Big Tech post strong earnings and revenue growth, but cuts jobs along with Telecom Vendors

Tech companies have been consistently laying off employees since late 2022. As of April 25th, some 266 tech companies have laid off nearly 75,000 workers in 2024, according to the independent layoff-tracking site  A total of 262,682 workers in tech lost their jobs in 2023 compared with 164,969 in 2022. The volume of layoffs in 2023 — a total of 1,186 companies — also surpassed 2022, when 1,061 companies in tech laid off workers — and that total was more than in 2020 and 2021 combined.

Big Tech companies Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Netflix, collectively cut nearly 45,500 jobs in their most recent full fiscal year. Since 2020, however, they have added more than 358,500, bringing total headcount to nearly 2,170,000. Excluding Amazon, which accounts for 70% of that figure, job numbers fell by around 29,700 last year but have grown by 131,500 since 2020 (data from earnings reports and SEC filings – see chart below).

  • Today, Amazon reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the first quarter, driven by growth in advertising and cloud computing. Operating income soared more than 200% in the period to $15.3 billion, far outpacing revenue growth, the latest sign that the company’s cost-cutting measures and focus on efficiency is bolstering its bottom line. AWS accounted for 62% of total operating profit. Net income also more than tripled to $10.4 billion, or 98 cents a share, from $3.17 billion, or 31 cents a share, a year ago. Sales increased 13% from $127.4 billion a year earlier.
  • Google parent Alphabet also posted robust profits, with net income in the latest quarter soaring 57% to $23.7 billion while revenue grew 15% in the quarter.  That’s despite job cuts of 12,115 and net headcount reduction of ~8,000 in 2023.
  • Microsoft last week managed 20% year-over-year growth in third-quarter net income, to around $21.9 billion, on 17% growth in sales, to $61.9 billion. The number of Microsoft employees was unchanged in 2023 from the previous year, despite the company laying off 11,158 employees.  Future headcount reductions may be necessary to help pay for Microsoft’s multi-billion-dollar splurge on AI and the data centers needed to train the Large Language Models and associated generative AI technology. But few expect job cuts to slow Microsoft down.


As expected, telecom vendors, which have many fewer employees, than Big Tech had a higher percentage of job reductions.  CommScope, Corning, Dell, Ericsson, and Nokia, suppliers to some of the world’s biggest telcos, shed nearly 36,500 jobs last year as large IT customers spent less on new equipment.

The following table shows the total number of jobs per year for many vendors/cloud service providers.


Source: Light Reading & company reports/SEC filings

Huawei was the exception to the telecom vendor layoff craze (even ZTE reduced its workforce in 2023). Despite U.S. sanctions and a European backlash against the company, Huawei gained 12,000 employees in 2022, giving it a workforce of 207,000 that year. The number was unchanged in 2023, according to its recently published annual report. Restrictions have not been as effective at hindering Huawei’s progress as the U.S. had hoped.

On the semiconductor side, Intel experienced a net workforce reduction of 7,100 jobs. Profits have tanked because of market share losses, a downturn in customer spending on equipment (explained partly by the earlier build-up of inventory that happened after the pandemic) and investments in new foundries designed to challenge the Asian giants of TSMC and Samsung. Big Tech moves to build in-house AI augmented processor chips that can substitute for Intel’s microprocessors are among the problems the company faces.   Intel’s profits have collapsed, just as they have at the mobile networks business group of silicon customer Nokia, and it is at risk of displacement by chip rivals in important markets.

These big tech layoffs are a peculiar outlier in an otherwise strong employment environment: The unemployment rate has hovered between 3.4% and 3.8% since Feb. 2022, bureau data shows.  And quit rates, which reflect a lack of worker confidence, this year are consistently at some of the highest levels in more than 20 years, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

In summary, Big Tech companies continue to thrive financially, but they are also making strategic adjustments, including job cuts, as they navigate the evolving landscape of technology and generative AI. The emphasis on AI development, large language models, and cloud services remains a key driver for their growth and profitability.  Telecom vendors are facing tremendous pain due to continued reduction in telco CAPEX which may persists for many years.



US cable and telecom network operators feel the pain

Bloomberg: Higher borrowing costs hurting indebted wireless companies; industry is 2nd largest source of distressed debt

Telecom layoffs continue unabated as AT&T leads the pack – a growth engine with only 1% YoY growth?

High Tech Layoffs Explained: The End of the Free Money Party

US cable and telecom network operators feel the pain

According to the financial analysts at TD Cowen, prominent cable companies like Charter and Comcast collectively lost 186,000 customers in the first quarter 2024, ahead of their estimates of 141,000.

“The quarter is proving that Cable and Wireless are in the throes of market maturity, both facing a smaller pool with churn at historically low levels,” wrote TD Cowen in a recent note to investors.

