • Redundancy: COL4 features redundant power and cooling systems, as well as robust network infrastructure, to minimize downtime and ensure continuous operation.
  • Security: The facility is equipped with state-of-the-art security measures to safeguard data and infrastructure, ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. COL4 has a bullet resistant security booth, closed-circuit television (CCTV) system and biometric scanners and badge access. Cologix has onsite 24/7/365 security personnel. COL4 also has a K-rated perimeter security fence. Customized security is available.
  • Green Data Center Initiatives: COL4 was built using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) principles. 

“Over 10 years ago, we recognized Columbus’ importance as a technology hub for growing companies and decided to enter this market,” said Dawn Smith, President of Cologix. “The completion of COL4 comes at a crucial time with hyperscalers intensifying their focus on cloud regions and laying the groundwork for seamless AI integration with cloud services. This is the first colocation AI-ready data center completed in Columbus and is poised to support this surge in demand. We look forward to continuing to deliver market-leading colocation and interconnection solutions for the Columbus market.”

Together, the four Cologix data centers in the Columbus region span a total of 500,000 square feet and 80MW of power. All four of Cologix’s data centers in Columbus are interconnected with a diverse fiber ring. Additionally, Cologix has Ohio’s most comprehensive carrier hotel in its Columbus data centers as well as an interconnection ecosystem of 50+ unique network and cloud service providers, two public cloud onramps with access to Amazon Web Services Direct Connect and Google Cloud Interconnect and the Ohio IX internet exchange.

xAI raises $6 billion to propel its AI ambitions

xAI has secured $6 billion in Series B funding with contributions from key investors such as Valor Equity Partners, Vy Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding. 

The company says its mission is "to develop advanced AI systems that are truthful, competent, and beneficial for humanity, aiming to understand the true nature of the universe."

Key Investors: Valor Equity Partners, Vy Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, Kingdom Holding.

  • xAI was first announced in July 2023.
  • Release of Grok-1 on X in November.
  • Improved Grok-1.5 model with long context capability.
  • Grok-1.5V with image understanding.
  • Open-source release of Grok-1.


Astera Labs brings PCIe 6.x testing to Taiwan

Astera Labs announced expanded PCIe 6.x testing capabilities in its Cloud-Scale Interop Lab to enable seamless interoperability between Aries 6 PCIe/CXL Smart DSP Retimers and a broad range of PCIe 6.x hosts and endpoints. This paves the way for AI platform developers to design high-bandwidth, low-latency PCIe 6.x connectivity with confidence, reduce overall development time, and deploy at scale.

Astera Labs has chosen Taiwan to launch its first Cloud-Scale Interop Lab outside of Silicon Valley.

Thad Omura, Chief Business Officer, Astera Labs, said, “As AI systems continue to advance at a rapid pace, data center operators need to deploy increasingly complex systems on an accelerated timeline. Our intense focus on standards compliance and plug-and-play interoperability is foundational to why our widely deployed, field-tested Aries Retimer portfolio sets the gold standard for PCIe/CXL® connectivity. Expanding our Cloud-Scale Interop Lab test suite to support PCIe 6.x operation fast-tracks deployment for customers integrating Aries 6 – the industry’s lowest power PCIe 6.x/CXL 3.x Retimer – with solutions from our ecosystem partners.”

Key Features of PCIe 6.x:

  • Increased Bandwidth: PCIe 6.x offers a significant increase in data transfer rates, reaching up to 64 GT/s (gigatransfers per second) per lane, effectively doubling the bandwidth of PCIe 5.0.
  • Lower Latency: Enhanced encoding and decoding techniques help to reduce latency, improving overall system performance.
  • Improved Power Efficiency: The new standard introduces lower power consumption features, making it more efficient for high-performance computing applications.
  • Backward Compatibility: PCIe 6.x maintains backward compatibility with previous PCIe generations, allowing it to work with older devices and infrastructure.
  • Enhanced Signal Integrity: Uses PAM4 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation with 4 levels) signaling to achieve higher data rates while maintaining signal integrity.

Use Cases for PCIe 6.x:

  • Data Centers and Servers: Ideal for high-speed data processing, storage solutions, and network interface cards, enhancing the performance of cloud computing and big data analytics.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Supports faster data transfer and processing speeds, essential for training complex AI models and real-time inference tasks.
  • High-Performance Computing (HPC): Suitable for applications requiring extensive computational power and high data throughput, such as scientific simulations, financial modeling, and weather forecasting.
  • Graphics and Gaming: Provides increased bandwidth for graphics cards and other peripherals, enabling higher frame rates and better performance in gaming and professional graphic applications.
  • Networking: Enhances the performance of high-speed networking equipment, including 5G infrastructure and advanced telecommunications systems.

