Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson upgrades Mobily network in Saudi Arabia; Vodafone turns to V for Victory in the consumer IoT market; Nokia and Vodacom trial 5G technologies.
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) CEO Börje Ekholm is continuing his overhaul of the beleaguered vendor's people and processes with the replacement of two key executives, Jan Frykhammar and Magnus Mandersson. Taking their place in the executive vice president role will be Fredrik Jejdling, who is currently head of Ericsson's Business Area Networks division. The changes will take place with immediate effect. Frykhammar has been with Ericsson for 26 years, and served as interim CEO while the search was undertaken for a new permanent boss to replace Hans Vestberg, who got the push in July 2016 after a run of disappointing results and a slide in the company's share price. (See Ericsson Plans 25,000 Job Cuts – Report, Eurobites: Ericsson's Chairman Falls on His Sword, Is Ekholm Ericsson's Savior or Seller? and Ericsson Ejects CEO Vestberg.)
Separately, Ericsson has been awarded a network upgrade contract by Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) . On the hardware side, the contract includes the deployment of the Baseband 52- and 66-series and mobile backhaul equipment such as the MINI-LINK and 6000 series router. Technologies including FDD/TDD convergence, 4x4 MIMO, multi-band carrier aggregation also form part of the deal.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is making a play for the consumer IoT (Internet of Things) market with the launch of "V by Vodafone," a system which the operator says will help consumers connect and manage various IoT devices, such as connected car dongles, 4G security cameras and activity trackers. Under the system, a dedicated SIM card will be shipped as standard with every IoT-enabled consumer electronics device sold by Vodafone. A smartphone app then provides customers with an overview of all IoT-enabled products registered to their account on a monthly price plan. The system will also be offered by third-party retailers next year.
There's more 5G maneuvering afoot with the signing of an agreement between Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and South Africa's Vodacom Pty. Ltd. to trial the vendor's 5G technology. Initially the companies will focus on the delivery of Ultra HD and virtual reality video services, exploiting the ultra-low latency capabilities of 5G. They will also work together on developing uses for 5G in various industry verticals in South Africa, including manufacturing, mining and healthcare.
Orange Business Services is to provide network optimization, Internet connectivity, security services, unified-communications-as-a-service, video conferencing and consulting to German automotive supplier ZF. The contract, worth €50 million (US$57.8 million) over four years, includes the integration of what was TRW Automotive into the ZF Group.
Facebook is introducing its Messenger mobile payment feature in the UK, the Daily Telegraph reports. The feature, which is already available to Facebook users in the US, will allow UK Facebookers -- or at least those who are prepared to link their Facebook accounts to their bank accounts -- to transfer up to £2,500 ($3,282) to each other in each separate transaction, up to a maximum of £10,000 ($13,131) every 30 days.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) are extending their cloud partnership, with BT offering a new Cisco-based customer premises equipment virtualization solution managed by BT (BT Connect Edge) and the integration of Cisco's network automation and orchestration software platform into BT's networking offerings (BT Connect Services Platform).