Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom ups dividend, pays homage to AI gods

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Kontron and Fibwi deploy XGS-PON tech in the Balearics; Cellnex extends maritime safety contract; MTN tackles load shedding with investment in generators and more.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

April 10, 2024

3 Min Read
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hottges speaking at MWC
Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges: He has the AI wind beneath his wings.(Source: Iain Morris/Light Reading)
  • Deutsche Telekom has told shareholders that it intends to increase its dividend from 70 eurocents to 77 eurocents per share and reaffirmed its belief in artificial intelligence (AI) as a key engine of growth in the coming years. Speaking at a shareholders' meeting, CEO Tim Höttges said: "AI is here to stay. AI is the future. We now use AI in some 400 projects, Deutsche Telekom-wide. It helps us optimize quality. It brings us closer to our customers. It enhances our productivity. By up to 50% for routine tasks." Sounding in Messianic mood about the operator's long-term prospects, Höttges added: "The future is not far beyond the horizon. It is right in front of us. We are shaping this future. With every step."

  • Slovenia's Kontron is to help Balearic Islands operator Fibwi deploy 10-gig broadband across its patch, with 100,000 homes across Mallorca among the first to be connected. According to Kontron, Fibwi will become the first network operator in the Balearics to offer XGS-PON technology and services to its customers.

  • Cellnex has had its connectivity contract with Spain's Maritime Rescue and Safety Society extended for another four years. Cellnex will provide the service through its network of coastal stations across the Iberian peninsula in the VHF, MF, HF and NAVTEX frequency bands. The coastal stations are connected through Cellnex's national data transmission network to the control centers where maritime radio operators provide a round-the-clock listening service, receiving alerts and distress calls.

  • South Africa's MTN has told the Financial Times that it plans to spend 1.9 billion South African rand (US$101 million) by the middle of this year on generators, batteries and renewable energy to help mitigate the effects of government-mandated power outages, or "load shedding" as it is called in the country. CEO Ralph Mupita told the FT that he believes load shedding will continue to make life difficult for South African businesses for at least another three years.

  • In related news, MTN has again been named as the most valuable South African brand by Brand Finance, which assigned MTN a brand value of R68.2 billion ($3.68 billion) and a "sustainability perceptions value" (whatever that is) of R5.7 billion ($307 million). The secret to MTN's success was, said Brand Finance, its "effective strategies in areas such as customer service, advertising, loyalty programs, and overall reputation management."

  • The UK government has announced six new rural connectivity contracts as part of its Project Gigabit program. Quickline was awarded £44 million ($56 million) to connect 32,100 premises in South Yorkshire; FullFibre got £23 million ($29 million) to connect 7,900 premises in West Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean; FullFibre again, £10 million ($12.5 million) to connect 4,400 premises in the Peak District; Wessex Internet, £33 million ($42 million) to connect 21,400 premises in Dorset and South Somerset; Wildanet, £41 million ($52 million) to connect 16,800 premises in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly; and Voneus, £12 million ($15 million) to connect 6,000 premises in Mid West Shropshire. The government says that £714 million ($906.5 million) has now been committed to boosting rural broadband coverage in 2024.

  • Converged operator Virgin Media O2 has used a helicopter to deliver new 4G masts to the remote village of Killin in Scotland as part of the UK's Shared Rural Network program. According to VMO2, nearly a third of this particular corner of Scotland lacks 4G coverage from all four UK mobile network operators, namely VMO2, Vodafone, EE and Three.

  • The US government says it has paid Elon Musk's Starlink $23 million to deploy its terminals in Ukraine, according to a Bloomberg report (paywall applies). In September 2022, SpaceX – which owns Starlink – reportedly sent a letter to the Pentagon saying it could no longer continue to fund Starlink in Ukraine and requesting the Pentagon take over the funding the service to help Ukraine in its war against Russia.

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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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