Eurobites: BT ignores takeover rumors, unveils vision for the future

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: World Mobile does a Loon; Proximus in talks over Telesign; Vodafone Portugal fires up 5G.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

December 1, 2021

3 Min Read
Eurobites: BT ignores takeover rumors, unveils vision for the future

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: World Mobile does a Loon; Proximus in talks over Telesign; Vodafone Portugal fires up 5G.

  • Maintaining a steely focus in the face of potentially distracting takeover rumors, BT has launched a Manifesto with a capital "M" setting forth its plans to, in the words of its statement, "build a better business for its customers, the economy and society at large." The plans touch on all the usual hot-button suspects, such as sustainability and inclusivity. One specific commitment amid a number of woolier aspirations is the aim of achieving a 50% gender split among employees by 2030, with 25% coming from a non-white background and 17% with a disability. BT also wants to help its customers avoid 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 by embracing the digitally transformational wonders of full fiber, 5G, cloud computing and the Internet of Things.

    • Remember Loon, the ill-fated Google project that sought to bring mobile broadband to the more remote corners of Africa through the use of balloons? Well, now someone else is getting busy with the foot pump. World Mobile is launching low-altitude balloons in Zanzibar, aiming to achieving full consumer and IoT coverage there within 24 months. The remotely controlled aerostat balloons are powered by solar panels, inflated by helium and tethered to the ground. Once airborne, they act as floating cellular basestations transmitting radio signals to groundstations and personal devices. (See Google pops the Loon balloon.)

    • Belgium's Proximus has confirmed press reports that it is in preliminary talks over a "potential strategic transaction" involving Telesign, its US-based subsidiary that specializes in fraud management and authentication.

    • Vodafone Portugal is making 5G service available to all its customers with the appropriate handsets at no extra charge for a trial period that ends on January 31, 2022, when they will have the choice to continue with 5G at a cost of an additional €5 (US5.66) a month. Portugal is the sixteenth country in which Vodafone operates to get 5G.

    • Internet exchange operator DE-CIX is expanding into the Nordics, teaming up with Bulk Data Centers to establish a presence in Oslo, Norway (OS-IX), Kristiansand, Norway (Campus N01), as well as in Esbjerg, Denmark (Campus DK01). DE-CIX will also be opening Internet exchange platforms in Finland in due course.

    • UK communications regulator Ofcom has fined O2 £150,000 ($200,000) for failing to provide accurate and complete information relating to the watchdog's investigation into whether O2 was overcharging its customers. Earlier this year Ofcom fined O2 £10.5 million ($14 million) for overcharging departing customers; this latest fine appears to be a hangover from that case. Ofcom says this latest fine would have been higher but O2 has accepted liability and was entering into a settlement.

    • In a press release that may already be woefully out of date by this time next week thanks to the ructions caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the GSMA has been revealing further details of how it plans to safely host Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in late February. To enter the Fira Barcelona venue, visitors will need to upload documentation certifying their vaccination status, a certificate of recovery, or a negative COVID test through the registration system or to the MWC App. FFP2-grade masks will again be required.

    • The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is flexing its muscles, though frankly it runs the risk of having sand kicked in its face. As Reuters reports, the watchdog has told Meta, the owner of Facebook, to sell Giphy, the animated images platform it acquired last year. Not surprisingly, Meta is considering an appeal.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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