“Cable has lost subscribers for a fourth consecutive quarter and [it’s] getting worse,” the analysts wrote. “The Broadband market is clearly maturing and churn is at historic lows, meaning there are less [customer] adds to go around. Therefore, even with FWA [fixed wireless access] adds trending lower, Cable will continue to struggle to grow subscribers in the near-to-mid-term.”

“During the first quarter, our Internet customer growth remained challenged by a low move and generally low activity environment, coupled with continued elevated competition at least in the short term and a small impact from fewer low income connects due to discontinued ACP availability,” explained Charter CEO Chris Winfrey during his company’s quarterly conference call, according to Seeking Alpha.

Comcast lost 65,000 broadband customers between January and March due to stiff competition from telecom firms such as T-Mobile and Verizon. The decline was more than the estimated loss of 49,000 customers, according to FactSet. The company said broadband subscriber losses would continue.

Wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile collectively reported more postpaid phone growth than expected, but the TD Cowen analysts noted their gross customer additions were “light across the board.”

MoffettNathanson analysts wrote that T-Mobile’s numbers during the first quarter “were met only after adopting a dramatically sweetened free-iPhone offer in the waning days of the quarter. That offer was pulled as soon as the quarter ended. Industry growth is slowing, Cable is taking share (and threatens re-pricing the industry lower in the process), and the ever-lengthening upgrade cycles for handsets have to reverse eventually. None of that is terrifying. But it is worrying.”

Telco job cuts are continuing after many years of layoffs.

AT&T and Verizon have been shedding jobs/ reducing headcount for many years and wireline carrier Lumen Technologies is following:

  • AT&T cut the most total number of jobs in 2023, reducing its headcount from 162,920 employees at the end of 2022, to 150,470 employees at the end of last year. That was below the nearly 40,000 jobs AT&T managed to cut in 2022.
  • Verizon cut slightly fewer jobs than AT&T last year, though it was a higher overall percentage of its employee base. The #2 U.S. carrier slashed 11,700 positions in 2023, ending the year with 105,400 total employees.
  • Lumen Technologies recently announced it would cut almost 1,000 positions, or 7% of its workforce, to “right-size our business through automation and AI.”

The very tough telecom market may be pushing operators to raise money or pursue M&A.  “The capital markets are becoming more favorable, further opening up the possibility for M&A,” wrote the financial analysts at TD Cowens.

  • Cogent is raising around $200 million with some of its IPv4 Internet addresses.
  • According to Bloomberg, Uniti Group is preparing to reunite with Windstream in a $15 billion merger.

Uniti and Windstream aren’t alone. For example, Bloomberg reported that European satellite operators SES and Intelsat have also restarted merger negotiations.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile now expects to close its $1.3 billion purchase of MVNO Mint Mobile in the coming days. The company also recently inked a $1.5 billion plan to invest into fiber operator Lumos.

It’s unclear when the next big M&A transaction might arrive in the telecom industry. There are plenty of assets up for sale, including UScellular’s mobile business and Crown Castle’s fiber and small cell operations.


Hovering over all of this is the apparent end of the U.S. government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). That program currently provides up to $30 per month to 23 million U.S. households for their telecom services, money that ultimately runs into the coffers of network operators.

“We’re expecting that the program funding is going to end,” said T-Mobile’s Michael Katz during his company’s quarterly conference call.

Katz said T-Mobile counts “a couple hundred thousand” prepaid customers on the program. But he suggested that the end of ACP might help funnel some customers to T-Mobile’s cheaper offerings, including its new Mint Mobile brand.

Meanwhile, other US subsidies are scheduled to hit the US broadband market in the coming months and years. For example, money from the Biden administration’s $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program is expected to begin running through U.S. states starting next year. That money will arrive in the form of grants for the construction of networks in rural areas.

It’s unclear how that shifting subsidy landscape will affect a U.S. broadband market that’s showing signs of slowing.

“We now have confidence that industry [customer] adds will land at a little more than 400,000, down from a normal pace of 700-800,000,” wrote the financial analysts at New Street Research in a note to investors following the release of Charter’s earnings. “If we annualize this, based on normal seasonality, we land at a little more than 1 million adds for the year, down from a normal pace of ~2.5 million.”

The New Street Research analysts explained that growth in the U.S. broadband market is generally keeping pace with the formation of new households, which is also slower than normal.  

“The big question: have we hit saturation for the broadband market or are there temporary pressures impacting growth,” wrote the analysts. “If it is the former, then this is the new normal. If the latter, growth should reaccelerate at some point.”



Bloomberg: Higher borrowing costs hurting indebted wireless companies; industry is 2nd largest source of distressed debt

Telecom layoffs continue unabated as AT&T leads the pack – a growth engine with only 1% YoY growth?

