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Eurobites: Vodafone, O2 look to monetize tower assets

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom, Nextcloud launch collaboration platform; Orange Ventures strikes out on its own; Airspan eyes Huawei-shaped hole in UK.

  • Vodafone UK and Telefónica UK (O2) say they are looking to monetize their passive tower network infrastructure partnership, CTIL, through new long-term "master services agreements" with the 50:50 joint venture, which was formed in 2012 through the consolidation of both Telefónica UK and Vodafone UK's existing network infrastructure. As part of the deal, Vodafone intends to transfer its 50% shareholding in CTIL to its own towers company, Vantage Towers, this month. For its part, Telefónica UK is thought to be still reviewing options for its stake in CTIL. (See Disadvantage Towers? Vodafone plays game of risk and Vodafone, O2 Hint at UK Towers Sale in 5G Update.)

  • Deutsche Telekom and Nextcloud have together announced the launch of an "enterprise-ready, Europe-hosted content collaboration platform" which allows for secure data and document exchange with online editing capabilities, chat and videoconferencing as well as task and calendar management. Signficantly, all data is hosted in Deutsche Telekom's own data centers and never leaves German jurisdiction, leaving users less to worry about when it comes to compliance with the EU's GDPR.

  • Orange has made its venture capital arm, Orange Ventures, a separate legal entity with an increased allocation of €350 million (US$426 million). It hopes that this move will leave Orange Ventures better able to seek out and support the best startup talent worldwide. Orange Ventures invests in high-growth sectors in areas relevant to Orange expertise such as connectivity and cybersecurity, as well as less Orangey sectors such as e-health.

  • Airspan, a Florida-based company that specializes in cloud-native open RAN technology, has told the Financial Times (paywall applies) that it hopes to take advantage of the fact that Huawei is being phased out of the UK's 5G network rollout and is planning to double its UK workforce by the middle of next year to help meet an anticipated growth in its business. (See Hefty fines for UK operators flouting Huawei restrictions and Huawei should face earlier UK ban if China threats grow, say officials.)

  • France-based Airbus has signed a contract with Intelsat to build two OneSat satellites for Intelsat's software-defined network. They are expected to be delivered in 2023.

  • CityFibre, the UK alternative network provider, has begun work on its £40 million ($54 million) full-fiber network in the Medway region. Lanes Infrastructure will be doing the digging, and the overall project should be done and dusted by the end of 2023.

  • Gerard van de Aast has been nominated for appointment to the supervisory board of Dutch incumbent operator KPN for a four-year term. Van de Aast is described by KPN as a "seasoned executive" with board-level experience in a number of sectors, construction and software engineering among them.

  • Enforced home schooling is tough for everyone, but especially tough for those without a decent fixed-line broadband connection. With this in mind, BT has joined forces with the BBC to zero rate the BBC's Bitesize educational service for prepaid and postpaid customers of BT Mobile, EE and Plusnet Mobile. The move forms part of BT's wider "Lockdown Learning" program.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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