Rivada signs KT SAT for upcoming OuterNET of LEO satellites

Rivada Space Networks signed an MoU with KT SAT, Korea's national satellite communications services provider, to provide next-generation connectivity for Enterprise and Government customers, enabling expansion in Asia Pacific and beyond.

Rivada is planning a low-latency point-to-point network of 600 low earth orbit (LEO) satellites featuring inter-satellite laser links. Advanced onboard processing and routing will enable a ubiquitous optical mesh network in space. 

Rivada says its "orbital network," in which data stays in space from origin to destination, creates an ultra-secure, private satellite network with pole-to-pole coverage, offering end-to-end latencies much lower than terrestrial fiber over long distances. By routing traffic on a physically separated network, it provides a layer of defense for any enterprise or government organization that needs to securely share data across Asia and beyond.

KT SAT will deploy Rivada's outernet, a unique space-based network in low earth orbit, to provide ultra-secure connectivity to enterprise, government and maritime companies looking for scalable and resilient solutions for their expanding networks. And with Asia's subsea cables, which carry much of the world's data, increasingly becoming a focal point of geopolitical tensions, the region now, more than ever, needs resilient infrastructure, which is fast, secure, and reliable.

Declan Ganley, CEO of Rivada Space Networks, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with KT SAT with their long history and expertise in serving the telecoms sector in Asia Pacific. The outernet will provide secure connectivity and expanded coverage, enabling KT SAT to tap into new markets. Our unique infrastructure is what data communications has been waiting for – a game-changing constellation which re-defines connectivity in terms of security, latency, capacity, efficiency, and coverage. As a completely new type of LEO constellation, the outernet can provide the Asia Pacific region with a next-generation infrastructure for secure, resilient communications and network expansion."


Sweden's SUNET deploys Adtran for fiber monitoring

The Swedish University Computer Network (SUNET) has deployed Adtran's ALM in-service fiber monitoring solution to enhance network resilience and operational efficiency. The technology equips SUNET’s maintenance teams with real-time insight into the quality of its nationwide backbone infrastructure and identifies the precise location of any fiber issues. 

SUNET is Sweden’s research and education (R&E) network connecting academics and scientists across the country.

The deployment of Adtran’s 16-port ALM fiber assurance solution across SUNET’s extensive fiber 8,000km backbone network enables rapid identification and resolution of failures, enhancing network resilience

NetNordic, a key technology partner of SUNET, was also involved in the deployment.

“SUNET is a world-class high-capacity optical transport network connecting over 110 organizations and serving a community of 750,000 students, teachers and researchers across Sweden and beyond. The deployment of our ALM platform, with its passive fiber monitoring capabilities, has built even more resilience into this crucially important infrastructure, rendering services more reliable and streamlining operations,” said Stuart Broome, GM of EMEA sales at Adtran. “Finding the exact location of faults is a huge challenge for any operator. But now, with the ability to monitor the integrity of its fiber plant passively and proactively, SUNET’s maintenance teams no longer have to engage in costly and complicated post-failure analysis. ALM enables them to address issues before they impact the high-bandwidth, low-latency services Sweden’s R&E community relies on.”

Japanese consortium tests 5G from altitude of 4km using 38GHz Band

Researchers in Japan verified 5G in the 38 GHz band from an altitude of approximately 4km, simulating the eventual use of High-Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS).

In this trial to demonstrate the practical application of 5G feeder link and backhaul line for HAPS, a Cessna aircraft was equipped with newly developed communication equipment that is expected to be deployed eventually in HAPS. Additionally, a lens-type antenna with an auto-tracking function was used as the HAPS ground station (“ground station”).

The trial established an aerial relay backhaul line between the Cessna aircraft, flying at altitude of approximately 4km, and three ground stations, using the 5G New Radio (NR) standard with 38GHz band radio waves, which is a novel approach for terrestrial 5G networks. The achievement of multiple backhaul line consisting of aerial relays using the 5G NR standard with 38GHz band radio waves was a world first in telecommunication technology.

Participating companies included SKY Perfect JSAT, NTT DOCOMO, the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), and Panasonic. The Cessna aircraft was operated by Kyoritsu Air Survey Co.