High Tech Layoffs Explained: The End of the Free Money Party


Bloomberg: Higher borrowing costs hurting indebted wireless companies; industry is 2nd largest source of distressed debt

S&P Global estimates total outstanding debt in the speculative-grade U.S. telecom and cable sector is about $275.4 billion. Most of the telecom debt issuers took advantage of historically low interest rates in 2020 and 2021 to refinance their capital structures and push out maturities until 2026 and 2027.   Wireless carriers spent heavily on acquiring spectrum licenses and building out their 5G networks, which led to significant debt loads and a very low ROI.  For example, AT&T’s total debt increased significantly due to the C-band auction for 5G spectrum. It jumped from $182.98 billion at the end of 2020 to $209.08 billion in March 2021.  Similarly, Verizon’s total debt climbed from $151.24 billion to $180.70 billion during the same period.  Large debt loads can limit a company’s ability to invest in new technologies and infrastructure.

Billionaires who built their fortunes building out wireless networks when debt cost almost nothing are seeing their wealth evaporate. For example:

  • Altice founder Patrick Drahi’s wealth has dropped almost 18% to $4.4 billion this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.  Altice has been the poster child for the industry’s travails recently. Last month, Altice spokesmen told creditors of its French operations that they would have to take a hit (impairment charge) in the restructuring of the €24.3 billion debt pile.
  • Rakuten Group Inc.’s Hiroshi Mikitani’s fortune has shrunk 69% since 2021 after a push into mobile increased the firm’s losses.  Rakuten announced earlier this month that it was looking at combining its financial units into a single group.
  • Dish Network Corp. Chairman Charles Ergen has seen his riches shrink nearly 80% in less than three years as the company tries to transition from pay-TV to wireless services. Dish has been searching for ways to address upcoming debt maturities after scrapping a debt swap earlier this year when bondholders pushed back on the deal.  Private credit firms have offered financing, Bloomberg News previously reported.

The stumbles in wireless highlight wider troubles across telecommunications, media and technology. Communications is the worst-performing junk sector in the US this year, Bloomberg Intelligence credit analyst Stephen Flynn wrote in a note this week, with several members of the index burdened with high leverage and facing large maturity walls.  Annual returns from the industry’s junk bonds have turned negative this year as shown in this chart:

Wireless is the second biggest source of distressed debt globally (#1 is real estate) after the debt pile swelled to $35.3 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. That’s up more than 80% since early January!  The fall in Altice bond prices sent the total level of distressed debt globally last week to the highest level since the middle of January.

Digicel, the Caribbean mobile operator founded by Irish businessman Denis O’Brien, imposed losses on bondholders and lenders earlier this year via what ratings company Moody’s described as a “distressed exchange.”

In summary, managing debt and addressing bad debt are crucial for the wireless industry to maintain financial stability and sustain growth. As interest rates fluctuate and operational challenges persist, wireless telecom companies must find effective strategies to mitigate these risks and optimize revenue assurance.


Where Have You Gone 5G? Midband spectrum, FWA, 2024 decline in CAPEX and RAN revenue

Telecom layoffs continue unabated as AT&T leads the pack – a growth engine with only 1% YoY growth?

MTN Consulting: Generative AI hype grips telecom industry; telco CAPEX decreases while vendor revenue plummets

Dell’Oro: Telecom Capex Growth to Slow in calendar years 2022-2024

FT: Telecom & Technology on the Ropes: Challenging Markets & Too Much Debt

ZTE reports higher earnings & revenue in 1Q-2024; wins 2023 climate leadership award

China’s ZTE reported 3.7% higher Q1-2024 earnings of 2.7 billion Chinese yuan (US$380 million), with sales up 5% to RMB30.6 billion ($4.2 billion).

With decreased CAPEX from China’s network operators, ZTE accelerated its transition from full connectivity to “connectivity + computing power” ino order to expand its addressable market.

Internationally, ZTE said it “continued to achieve continuous breakthroughs with major telecom operators in key countries, sustaining its growth trend. Simultaneously, in terms of government-enterprise business and consumer business, the company intensified its expansion in these two sectors, with both segments returning to rapid growth paths.”

That’s in sharp contrast to its European network equipment rivals, who have been exposed by the worldwide 5G wind-down. Nokia lost a fifth of its revenue in Q1; Ericsson reported a 14% slide, with network sales off by 19%.

ZTE didn’t break out its segment figures for Q1, but its 2023 full-year filing showed it remains heavily reliant on its home market, which contributed just under 70% of total revenue. Both ZTE and Huawei derive at least 80% of network spending by China’s state-owned telco giants (China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom).

ZTE, leveraging its long-term accumulation of ICT full-stack full-domain capabilities, is pursuing strategic opportunities in digitization, intelligence, and decarbonization. Keeping pace with the wave of AI development, the company deepens its business layout of “connectivity + computing power,” providing global customers in high-speed networks, computing infrastructure, and industrial digital transformation with an open and innovative intelligent network foundation.

ZTE says it’s committed to deeply integrating AI technology with terminals to drive product innovation and intelligent upgrades, thus constructing a smart ecosystem.  For terminals, ZTE has proposed the concept of “AI for All,” launched an AI-driven all-scenario intelligent ecosystem 3.0, and released a variety of innovative products and technologies.

