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Eurobites: Telefónica Casts Doubt on Spanish Fiber Rollout

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TeliaSonera connects cars; Ericsson connects ships; AlcaLu connects Cape Town.

  • Telefónica has hinted that it might call a halt to its fiber rollout in Spain following a recommendation by the country's antitrust authority that it should share the network in certain underserved areas, reports Reuters. The authority, CNMC, said that in urban areas where fewer than three providers were offering high-speed broadband, the main operator should provide its rivals with access to its network. Telefónica said that it was now reviewing its plans for fiber rollout in Spain in the light of CNMC's recommendation.

  • Telia Company is to launch a cloud-based connected car platform, Telia Sense, that will allow drivers to use a smartphone-based app in combination with hardware installed in the car to get access to a range of "smart" features, including car diagnostics, pro-active car maintenance and tailored car insurance via 4G WiFi hotspot connectivity. Telia Sense will initially be made available in Sweden sometime next year, on a monthly subscription basis, and then be rolled out to other countries in the Nordic and Baltic region.

  • Never one to rest on its laurels, Internet of Things pioneer Sigfox has expanded its service into Ireland in partnership with VT Networks, a Dublin-based operator that already provides infrastructure for other Irish telcos as well as the emergency services. Sigfox has set a target of connecting 1 million devices to its Irish network by 2017, with Ireland becoming the twelfth country in which Sigfox has set up shop. The France-headquartered company recently announced plans to build a network in San Francisco in partnership with local authorities. Already active in various European markets, it wants to build another ten US city networks and eventually to operate a global IoT network based on its ultra-narrow band radio technology. (See There's a Sigfox at the Golden Gate.)

  • It's hard times for mobile in Israel: Reuters reports that Bezeq, The Israel Telecommunications Corp. Ltd. (OTC: BZQIF) posted a 4.9% year-on-year fall in third quarter profits, to 407 million shekels (US$105 million), its numbers dragged down by its Pelephone mobile unit. Earlier this week rival Cellcom Israel Ltd. reported a 62% fall in profits.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has been hit with another fine from the Competition Commission, registering 7.9 million Swiss francs ($7.7 million) on the pain meter and relating to a 2008 contract tender for a company network at Swiss Post. The Commission concluded that, by charging other bidders excessively high prices for necessary "intermediate inputs" controlled by Swisscom, the incumbent had violated the Federal Cartel Act. In October Swisscom was fined CHF186 million ($192.4 million) by the Commission for alleged improper pricing of broadband services.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has signed an agreement with satellite communications specialist Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT) that is intended to make the connected ship even more connected, through the sharing of data relating to cargo, logistics and other vessel operations. The first fruit of the union is Ericsson's signing of a distribution contract to offer XpressLink, Inmarsat's combined L-band and Ku-band VSAT network, for the maritime market.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has joined forces with former subsidiary Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and Bytes Systems Integration to deploy its advanced IP core routing technology in South Africa's Cape Town. The city is already home to many technology startups, and it hopes the new infrastructure will stimulate further digital business development.

  • UK regulator Ofcom is to strike out the regulation requiring Sky to offer its Sky Sports 1 and 2 channels on a wholesale basis to all comers, as the regulator now believes Sky is supplying the channels "on commercial terms outside of the regulation." Sky Sports now appears on the TV services offered by BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, and non-subscribers to any of these can see them on Now TV, Sky's pay-as-you-go OTT streaming service.

  • Yet another online music service is joining the fray dominated by Apple and Spotify: WeTransfer, the Dutch file-transfer service used for files that are too big for email, is to unveil a new music player today, reports Bloomberg. Apparently, pint-sized pop pioneer Prince and others have already released songs and videos on WeTransfer, and the company is hoping the new feature will encourage other artists to follow suit, possibly with exclusive content.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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