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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: telco lobby groups have GIA gripes; SoftBank buys controlling stake in Ireland's Cubic Telecom; whistle blown on UK soccer rights auction.
December 5, 2023
Telefónica is planning to cut around a quarter of its workforce in Spain by 2026, according to a labor union spokesperson cited by Reuters. Up to 5,100 jobs could go out of a total domestic workforce of around 21,000, said the union, although Telefónica, while admitting that job cuts were planned, refused to confirm the numbers. The layoffs are being presented as part of the wider three-year "GPS" cost-cutting program announced last month. It's not the first wave of cuts that the operator has announced: In 2021 it revealed details of a voluntary redundancy plan available to staff born in 1967 or earlier. Telefónica will meet with the unions next week to negotiate the terms of the proposed layoffs.
A quartet of European telecom lobby groups, ETNO and GSMA among them, have joined forces to express their strong disapproval of the EU Council's approach to the drafting of the Gigabit Infrastructure Act (GIA), complaining that in its haste to get the GIA on the statute books the Council has dropped a number of provisions the lobbyists believe are crucial if the EU is to achieve its 2030 Digital Decade targets. Among the specific concerns is the removal of the "tacit approval" clause introduced by the European Commission to speed up the permit-granting process.
Japan's SoftBank has paid €473 million (US$511 million) for a 51% stake in Cubic Telecom, an Irish software company specializing in the connected vehicles sector. Once the deal closes, Barry Napier will continue to lead Cubic Telecom as CEO, while Daichi Nozaki, SoftBank's SVP responsible for its global business, and two other SoftBank appointees will join Cubic Telecom's board.
Top-flight soccer continues to attract the big broadcasting-rights bucks: The UK's Premier League has agreed deals with Sky, TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport) and the BBC worth £6.7 billion ($8.4 billion) over four years. That figure includes a 4% increase in the value of the live-rights element of the deal (with Sky and TNT) compared to the previous auction. Amazon, which secured the rights to a few select Premier League games in the previous auction, and DAZN, came away empty-handed this time round. (BT limps off pitch with Warner sports deal as business withers.)
Seven EU member states are to provide up to €1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) in public funding to support research into advanced cloud and edge computing technologies by 19 European companies. France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain are all involved in the project, officially called IPCEI Next Generation Cloud Infrastructure and Services (IPCEI CIS). The European Commission believes at least 1,000 jobs will be created by the project, the first fruits of which are expected to appear by the end of 2027.
Deutsche Glasfaser has chosen Ekinops to help it modernize its optical network infrastructure throughout Germany. The multi-year contract will see Ekinops supply its 360 optical platform. More than 1.2 million households are covered by Deutsche Glasfaser's network.
BICS, the international services arm of Belgium's Proximus, has teamed up with systems integrator Telcofan to support the delivery of private networks for businesses. The partnership will focus on the technical challenges associated with connecting IoT devices to private networks.
Gulf Bridge International (GBI) has launched a new point of presence in Oman via the Equinix MC1 data center, connecting, it says, all major data centers in the Gulf to Asian and Europe. Connectivity options range from 10 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s.
German IoT specialist Kontron has landed a €30 million ($32 million) optical network rollout contract with an unnamed German services provider. Kontron's Slovenian subsidiary will lead the project.
Eutelsat OneWeb is collaborating with London's Imperial College on an exploration of how to use OneWeb's low Earth orbit satellite constellation to monitor so-called "space weather." Such monitoring helps protect satellite operations as well as their associated power, communications, navigation and transport systems.
UK mobile operator EE has activated two new 4G masts on two of Scotland's most far-flung inhabited islands, Out Skerries and Foula. The masts fall under the Scottish government's £28.75 million ($36.30 million) Scottish 4G Infill program (S4GI).
Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.
He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.
During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.
Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.
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