In the first quarter of 2024, the company’s research and development expenses were RMB 6.38 billion, accounting for 20.9% of operating revenue. That provided sustained strong impetus for business innovation and product enhancement/competitiveness.

Moving forward, ZTE says it is committed to actively embracing the digital construction wave, accelerating its transition towards “connectivity + computing power,” thereby driving the company’s high-quality development. The company will continue collaborating with industry partners to establish highly efficient, green, and intelligent digital infrastructure, aiming to advance the development of the global ICT industry.


Separately, ZTE was honored with 2023 Climate Leadership Award (A list) at “Embracing International Disclosure Standards and Amplify the Voice of Chinese Companies – CDP China 2023 Annual Report Release and Award Ceremony.” This recognition comes as ZTE’s case study, “Target-Driven, Layered Decoding: Pathways and Actions to Achieve Climate Goals” was featured in 2023 CDP China Corporates Disclosure Report. The event further acknowledged ZTE’s outstanding contributions to climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

Summer Chen, Vice President and General Manager of Branding & PR Strategies at ZTE, shared the company’s actions and leadership in promoting green innovations during her speech titled “Shaping Digital Innovation for a Shared Sustainable Future.” She stated, “Green and sustainable development is a global consensus, with digital intelligence playing a pivotal role. In line with this trend, ZTE has dedicated itself to green and low-carbon innovations, and received an A rating for its leading climate action in CDP Climate Change 2023 Questionnaire, an honor achieved by only 2% of global participants.”

Ms. Chen emphasized ZTE’s commitment to green development, leveraging technological innovation to shape an eco-friendly ecosystem. This commitment is underpinned by four dimensions: green operations, green supply chain, green digital infrastructure and green empowerment, contributing to achieve carbon peak and carbon neutrality goals. ZTE focuses on energy conservation and carbon reduction within its business operations, while empowering industries to foster new quality productive forces, aiming to set a global benchmark as a green, sustainable, and low-carbon tech company.


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T-Mobile & EQT Joint Venture (JV) to acquire Lumos and build out T-Mobile Fiber footprint

T-Mobile and EQT, a purpose-driven global investment organization, today announced they have entered into a joint venture (JV) with EQT’s Infrastructure VI fund (EQT) that will acquire fiber-to-the-home platform Lumos from EQT’s predecessor fund EQT Infrastructure III.

The JV will bring T-Mobile’s retail, marketing, brand and customer experience strengths together with EQT’s fiber infrastructure investment expertise. Together they will acquire Lumos’ scalable fiber network build capabilities to deliver best-in-class high-speed fiber internet connectivity to customers across the U.S. without access to fiber today. After the transaction closes, Lumos, which currently reaches 320,000 households over 7,500 route miles with fiber optic internet and home wi-fi service in the Mid-Atlantic, will transition to a wholesale model with T-Mobile as the anchor tenant owning customer relationships and leveraging its brand to attract new subscribers. The JV will focus on market identification and selection, network engineering and design, network deployment, and customer installation.

“As the demand for reliable, low-latency connectivity rapidly increases, this deal is a scalable strategy for T-Mobile to take a significant step forward in expanding on our broadband success and continue shaking up competition in this space to bring even more value and choice to consumers,” said Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile. “Together with EQT and Lumos, T-Mobile is building on our position as the fastest growing broadband provider in the country in a value-accretive way that complements our sustained growth leadership in wireless. Customers – homes and businesses – who get the fast, affordable, and reliable internet they need will be the real winners,” he added.

T-Mobile provides a unique value proposition and much-needed reliable connectivity to homes and businesses across the country through its 5G Internet, a fixed wireless internet service on its 5G network that is available to more than 50 million households and businesses nationwide and serves over 5 million customers, as well as T-Mobile Fiber, which has launched in parts of 16 U.S. markets. Those launches have shown consumer demand for broadband that T-Mobile cannot meet through its fallow capacity fixed wireless product alone, and many customers want the speed and reliability that only fiber can provide.

Jan Vesely, Partner within EQT’s Infrastructure Advisory Team said, “We are proud to have partnered with Lumos over the past six years to rapidly scale the company and roll out fiber to underserved markets, and we look forward to continuing to leverage EQT’s considerable digital infrastructure and fiber expertise to support the significant fiber buildout ambitions of T-Mobile and the JV. This new effort will build critical fiber broadband infrastructure that will enable remote work, education, and healthcare use cases across the country. We have worked with T-Mobile as a customer across many of our existing digital infrastructure investments and are delighted to build on that relationship and partner with T-Mobile on this opportunity to roll out fiber to underserved Americans.”

