Eurobites: Telenor-Led AI Project Brings in Big Business

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange completes Basefarm cloud services buy; EE wins UK coverage gong; Kudelski offloads SmarDTV business.

  • The artificial intelligence project started by Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and research organization SINTEF in 2017 is set to expand with a number of major Norwegian businesses joining the program. The Norwegian Open AI Lab, which is billed by its backers as a "national powerhouse" for AI, is bringing the likes of DNB, DNV GL, Equinor and the Kongsberg Group on board, to both develop AI-powered applications that can meet the needs of the companies' respective markets and to help figure out how Norway can take advantage of potential AI opportunities on the global stage.

    It's fair to say that Telenor is something of an AI aficionado: It has made several investments in the technology, and is looking to AI to help make its operations run more smoothly, using it in network analytics to optimize performance, among other things. (See Telenor's Svendsen Has Gut Feeling About AI.)

  • Orange Business Services has completed its acquisition of Basefarm Holding, a Nordic cloud services and analytics company, for €350 million (US$410.2 million). Basefarm, which recorded revenues of more than €100 million (US$117.2 million) in 2017 and employs 550 people, has a presence in several European countries. OBS is banking on the acquisition raising its profile in the burgeoning multicloud services market.

  • EE , the mobile operator owned by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), has been named the UK's best mobile network for the fifth year in a row by testing company RootMetrics . RootMetrics carried out 593,008 tests (including calls, data and text messages) on all four of the UK mobile networks in the first six months of 2018.

  • Switzerland-based Kudelski Group has transferred its SmarDTV device business to SmarDTV Global, a newly established entity affiliated with Neotion , a provider of security products for the pay-TV industry. The deal, initially worth $20 million, is expected to close by the end of the month. Kudelski will retain all patents.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has extended what it describes as its "fiber-optic rollout" to an additional 226,000 households in 151 municipalities. Cities covered by the latest buildout include Werdau and Aachen. Though classed by DT as a fiber rollout, the 100Mbit/s program uses so-called vectoring technology to boost legacy copper lines for the "last mile." (See Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom Sets Out Broadband Targets .)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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