Eurobites: HMD raises $230M for Nokia-branded phones push

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: United Internet lifts guidance; Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica dodge German fines; BEREC warns about government interference.

  • HMD Global, a Finnish phone maker that licenses Nokia's technology and brands, said it had raised $230 million in capital from strategic partners, which include Google, Qualcomm and Nokia. HMD said the investment would be used to make 5G smartphones it plans to sell largely through partnerships with US service providers. It also wants to expand its presence in Africa, Brazil and India. Some funding, added HMD in a statement, would help it to move beyond hardware development and into mobile services. HMD launched operations in 2016 and now claims to have sold more than 240 million phones. (See Nokia Plays It Smart With Major Mobile Devices Brand Deal.)

  • Germany's United Internet has provided some cheerier news for investors amid the coronavirus pandemic, raising its outlook to sales growth of 4% after guiding for unchanged sales previously. The operator, which still aims for earnings at the same level as in 2019, gave little explanation for the revised forecast, saying only that it reflected business performance this year so far. United Internet competes against Deutsche Telekom and cable operators in the broadband sector and is also building a fourth mobile network in Germany based on open RAN technology, after securing spectrum in Germany's 5G auction last year. (See Germany's United Internet goes down Rakuten route with plan to build 5G network based on open RAN.)

  • Still in Germany, operators Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica Deutschland dodged threatened fines after meeting coverage targets set by the regulator. The two operators had previously been warned they would face penalties when they missed coverage obligations attached to spectrum awards in 2015. The Bundesnetzagentur, which regulates the telecom sector, said Telefónica had put 3,040 LTE basestations into operation by the deadline of July 31 and agreed to set up another 1,900 sites by the end of September. Deutsche Telekom, meanwhile, has met an obligation of providing a 50Mbit/s service to 97% of households before the end of September.

  • BEREC, Europe's club of telecom regulators, flagged concern that some European governments are interfering in regulatory decision making and putting the independence of national regulatory authorities (NRAs) at risk. Without elaborating on the nature of the political interference, it has urged the European Commission to monitor developments and guard against actions that could undermine the work done by the NRAs.

    — Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading

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