Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom and Viasat expand in-flight connectivity network; Telecom Italia sets out its medium-term goals post Netco sale; online gatekeepers get nervous as DMA Day arrives.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

March 7, 2024

3 Min Read
Robot holding tin can.
(Source: Kittipong Jirasukhanont/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Vodafone has sprinkled some generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) fairy-dust on its VOXI youth mobile brand, launching a GenAI chatbot to, in the operator's words, "enhance the customer experience." The chatbot is being launched in collaboration with Accenture and is underpinned by ChatGPT, the OpenAI-owned and Microsoft-allied AI uber-brand. According to Vodafone, the chatbot will improve customers' experience by engaging in "human-like interactions" and dealing with "more sophisticated" customer requests. The chatbot will initially be made available to a small number of guinea-pig customers to make sure all runs smoothly and that those fabled GenAI hallucinations are kept to an absolute minimum.

  • Deutsche Telekom and Viasat are expanding their European Aviation Network (EAN), which provides in-flight connectivity for passengers in the region. Three new ground stations are now operating near the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea, providing increased capacity for passengers flying to and from Cyprus with Greek airline Aegean. The service is being installed on Aegean's Airbus A320 and A321, covering both existing aircraft and those on order. More than 300 EAN ground-network antenna sites are already set up across Europe.

  • Deutsche Telekom is also extending its agreement with Netflix, allowing customers of DT subsidiaries in Croatia and Hungary (and other countries in due course) to integrate the streaming service into their respective content platforms.

  • The Telecom Italia board has approved the operator's medium-term targets, otherwise known as the Springsteen-channeling "Free to Run" Industrial Plan. After the sell-off of its fixed network to US investment firm KKR in a deal expected to close this summer, the operator expects group revenue to grow 3% in CAGR terms from 2023 to 2026, while group EBITDAaL is predicted to rise 8% over the same period. The board has also nominated Alberta Figari as its favored candidate for the chairman position.

  • Middle Eastern operator Zain saw fourth-quarter revenue rise 8% year-over-year, to 494 million Kuwaiti dinar (US$1.6 billion), while EBITDA reached KWD174 million ($565 million). In December, Zain Jordan became the first operator in the country to launch 5G commercial services – the fourth Zain unit to do so.

  • Rejoice! It's DMA Day! Yes, the EU's Digital Markets Act comes into force today, imposing a fresh set of regulations on Apple, Meta, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet and ByteDance that the tech behemoths will no doubt do their utmost to circumvent using armies of handsomely paid legal foot soldiers. Those six firms have been classed as online "gatekeepers" under the terms of the Act and, if they are found guilty of repeated infringements of the new regs, they could face fines of up to 20% of the annual global revenue. (See EU acts to tackle might of 'gatekeeper' platforms.)

  • Telefónica Tech has teamed up with Teradata to expand its AI services in Spain. The agreement between the companies allows Telefónica Tech to integrate Teradata's cloud analytics and data platform into its product offering.

  • UK operator BT has found a slot for Sprinklr's Unified-CXM software within its customer-experience armory. Sprinklr is based in New York and counts major brands such as Microsoft and Samsung among its clients.

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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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