Eurobites: Telenor Backs AI Brains Trust

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia milks 4.5G, sells managed services to VimpelCom; MTN's CEO resigns; in-flight broadband partnership wins its first customer; Blackadder goes over-the-top in US.

  • Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has joined forces with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and research organization SINTEF to open a laboratory dedicated to encouraging innovation in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI. Telenor is pumping 50 million Norwegian kroner (US$5.9 million) into the lab, NOK40 million ($4.7 million) of which will fund professorships, post-doctoral positions and scholarships as well as hardware and software for the lab, while the remainder will fund an IoT innovation network. The lab is located on NTNU's campus in Trondheim. (See Telenor Backs Artificial Intelligence R&D Center.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) continues its 4.5G foray in the Middle East, this time with Ooredoo Qatar. The Finnish giant says that its 4.5G Pro technology has helped the operator achieve mobile data speeds of up to 800 Mbit/s for its customers in parts of Doha, Qatar's capital city. Ooredoo 's Global Services arm has also chosen Telia Carrier to provide IoT backhaul connectivity to Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s device connection platform in Europe. (See Ooredoo Qatar Deploys 4.5G Pro With Nokia.)

  • Meanwhile, in chillier climes, Nokia has signed a five-year deal with Russia's VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP), under the terms of which Nokia will be principal supplier of managed services for VimpelCom's fixed, mobile and transport network operations.

  • The fallout from MTN Group Ltd. 's massive 2015 fine at the hands of the government of Nigeria for failing to register SIM cards continues with the resignation of CEO Mteto Nyati. As Quartz Media reports, Nyati is off to South African tech company Altron, to be replaced by Godfrey Motsa, effective March 13. Since MTN suffered the $5.2 billion fine, a number of top MTN executives have cleared their desks, former Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa among them. (See Eurobites: MTN Earnings Hit by Nigerian Fine, MTN to Challenge $3.9B Fine in Nigerian Court and Eurobites: MTN Shares Suspended After $5.2B Fine.)

  • International Airlines Group (IAG), which takes in Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, has been announced as the launch customer for Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT)'s European Aviation Network, which provides high-speed in-flight broadband and is being jointly operated by Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) -- Inmarsat provides the satellite and DT the complementary LTE-based ground network.

  • US TV viewers will get the chance to see some classic UK sitcoms and some piss-poor soaps on a new streaming service launched by broadcasters BBC Worldwide and ITV. As Reuters reports, the new subscription-based service will cost $6.99 per month, which is a bit cheaper than similar offerings from Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Hulu LLC .

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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