“Lumos takes great pride in our achievements, as we have successfully delivered fiber to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, marking a significant acceleration in our growth. Our commitment to enhancing customers’ lives through the development of a network prepared for the demands of tomorrow remains steadfast,” Brian Stading, CEO of Lumos. “With the support of our private equity partner, EQT, and leveraging the strength of the T-Mobile brand and unrivaled customer experience, Lumos is set to expedite our network expansion. This joint venture will amplify our ability to change lives through the transformative power of fiber optic internet.”

The transaction is expected to close in late 2024 or early 2025, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. At closing, T-Mobile is expected to invest approximately $950 million in the JV to acquire a 50% equity stake and all existing fiber customers, with the funds invested by T-Mobile being used by Lumos for future fiber builds. The next capital contribution by T-Mobile out of an additional commitment of approximately $500 million is anticipated between 2027 and 2028. These combined investments are expected to allow Lumos to reach 3.5 million homes passed by the end of 2028. T-Mobile continues to expect to complete its remaining authorization for share repurchases and dividends in 2024.

With this transaction, EQT Infrastructure VI is expected to be 35-40% percent invested (including closed and/or signed investments, announced public offers, if applicable, and less any expected syndication) based on target fund size and subject to customary regulatory approvals.


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T-Mobile combines Millimeter Wave spectrum with its 5G Standalone (SA) core network

FCC restores net neutrality order, but court challenges loom large

The FCC voted on Thursday, April 25th along party lines to pass its order on Safeguarding and Securing the Open Internet, restoring net neutrality and reestablishing the Commission’s Title II authority over broadband services.  The restored “net neutrality” rules prevent broadband internet service providers/ISPs (e.g. Comcast and AT&T) from favoring some sites and apps over others.  The vote was taken at the FCC’s open meeting for the month of April.  Democrats on the FCC voted to restore net neutrality and Title II rules. The issue will face inevitable court challenges and is likely to be reversed if Donald Trump wins the November presidential election.

As a result of the vote, the FCC restores fundamental authority to provide effective oversight over broadband service providers, giving the Commission essential tools to:

Protect the Open Internet – Internet service providers will again be prohibited from blocking, throttling, or engaging in paid prioritization of lawful content, restoring the rules that were upheld by the D.C. Circuit in 2016.

Safeguard National Security – The Commission will have the ability to revoke the authorizations of foreign-owned entities who pose a threat to national security to operate broadband networks in the U.S. The Commission has previously exercised this authority under section 214 of the Communications Act to revoke the operating authorities of four Chinese state-owned carriers to provide voice services in the U.S. Any provider without section 214 authorization for voice services must now also cease any fixed or mobile broadband service operations in the United States.

Monitor Internet Service Outages – When workers cannot telework, students cannot study, or businesses cannot market their products because their internet service is out, the FCC can now play an active role.

Here are a few FCC commissioner comments:

“Broadband is now an essential service. Essential services, the ones we count on in every aspect of modern life, have some basic oversight. So let’s be clear about what we are doing today. This agency, the nation’s leading communications authority, believes every consumer deserves Internet access that is fast, open and fair. That is why we determine that the Federal Communications Commission should be able to assist consumers and take action when it comes to the most important communications of our time. And that’s broadband. This is common sense,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel presides at the FCC’s open meeting on Thursday, April 25, 2024.(SOURCE: FCC LIVESTREAM)

Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr offered a different opinion during a nearly 35-minute diatribe: 

“Today’s order is not about correcting a market failure. Broadband access is more vibrant and competitive than ever, no matter how you slice the reams of data,” said Carr. “Will ISPs invest as intensely when the rules of the road are opaque, when business choices can be second guessed without notice, when regulators reserve the right to dictate the rate of return or when upgrades and innovations require more and more paperwork and approvals? Uncertainty riddles every aspect of this order … I’m confident that we will right the ship, and I’m certain that the courts will overturn this unlawful power grab.”

The vote drew expected reactions from industry and consumer groups. Those in favor of the ruling celebrated, while still expressing dissatisfaction with a few “shortcomings” of the order.  Andrew Jay Schwartzman, Senior Counselor at the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society said:

“Today’s vote provides welcome, if long overdue, protections for all Americans. Despite a few shortcomings, this is the most important thing the FCC can do to promote free speech, competition, public safety, and national security.  The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society would have preferred that the Commission continued the debate on whether or not broadband providers should contribute to the Universal Service Fund and that it had taken a more proactive stance toward wireless companies’ efforts to create loopholes to avoid regulation of some 5G services. But those shortcomings do not change the fact that today is a great day for internet freedom.”

On the opposition front, industry trade groups called the rules “heavy-handed” and indicated their intent to file lawsuits.

“ACA Connects will continue to support efforts, including litigation, to overturn these heavy-handed, unnecessary utility-style regulations, which only serve to discourage development of robust and reliable broadband service for all Americans,” said Grant Spellmeyer, president and CEO of ACA Connects, in an emailed statement.

