Eurobites: Italy's Inwit offers rivals access to towers to allay antitrust concerns

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia to buy silicon photonics firm; Vodafone gets into smart surveillance; Orange teams up with Ekinops and Dell for uCPE.

  • Vodafone and Telecom Italia are seeking to counter European Union antitrust concerns about their Inwit towers tie-up, which was announced last year, by allowing rivals access to some of their shared sites in certain locations for up to nine years. According to an EU document seen by Reuters, Inwit will make around 630 sites available to rivals in towns and cities with more than 35,000 inhabitants.

  • Elsewhere on planet Vodafone… The operator has teamed up with "smart surveillance" provider Digital Barriers to launch Smart Vision, a set of connected surveillance offerings for the enterprise and public sector market. The range includes a body-worn camera for front-line staff such as police officers and healthcare professionals, as well as a digital encoder that can be connected up to an organization's existing surveillance infrastructure to capture footage in high definition.

  • Nokia is to acquire Elenion Technologies, a US-based company specializing in silicon photonics for short-reach and high-performance optical interfaces. The proposed transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020; financial details have not been disclosed.

  • Orange Business Services has chosen Ekinops and Dell Technologies as partners for a new universal customer premises equipment (uCPE) offering. OBS plans to sell products based on this uCPE to mid-market and large enterprise customers worldwide. For more details, see this press relase.

  • Underlying full-year revenue at Telefónica Deutschland grew 1.9% to €7.39 billion (US$7.97 billion), driven in part by an improvement in mobile service revenue since the second quarter of 2019. Underlying OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) was up 1% to €1.9 billion ($2 billion). In its financial statement, the operator says it expects regulatory changes to "remain a headwind" in 2020, with revenue depressed by the termination rate cut for mobile voice minutes from €0.95 to €0.90.

  • Sweden's Net Insight has made its Nimbra Edge media transport product available on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Nimbra Edge offers a hybrid cloud infrastructure that enables media companies to easily connect, manage and process low-latency, high-quality videos anywhere.

  • O2 has teamed up with Ovum (now part of the Omdia market research firm that, like Light Reading, is part of Informa Tech) to produce a piece of research that predicts that 5G could boost the UK's live entertainment sector to the tune of £2.3 billion ($2.9 billion) over the next ten years. "5th Generation Entertainment" forecasts a "revolutionised pre-event experience" comprising smart ticketing and connected venues, offering fans the chance to access and enjoy related activities – AR-assisted shopping, anyone? – ahead of the show.

    Could 5G put an end to music-festival misery? Nah.
    Could 5G put an end to music-festival misery? Nah.

  • A European Union tax commissioner has criticized US proposals that would in effect allow (largely US-based) tech titans to continue to dodge paying as much tax as they should, at least in the eyes of the EU. As Reuters reports, Paolo Gentiloni told lawmakers that the US proposal to give multinational companies the option of being taxed under existing rules or future ones being thrashed out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) "will in fact make a global solution [to the perceived tax dodging] very improbable." (See Eurobites: EU Wants 3% of the Tech Titans.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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