Tag Archives: telecommunications

NYSE will Not Delist Three Chinese Telecoms After All

Recently, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) announced that it would comply with Executive Order 13959 and delist China Mobile Communications, China Telecommunications Corp, and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited. Since then, NYSE has decided not to delist them.

On January 4, 2021, NYSE posted news titled: “NYSE Updates Guidance on Delisting Determination for Security of Three Issuers in Relation to Executive Order 13959”. From the news:

In light of further consultation with relevant regulatory authorities in connection with Office of Foreign Assets Control FAQ 857, available here, the New York Stock Exchange LLC (“NYSE”) announced today that NYSE Regulation no longer intends to move forward with the delisting action in relation to three issuers enumerated below (the “Issuers”) which was announced on December 31, 2020.

At this time, the Issuers will continue to be listed and traded on NYSE. NYSE Regulation will continue to evaluate the applicability of Executive Order 13959 to these Issuers and their continued listing status.

The three issuers are: China Telecom Corporation Limited, China Mobile Ltd., and China Unicorn (Hong Kong) Limited. To me, it sounds like these stocks can still be bought and sold on the New York Stock Exchange. What changed?

Reuters reported that China will take “necessary measures” to safeguard the interest of its companies after NYSE began delisting three Chinese telecom firms. It also called on the United States to meet China half-way and put bilateral trade relations back on track. To me, it appears that China is hoping that president-elect Biden will have a different relationship with China than President Trump did.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the China Securities Regulatory Commission said on January 3, 2021, that the executive order was for political purposes and “entirely ignored the actual situations of relevant companies and the legitimate rights of the global investors, and severely damaged market rule and order.”

NYSE to Delist China’s Major Telecom Operators

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) stated that it would comply with Executive Order 13959 and delist the following securities: China Mobile Comunications (CHL), China Telecommunications Corp (CHA) and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (CHU).

Executive Order 13959 was signed by President Trump on November 12, 2020. According to The Wall Street Journal, the executive order will block Americans from investing in a list of companies the U.S. government says supply and support China’s military, intelligence and security services. The ban starts on January 11, and investors have until November to divest themselves of their holdings.

There are 35 companies on the list – including China’s largest chip maker – as well as surveillance, aerospace, shipbuilding, construction and technology companies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Guardian reported that China Mobile Communications, China Telecommunications Corp, and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited have the right to request a review of the NYSE’s decision. The Guardian also pointed out: All three firms are listed in the US and Hong Kong, and mostly earn their revenue by providing voice and data services in China. They all have little presence in the U.S.

The delisting of these companies by The New York Stock Exchange is a small part of a series restrictions that appear to be designed to stifle China’s ability to make money from U.S. technology. The various orders either cut off the access of of U.S. technology to several Chinese companies, or by requiring U.S. companies to obtain a license before selling technology to Huawei.

My understanding of this is that the delisting of certain Chinese companies from NYSE might cause them to lose some money. But, if The Guardian is right, the companies don’t make as much money in the United States as they make in China. I’m not entirely certain that the delisting will have much of an impact on those companies ability to thrive outside of the United States.

UK’s 4G – Common-sense or Cover-up?

Ofcom LogoThe launch of 4G services in the UK by Everything Everywhere today has been heralded by the majority of the tech blogs and news sites as a long-overdue success. But is this a victory for common-sense or has Ofcom simply managed to cover-up its own incompetence? (For those outside the UK, Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries.)

Here’s part of article from GNC that I wrote in October of last year.
Ofcom, the UK’s regulator for the telecommunications industry, issued an update on its plans for the auctioning off of the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum bands. These are the frequencies that will be used for the delivery of 4G services.

There has already been one consultation on the auction of the frequencies but based on the responses received, Ofcom has decided to carry out an additional second consultation at the end of 2011 which will run for around 8 weeks. The outcome of the consultation and auction proposals will be published in the summer of 2012, with a delayed frequency auction expected in Q4 2012. More likely Q1 2013, based on their track record.”

So how is it possible that Everything Everywhere, or EE, as it is going to be called, can a launch a 4G service when the frequency auction hasn’t even begun?

The answer is that Orange and T-Mobile, the partners in EE, put a proposal to Ofcom that they should be allowed to use one of their existing frequencies (1800 MHz) to launch 4G services in the UK without waiting for the auction. Ofcom thought this was a brilliant idea and gave the go-ahead. As you can imagine, some of the other players in the UK’s telecoms market (Three, Vodafone, O2) were less than thrilled at Ofcom handing EE a 4G monopoly for at least six months. Imagine how tempting it would be to switch networks if a 4G iPhone 5 was available from EE and only EE.

Depending on your point of view, the launch of 4G in the UK is either a victory for a common-sense approach to available spectrum or else it’s a monumental cover-up over the way Ofcom has failed to manage the transition to 4G.

I’m in the latter camp and I won’t be buying a 4G device or service from EE.


No Room For Domestic VoIP in the UK?

On Saturday, Tesco emailed the users of its internet phone service to tell them that the service was being closed down at the end of April.  Although it’s certainly not the only VoIP outfit in the UK, it’s one of the few who have sold directly into the domestic market and are a household name.

Tesco is a major supermarket in the UK which has branched out into telecoms, primarily as an mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), but has also offered a VoIP service.  This was a rebranded Freshtel service and it appears to be the difficulties with Freshtel that have led to the closure.

Tesco made the system as painless as possible.  You could buy dedicated handsets, converters for standard phones and the usual USB handset or headset.  It was a good system with no technical knowledge required and a web interface to configure what there was.

From reading the various forums, it’s clear that many of the users were running small business through the system as an easy way to get second phone lines without incurring huge cost and I can see this is a real market.  A number of VoIP services have already posted to say that they are happy to take on ex-Tesco users (allegedly at even better rates!).

However, I’m uncertain as to the market for domestic VoIP services.  At the moment, I have a landline and I have a mobile.  On the landline, I pretty much get free off-peak calls and on my mobile I have a monthly contract which entitles me to certain number of “free” calls.  The only time the Tesco service gives benefit is on international calls, which I don’t need to make that often.  So I can see why it might be difficult to make money from the service within a purely domestic market.

Of course, Skype has been successful but I think it’s success has been through free Skype-to-Skype connections and that’s not quite what is needed here.

I suppose where it might be beneficial to both parties is when the customer gives up their landline and relies on VoIP for all their voice traffic but that’s still quite a hard sell, especially when landlines work so well.  Unless you have cable, you need your landline for your ADSL broadband anyway.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of companies successfully offering SIP and other VoIP services to individual consumers for business use or as a cheap second line.  It would be too simplistic to say that if Tesco can’t make it work, no-one can, yet I just can’t see domestic VoIP services replacing landlines in the UK anytime soon.  Anyone else any thoughts?

Madison River Communications Fined For Blocking VoIP Access

Telecommunications provider, Madison River Communications, was chastised by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week and required to unblock network ports that were closed to prevent connections from customers using Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone connections.

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