Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia and Telefónica get it on for 5G; BT opts for Amdocs unit for billing overhaul; eir profits up 4% year-on-year; bump in the road for Fox/Sky deal.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has stepped up its network equipment efficiency efforts with the announcement of three initiatives within the Telecom Infra Project (TIP), which was formed in early 2016 to create a new approach to developing and deploying communications networking infrastructure using open source methodologies. The operator is to co-chair, alongside Facebook, a new Millimeter Wave Networks Project Group that aims to help develop "innovative solutions for very high performance and cost-efficient access and metro networks, initially using the 60 GHz unlicensed spectrum range." To support that group, DT has launched the first European TIP Community Lab in Bonn, Germany, which will initially focus on mmWave developments. In addition, a TIP Ecosystem Acceleration Center (TEAC) will be opened in Berlin, focused on supporting startups that are focused on network infrastructure innovation. "Telco is generally a market with high entry barriers and is dominated by established vendors," said Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn. "Small startups have problems entering the telco market, even for proof of concepts. As a result, the venture capital community has been very hesitant to make infrastructure-related investments. The TEAC center in Berlin, jointly announced by TIP, Facebook and Deutsche Telekom, will help to break this deadlock," he added. BT has also launched a TEAC center in the UK. (See Deutsche Telekom Unveils 3 TIP Initiatives, BT Kicks Off TIP Startup Selection Process, TIP Players Voice Open Source Misgivings and Facebook TIPs Telcos Towards Open Source Networks.)
The 5G frenzy continues: Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Telefónica have signed an agreement under the terms of which they will conduct 5G-related technology trials on Telefónica's existing network assets in various city center hotspots, as well as investigating "network slicing" techniques on a cloud-native core network using Telefónica's UNICA cloud platform.
Brite:Bill, part of the Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) empire, has landed a billing platform deal at BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which is aiming to use the vendor's technology to improve its customer experience management by providing more flexible, personalized and interactive bills. Dublin-based Brite:Bill, which was acquired by Amdocs in late 2016, also counts Comcast, AT&T, Sprint and Rogers Communications amongst its customer base. (See Brite:Bill Lands BT Group Deal and Amdocs Acquires Trio of Digital Disruptors for $260M.)
Irish incumbent operator eir saw underlying full-year revenue rise 1% year-on-year to €1.32 billion (US$1.58 billion), while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) climbed 4% to €520 million ($623 million). The company's number of broadband connections now stands at 896,000, up 42,000 (or 5%) year-on-year.
The future ownership of Sky (NYSE, London: SKY), the UK-based satellite broadcaster and broadband provider, remains uncertain as 21st Century Fox's proposed takeover of the company now looks set to face a full scrutiny of Fox's commitment to broadcasting standards. As the Daily Telegraph reports, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley's change of mind on the deal sent Sky's shares south as the market feared that the Murdoch family could struggle to get the deal through after all. (See Eurobites: EU Gives Blessing to Fox-Sky Deal.)
Members of the European Parliament have voted to approve a plan to provide funding for free WiFi in public places in more remote locations across the European Union. A pot of €120 million ($143.8 million) will be set aside for the WIFI4EU initiative over the next two years, with qualifying projects receiving their slice of the cash on a first-come-first-served basis.
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