Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: big guns take aim at 5G; Sky prepares for IPv6; Facebook reshuffles in Europe; EE gets Cat 9 ready.
Japan's SoftBank Corp. won't be strong-arming its new British chip subsidiary into a strategy shift, the company has today insisted. In a joint statement, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son and Simon Segars -- the CEO of the ARM Ltd. business that SoftBank has acquired for a whopping $32 billion -- tried to allay any fears by stating that "the change in ownership does not mean a change in direction." ARM will also retain in senior executive team, said Son and Segars.
The statement comes shortly after SoftBank secured regulatory clearance for the deal but amid some British concern about the loss of ARM's independence. Despite insisting there will be no change in direction, SoftBank evidently believes ARM's processor designs could be used in a multitude of connected devices, and not just the smartphones they power today, having paid about 25 times ARM's annual sales for the business. SoftBank has also appointed Ren Tanaka as the general manager of a just-created department called "New Business Promotion," indicating one of his main jobs will be to "promote new business development" at ARM. (See SoftBank's Tanaka to Take ARM by Hand, Not Boss It.)
Keen to be heavily involved in mobile operator transformation plans, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has outlined a new professional services offering that it is calling its 5G Acceleration Services. Building on its experience as a long-time supplier of consultancy, planning, integration and network operations services to carriers, Nokia has put together a package of professional services (including business case analysis as well as network architecture and operations evolution planning) designed to help operators chart their strategic course for the coming years as they introduce next generation networks and services. And in an effort to provide a differentiator to its main rivals Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , which will no doubt both be offering the same proposition to mobile operators, Nokia is stressing the involvement of its Bell Labs R&D division as part of the mix. It could be argued that such support services are, right now, what the operators really need from vendors, particularly from those that are able to grit their teeth and provide a truly multi-vendor advisory service.
5G is all the rage this week as the industry event/conference season kicks off again with the CTIA Super Mobility show in Las Vegas. Nokia CEO Rajiv Suri is heading to Sin City to participate in a keynote panel session, during which the audience can expect to encounter partisan proclamations such as, "There will be no 'day one' for 5G, but instead a seamless transition from 4G through 4.G Pro to 4.9G and then to 5G." Nokia folks will no doubt be on hand to explain how that might be seamless.
Ericsson, naturally, also has something new to share re 5G and, following from its technology announcement of last week, it has unveiled a 16-page report called "Opportunities in 5G: The view from eight industries" that highlights how the introduction of 5G services and associated technology could impact the following verticals: automotive; utilities; public safety; high-tech manufacturing; Internet/digital natives; healthcare; financial services; and media/gaming. It sounds genuinely interesting -- one to read on the way to Vegas maybe. For more details, see Ericsson Publishes 'Opportunities in 5G' Report.
Sky , the UK-based pay-TV giant, says it has completed the rollout of its IPv6-enablement program, with more than 90% of its broadband customers now enjoying "IPv6-ready" status. IPv6 is intended to supply a virtually limitless supply of IP addresses, reducing the risk of lost connections.
Facebook is having a management reshuffle in the EMEA region, Bloomberg reports, with European sales chief Paula Bonomo heading for the door. Laurent Solly, the company's current country manager for France, will be put in charge of a new Southern Europe sales territory, which includes France, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
UK mobile operator EE has begun what it describes as the next phase of its 4G network, which involves making it compatible with Cat 9 devices. Cat 9 is found in some the latest smartphones, including the HTC M10 and the recently recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and it uses LTE-Advanced technology to achieve data download speeds of up to 450 Mbit/s. EE has already enabled the first stage of its LTE-Advanced network in more than 150 towns and cities, and the next phase will see it enable access to high-speed 4G services on over 500 sites across these towns and cities.
Netgem , which counts EE among its customers, has launched a white-label multi-room "music aggregation and playout service" for operators. Called Music Avenue, the service allows users to play music from a range of sources through wirelessly connected speakers, the whole caboodle controlled using the TV remote control or a smartphone/tablet app.
Interoute Communications Ltd. has snipped the ribbon on a new Virtual Data Centre (VDC) zone in Stockholm, the third it has opened this year. The VDC will serve the cloud services needs of enterprises in the Nordics.
Finnish airline Finnair has done a deal with California-based ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) to to install a high-speed wireless Internet network on its Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe. The installation will begin in May 2017, and is scheduled to be completed by June 2018.
SoftBank I think it is good to see SoftBank simply leave ARM be. Why mess with something that has been working pretty well? ARM has blazed a trail in its mission and structure. There's no reason for SoftBank to mess with it, rather leaving it alone will probably increase its overall value.