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Eurobites: Zain KSA Unveils $1.2B Upgrade

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK faces telco data retention legal challenge; Telefónica/E-Plus latest; Tata revamps Telenor network; DT eases parking in Pisa.

  • Zain KSA (Zain Saudi Arabia) has begun a three-year mobile network upgrade project called RELOAD that includes the award of multiple vendor contracts worth 4.5 billion Saudi Riyals (US$1.2 billion) for radio access, backhaul, IP backbone and packet core gear. The vendors named by Zain in a stock exchange filing are Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Huawei, Nokia Networks, and NEC. Nokia is providing a range of 4G LTE RAN equipment, including indoor and public access small cells, the vendor's Liquid Applications platform (housed on its Radio Applications Cloud Server), its NetAct OSS, and a range of professional services. (See Zain KSA Modernizes With Nokia Networks and NSN: Understanding Liquid Applications.)

  • The UK government could face a high court challenge for its continuing insistence on telcos retaining records of customer calls, texts, and Internet use, reports The Guardian. The UK's Data Retention (EC Direction) Act of 2009 -- which mandated the collection and retention of telco customer data for the police, security services and so on -- was passed by the previous, Labour administration in response to the European Union Data Retention Directive of 2006, but this directive was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice in April of this year. Accordingly, the UK's data retention act should have been struck down, but the British government has failed to do so, and is now facing questions about it in the UK Parliament. (See Euronews: Prism Prompts EU Data Rethink.)

  • In a bid to improve its chances of getting the regulatory green light from the European Commission for its proposed takeover of E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG , Telefónica Deutschland GmbH has said that it would allow minnow rival Drillisch to gain access to a fifth of the combined Telefónica/E-Plus network, reports Reuters. (See Euronews: KPN to Sell E-Plus for €8.1B.)

  • Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) has handed Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. a multi-year deal to revamp and transform the operations and IT systems for its fixed network in Norway. (See Telenor Transforms Fixed Network With TCS and Telenor Opts for OSS Transformation.)

  • The European Commission is insisting that it, and not the Dutch regulatory authority, will have the say-so on Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s proposed takeover of Dutch cable group Ziggo B.V. , reports Reuters. The Commission's reasoning is that Liberty Global has a presence in several European countries, so the Ziggo decision could have wider ramifications in the region. (See Euronews: Rivals Set for Cable Asset Battle.)

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has teamed up with the authorities in the Pisa on a "smart city" pilot project that could make finding a parking place in the Italian city a less stressful experience. The operator, working with partner firm Kiunsys, has installed a system on Piazza Carrara, on the banks of River Arno, that uses sensors on the floor of each parking place to detect whether they are free or occupied. These then relay information to a mobile network which then displays it on panels which, it is hoped, guide drivers to available spaces. (See Deutsche Telekom Unveils Smarter Parking Project.)

  • Redknee Inc. (Toronto/London AIM: RKN) has won a deal to provide its cloud-based Unified Charging BSS system to Vodafone Germany . According to the operator’s Director of Network Engineering, Rui Frazao, deploying the Redknee system in Vodafone's private cloud environment gives it "the ability to launch services faster to the market, reduce hardware costs, cater to increasing traffic flexibly, and support existing and future requirements, such as IMS, real-time online charging and VoLTE." Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • The Portuguese government's fine from the European Commission for contravening its regulations by allowing Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT) to carry on being the exclusive provider of universal service in Portugal has been reduced, from nearly €50,000 (US$68,000) a day to €10,000 ($13,600) a day, for every day's delay in complying with the Court of Justice judgement. For the full, byzantine details of the saga, click here. (You know you want them.)

  • Greek operator OTE S.A. is in talks to buy the pay-TV business of smaller rival Forthnet, reports Reuters. Two weeks ago Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) acquired an option to increase its stake in Forthnet from its current 6.5% to 19.75%.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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