Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Viavi agrees to buy UK's Spirent; European Commission fines Apple €1.8 billion for abuse of market dominance; Elisa launches 5G SA in Finland.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

March 5, 2024

3 Min Read
Cellnex stand at MWC 2023
(Source: Cellnex)
  • Spain-based towerco Cellnex will use its Capital Markets Day today to reveal its "Next Chapter," which includes an expectation that revenues will reach €4.5-4.7 billion (US$4.9-5.1 billion) by 2027, up from €3.6 billion ($3.9 billion) in 2023. As is often the case in grand corporate strategies, pillars are involved, and Cellnex has four of them: a commitment to focus on core markets while divesting from non-core ones; prioritizing co-tenancy growth with a view to achieving a tenancy ratio of 1.64 in 2027; a comprehensive efficiency drive; and a restatement of its commitment to strong governance and the incorporation of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles within its day-to-day activities.

  • And in what is being presented as the sort of dealmaking that will crop up in Cellnex's Next Chapter, the company has sold its Irish unit to Florida-based Phoenix Tower International (PTI) for around €971 million ($1.05 billion). Cellnex currently manages 1,900 sites in Ireland. If it gets the green light, Cellnex will use the proceeds of this deal to reduce its debt and ultimately, it hopes, achieve an investment-grade credit rating from Standard & Poor.

  • In other acquisition news, UK-based telecom testing company Spirent has accepted a £1 billion ($1.26 billion) offer from US firm Viavi Solutions, which equates to 172.5 pence per Spirent share. Spirent Shareholders will also receive a special dividend of 2.5 pence per Spirent share in lieu of a final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2023. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year, subject to the usual approvals.

  • Apple has been fined €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) by the European Commission for what Brussels calls the abuse of "its dominant position on the market for the distribution of music streaming apps to iPhone and iPad users ('iOS users') through its App Store."  The case relates particularly to music streaming services – the tech giant was found guilty of applying restrictions on app developers that prevented them from informing iOS users about alternative and potentially cheaper music streaming services available outside of the iOS app. Specifically, the Commission ruled that what it terms Apple's "anti-steering provisions" amount to unfair trading conditions, in breach of Article 102(a) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). The case was largely prompted by the concerns of Sweden's Spotify, which has long felt that it was effectively being held in something of an iOS stranglehold by Apple.

  • BT has landed a £26 million ($33 million) contract to connect – via its network access arm, Openreach – more than 650 primary schools in hard-to-reach places across England with gigabit broadband as part of the UK government's £5 billion ($5.8 billion) Project Gigabit program.

  • Elisa has launched a commercial 5G standalone (5G SA) network in Finland, with the help of Ericsson, which has provided its dual-mode 5G core. The network will be partly used to offer home broadband of the fixed wireless access (FWA) variety. The new 5G SA network is added to Elisa's existing 5G network, which, says Ericsson, already covers more than 90% of the Finnish population.

  • Amazon Web Services is to set up an AWS cloud infrastructure region in Saudi Arabia in 2026, with a view to making life easier for developers, startups and larger enterprises, among others. AWS plans to invest more than $5.3 billion in the kingdom.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has joined VMware's partner program to offer private cloud services – including so-called sovereign cloud services – to its business customers.

  • UK business connectivity provider Telcom has appointed Elliott Mueller as its new CEO. Mueller has previously been the boss of Tele2, JT Global and Metronet. Steve Best, late of EE and BT, joins Telcom as a non-executive director.

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Europe

About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

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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