“WISPA is disappointed by today’s action to impose utility regulation on the broadband industry,” said Louis Peraertz, VP of policy for the fixed wireless trade group WISPA–The Association for Broadband Without Boundaries. “Once the final Order is published, WISPA will carefully review it and determine what legal recourse we should take in order to ensure that our members can continue to provide their local communities with reliable high speed broadband service.”


Analysis: FCC attempt to restore Net Neutrality & U.S. standards for broadband reliability, security, and consumer protection

FCC Draft Net Neutrality Order reclassifies broadband access; leaves 5G network slicing unresolved

FCC Votes to Reverse Net Neutrality & No Longer Regulate Broadband Internet Services

Summary of Verizon Consumer, FWA & Business Segment 1Q-2024 results

Verizon Consumer:

Verizon reported better-than-expected wireless customer results for the Q1-2024, but still lost subscribers.  The U.S. #2 telco consumer revenue the quarter was $25.1 billion, an increase of 0.8% YoY as gains in service revenue were partially offset by declines in wireless equipment revenue. 

While Verizon lost 158,000 wireless retail postpaid phone customers in the first quarter, that was an improvement over the 263,000 losses the company reported in the same quarter a year ago.  Verizon had been expected to lose around 201,000 postpaid phone customers in its consumer division in the first quarter. Thus, the difference between expectations and what Verizon reported is likely due to the estimated 35,000 customers who signed up for a $10 per month second line of wireless service and not necessarily new customers paying full price for a standard wireless subscription.

“It gives customers flexibility,” explained Verizon CFO Tony Skiadas this week during Verizon’s first quarter earnings call, according to Seeking Alpha. “They can add and remove it as desired. The adoption so far has been good.”

“Despite Verizon Consumer Group postpaid phone net adds beating consensus, Verizon stated that ‘a very low single-digit percentage of phone gross adds’ came from Verizon ‘second number,’ which was announced in early March,” wrote the financial analysts with KeyBanc Capital Markets in a note to investors following the release of Verizon’s earnings. “Implied by this is ~35,000 net adds from ‘second number’ without which investors could say Verizon Consumer Group postpaid phone net adds were in line.”

AT&T and T-Mobile offer similar second line wireless plans. T-Mobile has been offering its $10 per month Digits service for years, allowing customers to move their numbers around to various devices, including having two numbers on one phone. AT&T charges users $30 a month to add a line.


Verizon FWA & Wireline:

Verizon added 354,000 fixed wireless access (FWA) customers in Q1 2024, ending the period with 3.42 million. Record additions of business FWA subs were offset by a slowdown in the residential category.

Verizon’s overall FWA results “remain a puzzle,” MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett explained in a research note (registration required).

“Growth [in FWA] is still relatively strong, but their quarterly results continue to decelerate, something we wouldn’t have expected given the early stage of their Band 76 C-Band footprint,” he noted.

Still, Verizon’s FWA offering continues to provide a solid alternative to cable broadband in the residential segment, despite some “muted activity,” CFO Tony Skiadas said on Monday’s earnings call. “We continue to be comfortable with this pace of [subscriber] growth.”

With respect to wireline, Verizon added 49,000 residential FiOS Internet customers, down from a gain of 63,000 a year earlier. Verizon ended the quarter with 7.02 million residential Fios Internet subs.  With DSL losses included, Verizon added 36,000 wireline broadband customers in the period, extending its total to 7.22 million.

Verizon Business:

  • Total Verizon Business revenue was $7.4 billion in first-quarter 2024, a decrease of 1.6% year over year, as increases in wireless service revenue were more than offset by decreases in wireline revenue and wireless equipment revenue.
  • Business wireless service revenue in first-quarter 2024 was $3.4 billion, an increase of 2.7% year over year. This was driven by continued strong net additions in the quarter for both mobility and fixed wireless, as well as benefits from pricing actions implemented in recent quarters.
  • Business reported 178,000 wireless retail postpaid net additions in first-quarter 2024, including 90,000 postpaid phone net additions.
  • Business wireless retail postpaid churn was 1.51 percent in first-quarter 2024, and wireless retail postpaid phone churn was 1.13 percent.
  • Business reported 151,000 fixed wireless net additions in first-quarter 2024, representing a 10.2 percent increase from first-quarter 2023. This marked their best quarterly result to date.
  • In first-quarter 2024, Verizon Business operating income was $399 million, a decrease of 27.6 percent year over year, and segment operating income margin was 5.4 percent, a decrease from 7.4 percent in first-quarter 2023. Segment EBITDA in first-quarter 2024 was $1.5 billion, a decrease of 7.2 percent year over year, driven by wireline revenue declines. Segment EBITDA margin in first-quarter 2024 was 20.7 percent, a decrease from 22.0 percent in first-quarter 2023.


