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Eurobites: Telia, DNA extend shared Finnish network

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: O2 nears mobile agreement with Sky; CBNG appoints new CTO; the sound of ancient phones.

  • Telia and DNA are to expand their jointly owned network-sharing company, Finnish Shared Network, further across the country, taking it further south-west so it covers cities such as Oulu, Kuopio and Kouvola. Currently the joint network covers 50% of Finland geographically and 13.5% of the population; it is hoped that once the project is complete coverage will rise to 62.5% by area and 28.5% by population. The two operators also believe that their collaboration will help speed up the introduction of 5G services by about a year. But it is not a complete love-in: Telia and DNA will continue to offer independently competing services to customers in the joint network area.

  • Telefónica UK (O2) is on the verge of signing a new mobile wholesale agreement with Sky, according to a report in the Telegraph. O2 is in the process of trying to merge with Virgin Media, which currently uses Vodafone's network – if the merger goes ahead Virgin plans to move its 3 million customers to O2's network. (See Eurobites: Virgin Media, O2 merger faces in-depth review.)

  • Cambridge Broadband Networks Group, a UK company specializing in millimeter wave fixed wireless access and backhaul, has appointed William Webb as its chief technology officer. Webb's previous includes spells at UK communications regulator Ofcom (as director of technology resource) and Motorola (as director of corporate strategy). Part of Webb's brief will be the development of a 5G product that will complement CBNG's existing VectaStar platform.

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "poised" to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as the chair of regulator Ofcom, according to a report in the Observer. As well as being a dagger in the heart to those on the left of the political spectrum and the BBC's worst nightmare (Dacre set the right-wing tone on the Mail for decades), the news may also puzzle those who see Ofcom's principal job going forward as being more to do with broadband than broadcasting. The Observer quotes one unnamed UK TV management executive describing the potential appointment as "an appalling idea," and adding that Dacre "knows nothing" about how to improve the country's broadband infrastructure.

  • The European Commission is fighting back in its long-running legal battle with Apple over what the Commission sees as €13 billion (US$15.5 billion) in missing back taxes from the tech giant. As Reuters reports, EU antitrust regulators believe a court made legal errors when it scrapped their order for the Irish back taxes (Apple has its European headquarters in Ireland). The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union will hold another hearing on the case in the coming months. (See Eurobites: Apple gives EU the €13B finger.)

  • Pining for the ringtone of a 1985 Sceptre 100 telephone? Want to relive the thrill of full-on modem screech from the freewheeling era of narrowband Internet? Well now you can, courtesy of the BBC, which has opened up its massive sound effects archive for public consumption. Of course, it's not all electronics – check out "fish frying in pan" and "dustbin lid falling and replaced." The lockdown hours will just fly by…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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