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Eurobites: SSE Takes On BT in Ethernet

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange chief feeling chipper; Numericable Q1 numbers on the up; 4G for Moscow metro; Etisalat completes Maroc Telecom acquisition.

  • UK network infrastructure operator SSE Telecoms is taking on BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) et al in the Ethernet services market with the launch of Edge Plus, an initiative that sees the network operator connecting with other providers to provide nationwide coverage. But why would companies sign up with SSE Telecoms rather than BT or another Ethernet service provider? "Each customer will have their own perspective, of course, but the two main reasons, which will strike a chord with everyone, are value and quality of service," stated SSE Telecoms managing director Chris Jagusz. "In our own network footprint we are confident we are in a position to offer the best of both. Outside of our footprint, customers face a bit of a lottery, and it is a lottery for every single site they have. Edge Plus ensures that SSE Telecoms' customers get a best of breed, best value connectivity solution for every site, every time, with a single service, single SLA and single managed service relationship for all of them," he added. SSE Telecoms' network now boasts 234 points of presence (PoPs) and serves more than 200,000 business postcodes in the UK. (See SSE Telecoms Goes National in UK and SSE Lights Up Extra UK Capacity.)

  • To paraphrase the iconic UK ad campaign of yesteryear, the future's looking bright as well as Orange (NYSE: FTE) for CEO Stephane Richard. In an interview with the Financial Times (subscription required), Richard expresses his belief that the operator and the French market as a whole has turned a corner, saying: "We are at the end of the cycle. We have had massive price cuts in the French market -- 30 per cent on average in mobile contracts -- so we are now at the low of the lowest in Europe." The board of Orange has recently given Richard four more years in charge, so perhaps it's just as well he's feeling chipper.

  • Orange rival Numericable-SFR , which is set to close its acquisition of SFR by the end of the year, has reported a rise in first-quarter profits, reports Bloomberg. First-quarter net income rose from €23.6 million (US$32.3 million) a year earlier to €35 million ($48 million) this time round, partly due to reduced borrowing costs. (See Eurobites: Numericable Wins SFR M&A Tussle.)

  • ADVA Optical Networking (Frankfurt: ADV) is claiming a first with the launch of its new Metro 100G security with "built-in on-the-fly encryption," as the vendor describes it. The offering, created with big data applications in mind, provides encryption at the lowest network layer and is agnostic to protocols such as Fibre Channel, InfiniBand, and Ethernet.

  • Pan-European operator Interoute Communications Ltd. has launched One Bridge, a service that allows any voice or video user to join a conferencing session no matter what device they are using. Interoute says it has even integrated a WebRTC capability so that "anyone who can get online can get onto an Interoute One Bridge virtual meeting." The operator says the cloud-based service is already set up to enable users of videoconferencing units from multiple vendors, including Cisco, Polycom, LifeSize, RADVision, Microsoft and Sony, to hook into the service.

  • Backhaul specialist Ceragon Networks Ltd. (Nasdaq: CRNT) has opened a new competence center in Bergen, Norway, aimed squarely oil and gas firms operating in the region. Ceragon offerings for the oil and gas market include its range of high-power Evolution long-haul systems as well as the PointLink, a microwave antenna designed for moving platforms, drilling rigs and floating production, storage, and offload ships (FPSOs). (See Ceragon Targets Oil & Gas Firms.)

  • Etisalat has completed its acquisition of Vivendi 's 53% stake in Maroc Telecom , for €4.13 billion ($5.66 billion). As its name suggests (at least to anyone who speaks a bit of French), Maroc Telecom is the principal operator in Morocco.

  • T-Mobile Austria has chosen Ireland's OpenMind Networks over ten other bidders for its Application 2 Person (A2P) Gateway to power its A2P messaging. Such messaging has, in the past, been mostly associated with spam, but that is changing as platforms form the likes of OpenMind enable policy settings that weed out undesirable traffic. (See T-Mobile Austria Uses Openmind for A2P Messaging.)

  • The ongoing stand-off between Russia and Ukraine took its toll on VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP)'s full-year financials, report in the Moscow Times. The report says that a tender is being planned, with the winning operator being obliged to provide a network that provides total metro coverage on 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.

  • Chipmaker Lantiq Semiconductor is introducing new firmware, a test service, an improved chip package, and a new reference design for its SHDSL chipset. SHDSL is a broadband technology that is used to achieve high data rates on long copper loops, such as those used on earthquake early-warning systems. (See Lantiq Enhances SHDSL Offering.)

  • Telekom Austria Group has appointed Dieter Trimmel as director of group strategy, replacing Georg Donaubauer, who is leaving the company at his own request after nearly 15 years' service. Trimmel will continue in his current role as director of the Market Development unit at Telekom Austria subsidiary A1. (See Telekom Austria Appoints Director of Group Strategy.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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