Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Fox proposes Sky News sell-off; poles not towers for MTN Nigeria; MTS offers VoLTE and WiFi calling.
Spotify ended its much anticipated first day's trading on the New York Stock Exchange with shares closing at $149.01, giving the Swedish-owned music streaming service a market valuation of $26.5 billion -- slightly ahead of expectations. As Music Week reports, the shares actually fell more than 10% on their opening price of $165.90, but the final value was still substantially higher than the initial reference price of $132. Not everyone was thrilled by the news, however. Feargal Sharkey, warbley-voiced lead singer of The Undertones turned music industry executive, tweeted: "Hmmm. I wonder how much of that £17,100,000,000 valuation will find its way back to the artists? Hmmm. Let me guess."
21st Century Fox is hoping to allay the concerns of the competition authorities over its proposed takeover of Sky by offering to either sell Sky News to Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) or ring-fencing it, the BBC reports. The head of 21st Century Fox, Rupert Murdoch, already owns the Sun, the Times and the Sunday Times newspapers in the UK, so there was considerable twitchiness at the prospect of the tycoon getting his hands on another powerful news outlet. The fate of Sky became more uncertain after Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) weighed in with its own $31 billion bid for the satellite TV giant in February. (See Why Sky's the Limit for Comcast and Eurobites: EU Gives Blessing to Fox-Sky Deal.)
MTN Nigeria and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd have completed the commercial deployment of RuralStar 2.0, an offering that allows the use of low (12 meter high) poles rather than high towers for voice and mobile broadband services, using low-band NLOS LTE Relay technology.
MTN Nigeria has deployed Huawei's low-pole RuralStar 2.0 solution.
Russian operator Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has launched voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and WiFi calling on iPhones in and around Moscow. The VoLTE service will also be available -- at the same cost as the existing cellular service -- on selected Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy S7, the Sony XZ2 and XZ2 compact.
Belgium's Proximus is to work with the authorities in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve to set up a "Smart City Live Lab," a project that will set out to evaluate the potential of smart-city applications in different sectors, such as security, tourism and energy management. The operator's long-term plan will be to replicate the applications tested in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve across the entire country.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told Reuters that while he believes the EU's imminent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy laws are a good idea "in spirit," he is not prepared to commit to using them as the benchmark for data privacy on his social network across the globe. Facebook has seen its share price slump over the past week as the controversy surrounding the use of its subscribers' profiles in Donald Trump's presidential campaign raised investors' fears of a data clampdown on the company. (See Facebook: The Sick Man of Silicon Valley.)