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Eurobites: Etisalat Embraces 400G OTN

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Tele2 sells Norwegian unit to TeliaSonera; Orange looks Spain-wards for future M&A action; Telefónica broadens pay-TV interests.

  • UAE-based Etisalat has extended its relationship with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. with what the pair claim is the first successful trial of Huawei's 400G OTN technology in the Middle East. The trial involved the vendor's recently-launched OSN9800 U16 packet-optical platform. Already this year Etisalat has been conducting trials of 5G mobile services in the region with Huawei, and the pair have agreed to trial a 40G GPON network in the near future. (See Huawei Unveils 5.6Tbit/s Metro Solution and Huawei Pressures Its 400G Router Rivals.)

  • Following disappointment in the most recent auction of mobile spectrum in Norway, Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has decided to sell its Norwegian unit to rival TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN) for SEK 5.1 billion (US$744 million). Bengt Nordstrom, an analyst with Northstream , has some strong words on the matter: "This is the predictable result of a pretty miserable and failed spectrum licencing process, which has resulted in pretty dramatic consolidation," he says in a statement emailed to Light Reading. "Norway now essentially has two strong operators, plus a very small outfit with lots of spectrum, little infrastructure and few customers. It seems like a good deal for TeliaSonera, and Tele2 shareholders will get decent returns. But it's a timely reminder for the mobile industry that poor regulatory decisions can create uncertainty that makes a mockery of huge infrastructure investments." Ouch.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) CEO Stephane Richard has indicated that Spain is the current focus of its M&A ambitions, reports Reuters. He also did not rule out making a joint bid for Bouygues Telecom if the right partner made an approach. (See Eurobites: Orange Says 'Non' to Mergers.)

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) is continuing to widen its pay-TV interests by agreeing to acquire an 11.1% stake in the pay-TV business of Italy's Mediaset for €100 million ($136 million), reports Reuters. Earlier this month Telefónica bought Mediaset Spain's 22% stake in pay-TV firm Digital+, which Telefónica acquired for €750 million ($1.02 billion) in May.

  • Spanish WiFi provider Gowex is to file for bankruptcy after its CEO admitted responsibility for reporting false accounts and quit, reports the Daily Telegraph. Allegations of wrongdoing at Gowex were made last week by Gotham City Research. (See Gowex to Merge Business, Carrier WiFi in NYC.)

  • Russia's legislature has gone part-way towards passing a law requiring Internet firms to store Russian citizens' personal data on servers that are actually within the country's borders, reports the BBC. Some fear that, if passed by the higher chamber and President Putin, the law will be used as an excuse to crack down on social networks, which have been used to spread anti-Putin protests.

  • Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), a consortium of business, public and not-for-profit organizations in the south of the UK, has secured £5 million ($8.6 million) in central Government funding to support the developments ongoing at the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre. The University started its 5G work in 2012. (See UK Enterprise Partnership Secures 5G Funding and UK Kicks Off 5G R&D.)

  • The UK government is launching a £90 million ($154 million) scheme to provide faster WiFi on trains across England and Wales, reports the BBC. It is proposed that part of the funding will come from a large fine that has been imposed on Network Rail, the body that takes care of the track and signaling across Britain's railway network.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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