Verizon’s 2023 broadband net additions led by FWA at 375K

Ookla: T-Mobile and Verizon lead in U.S. 5G FWA



China Mobile reports record operating revenues in 1st Quarter 2024

China Mobile, the world’s largest operator in terms of subscribers, recorded operating revenues of CNY263.7 billion ($36.4 billion) in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 5.2% year-on-year, the carrier said in its earnings statement. The company’s net profit increased 5.5% year-on-year to CNY29.6 billion. Also, the telco reported that revenue from telecommunications services was CNY219.3 billion, up by 4.5% year-on-year.  The telco ended the first quarter of the year with a total of 488 million 5G subscribers. China Mobile had reported a net addition of 138 million 5G subscribers during 2023. In the mobile segment, the telco reached a total of 996 million subscribers at the end of March 2024, after an addition of 5 million customers during the first quarter.


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  • Expedite further business upgrade, facilitating mutual advancement of the “two new elements”
  • Achieve breakthroughs amidst adversity, yielding fruitful results from innovation and reform  Dedicated to enhancing shareholder returns, using a multi-pronged approach  Forge ahead with determination, accelerating the building of a world-class enterprise

Mr. Yang Jie, Chairman of the Company commented, “In 2023, despite various challenges faced by the Company in a complex and severe macro- environment, we seized the opportunities emerging from accelerated economic and social digital transformation. This helped anchor us in our position as a world class information services and sci-tech innovation enterprise. Our efforts were focused on fully implementing our “1-2-2-5” strategy and strengthening innovation and core competitiveness to promote high-quality and sustainable development. Our business results reached new milestones, with revenue surpassing the RMB trillion mark for the first time in our history of development, and net profit attaining a record high. In terms of operations, our strategic transformation, reforms and innovation all advanced to a new level, underscoring our solid progress in establishing a world-class enterprise that takes pride in outstanding products, reputable brands, leading innovation and modern governance.”

“The Group will continue to pursue stable progress while forging ahead with a steadfast focus on integrity and innovation. We will enhance core functions, improve core competitiveness, expedite the cultivation and growth of emerging sectors of strategic importance, develop new quality productive forces at an accelerated pace, and establish ourselves as a world-class information services and sci-tech innovation enterprise to a high standard. With these efforts, we will consistently create greater value for our shareholders and customers,” the China state owned telco said.

China Mobile plans to launch 5G-Advanced (5G-A) technology in over 300 cities across China this year, according to local press reports. The telco, which claims a leading role in the development of 5G-A 3GPP specifications, also plans to promote the release of over 20 5G-A compatible phones within the year.  To showcase its new 5G-A network, China Mobile has established 5G-A demonstration halls in various locations across China.

China Mobile’s vice president, Gao Tongqing, stated that this launch will further accelerate the development of new information infrastructure and unlock the full potential of 5G technology. The carrier also said it aims to achieve widespread adoption of 5G-A technology in China through partnerships with manufacturers and chip suppliers.

Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are among the first cities where China Mobile will activate the new technology.

China had a total of 11.6 million mobile communication base stations as of the end of last year, of which 3.4 million were 5G base stations. 5G base stations currently account for nearly 29% of total mobile base stations in China. The ratio is 7.8 percentage points higher compared to the end of 2022.

Future Outlook:

The impact of the new wave of technological revolution and industrial reforms will continue to grow, so will the importance of integrated innovation. The three aspects of this integrated innovation will be highlighted in the power of information, the new generation information technology, and the merger of information service and social operation systems. At the same time this integrated innovation will deepen in three directions – the applications of a new generation of information technology to rapidly form new growth momentum, the collaboration of industry, academia, research and application to foster a new innovation paradigm, and the integration of digital and real economy to open up new development opportunities.

China Mobile sees valuable opportunities as they expand our information services. With the advocacy of the national “AI+” initiative and the further accelerated advancement of Digital China, the industry experiences new growth potential from the development of new quality productive forces. This progress brings forth the emergence of data as a new factor of production, computility as a new fundamental energy source and AI as a new instrument of production. The information services industry has not only in itself become an important sector for the development of new quality productive forces, but also a strong support for other sectors in this pursuit. General AI, particularly represented by AI large models, is developing robustly.

The role of AI is also fast changing from an assisting tool that helps different industries improve quality and efficiency, to an indispensable infrastructure and core capability that supports economic and social transformation and development. While AI brings forth disruptive applications, “AI+” opens up vast blue-ocean of opportunities. Fixating the vision of building a world-class information services and sci-tech innovation enterprise, we will capture opportunities arising from the development of “AI+” and extending our “5G+” initiatives towards 6 this direction. We will identify a new roadmap of transformation and upgrade through comprehensive, systematic and deep-dived integrated innovation. In doing so, we will drive more creation to enrich life, enhance quality production and support precise governance powered by digital intelligence. We will satisfy, drive and create demand to form a new for value growth trajectory and fuel the future development of the Company.


