Eurobites: Orange Belgium Eyes Voo Merger

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia connects Poland's rail network; BT cuts prices for landline-only customers; Ericsson under pressure to cut costs faster.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

March 29, 2018

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Orange Belgium Eyes Voo Merger

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia connects Poland's rail network; BT cuts prices for landline-only customers; Ericsson under pressure to cut costs faster.

  • Following reports in the French press, Orange Belgium has confirmed its interest in a merger with cable operator Voo, issuing a statement saying that it is looking into an "industrial partnership" with Voo's parent companies, Nethys and Brutélé. If it went ahead, says Orange, such a merger would create a "convergent" national operator with strong roots in Wallonia and the Brussels region.

    • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has won what it says is its largest-ever GSM-Railway contract, with Poland's state-owned railway operator PKP Polskie Linie Kolejowe (PKP PLK). Under the terms of the five-year deal, Nokia will deploy a nationwide GSM-R and mission-critical network to improve railway connectivity and security throughout the country. Nokia's partners in the project are Herkules, Pozbud and Wasko.

    • In other Nokia news, the vendor has announced that it is to cut its Finnish workforce by 353. The company's networks division will lose 283 jobs, with the remainder going at its Nokia Technologies unit. As YLE reports, this is a smaller number of redundancies than originally planned.

    • Customers of UK incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) who only take the operator's landline voice service and not its broadband bundle are in for a monthly line rental price cut of £7 (US$9.84) as from this week, following an "intervention" from regulator Ofcom , who judged that this sub-set of customers -- many of them elderly -- were effectively being ripped off. In a response statement, BT is putting a brave face on the decision, saying that they "listened" to their landline-only customers and made a "voluntary agreement" with Ofcom to reduce the monthly charge.

    • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is being put under pressure by activist investor Cevian Capital to accelerate its cost-cutting program, Reuters reports, though the Swedish equipment giant maintains that it is well on course to hit its $1 billion-plus target. (See Ericsson Plans 25,000 Job Cuts – Report.)

    • Telecom Italia Sparkle has boosted its IP presence in Europe with a new point of presence (PoP) in Amsterdam. The PoP is located at carrier-neutral Data Centre Equinix AM5.

    • Verbund, an Austria-based hydropower energy producer, is to deploy ADVA Optical Networking 's FSP 3000 optical transport technology to boost the capacity of its network. Verbund hopes the deployment will help it realize its ambition to provide Austria's electricity entirely through renewable sources.

    • And talking of renewables, UK pay-TV giant Sky has invested £25 million ($35 million) into what it calls an "impact investment vehicle" to promote new ideas and businesses that it hopes might be able to stem the rising tide of plastics threatening the world's oceans. It is now looking to bring other businesses into the project and scale up the investment to £100 million ($140.5 million).

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

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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