Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Three UK pilots LPWA network; Ericsson wants to accelerate 5G RAN with Nvidia; BICS extends European footprint.
Further doubt has been cast on Sunrise's planned $6.39 billion acquisition of Liberty Global's Swiss cable operator, UPC Switzerland, with the scrapping of a rights issue that is key to the deal. As Reuters reports, a shareholders' meeting to approve the cash call was scheduled for Wednesday, but has now been cancelled. The proposed deal has encountered many roadblocks along the way, including opposition from Sunrise's biggest backer, Freenet, and activist investor AOC. (See Eurobites: Sunrise/Liberty Deal Catches More Flak.)
Mobile operator Three UK is piloting a low-power, wide-area (LPWA) network, which it hopes will be the first step in a nationwide rollout that will support the widespread deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The network has been set up at the Integrated Transport Electricity Gas Research Laboratory in the north-eastern city of Gateshead, which is a collaboration between Newcastle University, Siemens and various utility companies. CKH IOD, which, like Three UK, is part of the CK Hutchison group, is the operator's partner in the project.
Sweden's Ericsson is collaborating with Nvidia, a US-based specialist in graphics processing units (GPUs), on technologies which the pair anticipate will allow communications service providers to build virtualized 5G radio access networks more quickly.
And in another 5G-flavored partnership, Ericsson is teaming up with Digital Catapult, a UK-based digital innovation center, on the Industrial 5G Accelerator program. The program will seek to produce a series of real-life test cases demonstrating 5G's potential.
Salvatore Rossi has been appointed chairman of Telecom Italia (TIM). Rossi has held a number of senior roles at the Bank of Italy and since May 2019 has been a Professor at LUISS (School of European Political Economy).
Belgium-based BICS has extended its European network footprint with a new fiber route between Italy (Turin) and Switzerland (Lausanne) and five new points of presence (PoPs) that will facilitate low-latency IP services in north-eastern Europe.
UK cable operator Virgin Media has switched on gigabit service in and around the northern English city of Manchester, bringing speedier broadband within reach of around half a million homes. Manchester is the second UK city to receive Virgin's Gig1 treatment, the first being Southampton, on England's south coast.
A "swift rollout of 5G networks" is key to the European Union maintaining its competitiveness with other parts of the world, according to a draft EU document seen by Reuters. The document also stresses the importance of "robust" cybersecurity in the coming 5G rollouts, though it doesn't mention Huawei by name.