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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Altice sells controlling stake in data center business; Nokia signs up to Ultra Ethernet Consortium; does the NHS need its head examining?
November 22, 2023
Cellnex, the Spanish tower company, is looking to boost its investment-grade credit rating by accelerating the disposal of some non-core assets, according to a Reuters report. The company's CEO, Marco Patuano, said Cellnex hopes to achieve a higher rating by the middle of next year. Since listing in 2015, the company has been busy on the acquisition trail but, says Reuters, has now been forced by rising interest rates to focus on reducing debt by selling parts of the business deemed dispensible. (See Eurobites: Cellnex sells 49% stake in Nordics business to Stonepeak and Eurobites: Boldyn relieves Cellnex of private networks business.)
In other debt-reducing news, France's Altice is selling a 70% stake in its UltraEdge data centers business to an infrastructure investment fund owned by Morgan Stanley. According to the Financial Times (paywall applies), Morgan Stanley will pay €764 million ($833 million) for its piece of the UltraEdge action. UltraEdge has 257 data centers located in metropolitan areas across France.
Nokia has signed up to the Ultra Ethernet Consortium (UEC), a group that aims to encourage companies to cooperate on the development of Ethernet specifications and software APIs that work well in AI and other "high-performance computing" environments. The hope is that, with Nokia's support, the UEC will develop new standards, best practices and architectures for specialized AI data center networks.
Nokia has also been helping Ooredoo Qatar create what the pair claim is the Middle East and Africa region's first private wireless network dedicated to the energy sector. The network will cover 20,000 subscribers working on the offshore grid, providing them with voice and data services.
Telekom Deutschland has made a couple of changes at its top table: Dr. Robert Hauber is succeeding Klaus Werner as the operator's chief financial officer, while Steffen Schlaberg is made head of sales and service in Germany, taking over from Dr. Ferri Abolhassan.
Meanwhile, in what-could-possibly-go-wrong corner, Amnesty International is among those condemning the decision by the UK's National Health Service (NHS) to award a £330 million ($413 million) patient-data contract to Palantir, a US-based outfit that is best known for meeting the dastardly data needs of intelligence agencies and military organizations. As the Guardian reports, it doesn't help that its billionaire founder, Peter Thiel, told an Oxford University debate earlier this year that the NHS makes people sick, should be privatized and that the Brits' love for it showed they were suffering from "Stockholm syndrome."
UK broadband provider TalkTalk is taking part in an initiative that seeks to use data from broadband routers and smart meters to give people a complete picture of their household heating habits to determine whether a low-carbon heat pump would be appropriate for their needs. The idea is that the use of this data will save consumers hundreds of pounds on commissioning property surveys, which until now have the usual precursor to making the switch to a heat pump.
Sparkle, the international services arm of Telecom Italia (TIM), has signed an agreement with Telespazio's space center in Scanzano, Sicily, under the terms of which the Scanzano facility will be connected via its own fiber optic ring to Sparkle's Sicily Hub in Palermo, 47km away. Telespazio is a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo.
The UK government is today signing what it trumpets as a "landmark accord" with South Korea, an agreement which it hopes will lead to collaboration and job creation in all-the-rage tech areas such as AI, quantum and semiconductors.
Read more about:Europe
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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