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Eurobites: Nokia Makes Friends With France

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: data privacy developments; FreedomPop launches in UK; AlcaLu goes into Channel Tunnel.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has launched a charm offensive in France, its CEO Rajeev Suri meeting up with Emmanuel Macron, France's Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, to convince him and the rest of the government that its proposed takeover of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) will not push France onto the sidelines of the telecom industry. Nokia confirmed to Macron, an outspoken figure who has criticized former AlcaLu CEO Michel Combes's decision to jump ship to Altice , that France will continue to play a key role in the combined company's R&D operations, with all the jobs that that entails. Nokia has pledged to recruit at least 300 new graduates to R&D roles over the next three years, insisting that Nokia will become a "deepy embedded part of France." (See Eurobites: Combes Gets a Haircut, Ex-AlcaLu Boss Tasked With Bolstering Altice and Nokia/AlcaLu: The Key Friction Points.)

  • Since Edward Snowden's revelations, the issue of data privacy has been front and central in EMEA comms. The latest twist sees the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union, Yves Bot, effectively concluding that the Commission does not have the power to restrict the powers of the national data-privacy authorities. The decision flies in the face of the European Commission's existing Data Protection Directive, which ruled that the transfer of personal data to a third country may take place if the Commission decides that the third country in question ensures an adequate level of data protection. The case was brought before the EU Court of Justice by Maximillian Schrems, an Austrian privacy rights activist who objected to his personal data being transferred from Facebook 's Irish subsidiary to Facebook's servers in the US -- the "third country" in this instance. The Advocate General's decisions are significant and often lead to changes in European law, so this one could spell trouble for Facebook and other companies that like pass around personal data.

  • FreedomPop , the US-based MVNO that offers free phone services, has launched in the UK, reports TechCrunch. According to the report, FreedomPop is partnering with Three UK for the SIM-only service, though it is in talks with another network operator to broaden its offer.

  • Alcatel-Lucent is to deploy its optical transport technology in the Channel Tunnel, which links the UK to mainland Europe. The technology, which includes the 1830 Photonic Service Switch platform, will support existing and new services, such as closed-circuit TV, traffic management, signaling, voice communications and messaging.

  • Digicel Group , the Caribbean and South Pacific operator controlled by Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien, is to float on the New York stock exchange next week, reports the Irish Times. Under the terms of the flotation, O'Brien will relinquish about 40% of Digicel's equity but will still control 94% of the voting rights.

  • ADVA Optical Networking has completed a trial of its 400Gbit/s coherent data center interconnect (DCI) technology with the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center (PSNC) in Poland. The trial was conducted over 385km of fiber, connecting two research and education centers, one in Poznan, the other in Warsaw. ADVA has claimed an industry first with the trial, in that it managed to transport data continuously for 14 hours without any block errors. (See ADVA Conducts 400G DCI Trial.)

  • Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) is to use Liquid Telecom 's fiber network to connect its mobile basestations in Africa. Liquid Telecom boasts a 20,000km fiber network across the continent.

  • UK broadband provider TalkTalk has, not surprisingly, dismissed the plans by its much larger rival, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), to improve broadband service and speed. In an official response to BT's "vision," the company said that the plans were "too little too late" and reaffirmed its belief that what the country needed was a "level playing field that encourages competing providers to roll out the ultrafast infrastructure of the future." (See BT Outlines Conditional Gigabit Vision for UK.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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