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du (UAE) deploys Microchip’s TimeProvider 4100 Grandmaster clock for advanced 5G network services

Du, the United Arab Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), announced that it has deployed Microchip’s TimeProvider 4100 Grandmaster clock for advanced 5G network services. Du said the deployment, as part of its investment in 5G technology, aims to provide its customers with best-in-class broadband services and network performance.

Microchip’s end-to-end timing solutions generate, distribute and apply precise time for multiple industries, including communications, aerospace and defense, IT infrastructure, financial services, power utilities and more. The company provides a broad range of clock and timing solutions ranging from MEMS oscillators to active hydrogen masers.

Image Credit: Microchip

Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Technology Officer at du said, “With the deployment of Microchip’s TimeProvider 4100 solution, du is proud to offer users this level of network performance and resilience. The unparalleled level of accuracy delivered by Microchip’s solution allows us to provide the best performance to our users while also ensuring that our network is ready for advanced carrier aggregation services. Additionally, with the inclusion of Microchip’s vPRTC end-to-end solution, we are able to offer our enterprise customers the Trusted Time service they need for their Zero Trust requirements.”

The UAE telco noted that Microchip’s virtual Primary Reference Time Clock (vPRTC) architecture, powered by the TimeProvider 4100, is designed to meet the stringent requirements of 5G networks, which demand highly accurate and reliable synchronization.

While ensuring maintenance of a 100 ns Primary Reference Time Clock (PRTC) accuracy across the transport network, this synchronisation architecture also protects against disruptions caused by Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) outages, offering enhanced security and reducing dependency on GNSS, Du said.

Randy Brudzinski, Corporate Vice President of Microchip’s frequency and time systems business unit, expressed Microchip’s commitment to supporting 5G technology. “By implementing Microchip’s vPRTC solution, du can scale its broadband 5G services throughout the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with confidence, ensuring that their customers enjoy the best service experience without disruptions,” added Brudzinski.

With the integration of Microchip’s timing solution, Du will deliver advanced 5G network broadband services to meet the connectivity demand of customers.


About du:

Operating under the steadfast umbrella of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), du is an integral driver of the UAE’s economic, social and digital transformation. Thriving on digitally innovating all facets of the contemporary telecom experience, we touch the lives of millions of customers everyday as a dedicated enabler of connectivity, continuity and growth across consumer and enterprise segments. Whether delivering state-of-the-art Smart City infrastructure, bespoke enterprise ICT solutions, government communications, secure data solutions, or the very best in home entertainment and value, we are a reliable telco and ICT player shaping the future of communication for a more connected tomorrow.

EITC reported that its mobile customer base grew 8.3% year-over-year in 2023 to 8.6 million subscribers, while its fixed customer base rose by 12.6% year-over-year to 604,000 subscribers.


du deploys Microchip’s TimeProvider® 4100 Grandmaster for advanced 5G network broadband services (

Nokia and du (UAE) complete 5G-Advanced RedCap trial; future of RedCap?



Ericsson on 5G use cases: remote surgery, augmented and virtual reality with AI agent all depend on 3GPP URLLC specs

5G for Remote Surgery:

This year, surgeons in Florida working with Ericsson, were able to operate on remote patients in Dubai and Shanghai, using 5G technology, according to Mischa Dohler, Ericsson vice president-emerging technologies.

A hospital in China used a 5G-enabled robot to perform spinal surgery on patients, and doctors used VR headsets to livestream the operation. The robot implanted over 62 pedicle screws in the patients’ spinal cord.  Here’s a pic of that:

Photo by Wang Fei/For China Daily

Dohler said he’s working with the White House, FCC, NTIA, Food and Drug Administration and others to make remote surgery “a reality.” More widespread use of the technology won’t happen unless smaller carriers also get involved. We will have not only humans using your networks, but also machines more and more,” Dohler added.

Gartner’s market research underscores the importance of 5G SA, predicting that by 2025, it will be the foundation for the majority of applications demanding sub-10 millisecond latency. This transition is not merely a technical upgrade but a strategic enabler for industries poised to benefit from real-time data processing and decision-making.  However, the ultra low latency depends on two 3GPP Release 16 specs – 1.] 5GNR enhancements for URLLC in the RAN and 2.]URLLC in the 5G SA core network– being completed, performance tested and implemented.  That has not happened yet and without it there can’t be any 5G URLLC use cases like remote surgery!

Real-time remote surgeries, once a concept of futuristic medicine, are becoming a reality. The ability to perform surgical procedures from thousands of miles away, with real-time response and precision, could revolutionize healthcare accessibility and outcomes. For example, a pilot project involving 5G SA-enabled remote surgery successfully demonstrated how surgeons could operate with millisecond-level precision, mitigating geographical barriers to specialized medical care.


Ericsson’s Dohler predicted growing use of augmented and virtual reality and AI “agents,” computer programs capable of performing tasks autonomously, which people will use as part of their daily lives. New technology will require networks that can handle increased traffic, he said. New data traffic patterns “will hit you at some point this decade,” he said. “You will need to do some bold moves.”




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