Eurobites: Nokia casts ASN subsea unit adrift

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Proximus strikes cloud deal with Microsoft; Vodafone pushes eSIMs at Glasto; EE targets the 'next-level' gamers with pricey broadband bundle.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 27, 2024

3 Min Read
Nokia logo on building
(Source: Nokia)
  • Nokia has agreed to sell its ASN subsea unit to the French state for €350 million (US$374 million), a deal that the Finnish vendor says demonstrates its commitment to focus on its core strengths, not least its Network Infrastructure Business Group. Under the terms of the agreement, Nokia would retain a 20% shareholding and board representation in the short term, though the state would ultimately acquire Nokia's remaining interest. The sale is expected to close at the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025, subject to regulatory approvals and consultation with the relevant labor unions.

  • Belgium's Proximus has struck a five-year cloud deal with Microsoft. According to the press release announcing the partnership, Microsoft will benefit from being able to use products from Proximus' international units BICS, Telesign and Route Mobile, while Proximus will tap into Microsoft's Azure cloud. Part of the deal will see Proximus migrating its key platforms to Azure cloud services, a move that the operator claims (somewhat inevitably) will see the dark arts of AI play a bigger part in its operations.

  • As you read this, Glastonbury Festival is cranking into gear, with today's live music highlights including Joy Orbison and Dr Banana. (No, me neither.)  Vodafone will be finding a space between the tofu burger stalls and the £60 ($76) T-shirt emporiums to offer non-Vodafone-using festival-goers the opportunity to take part in a free eSIM network trial. Those who sign up will get 50GB data, 500 minutes and 500 texts for seven days. Users won't have to change their number or swap their SIM card; they can switch between Vodafone's network and their current provider through their device settings, perhaps while they're half-listening to Dr Banana. (See Looking ahead: eSIMs, AI speed smartphone evolution and eSIM adoption hits inflection point, says Counterpoint.)

  • G.Network, a UK altnet that focuses on central London, has scored another £85 million ($107 million) in funding, courtesy of USS, its long-term equity investor. The funding, says G.Network, will enable it to make gigabit speeds more accessible and affordable. Growth areas include the development of its B2B retail and wholesale business as well as fiber buildouts with partners such as Boldyn Networks.

  • EE, the mobile and broadband offshoot of UK heavyweight BT, has launched a broadband bundle intended for, in the company's words, "next-level gaming."  The bundle comes with claimed full-fiber speeds of 1.6 Gbit/s, a top-end router and something called Smart WiFi Plus. It also comes with a slightly scary price tag of £79.99 ($101.14) a month.

  • Orange has done a deal with French bank BNP Paribas for customer handset financing. The "Tailored Financing" offer will be marketed to customers in more than 500 Orange stores, allowing customers to customize their device financing plan with a loan value ranging from €200 to €3,000 ($252 to $3,793), loan duration from four to 48 months and a choice of whether to pay an upfront lump sum or not.

  • Nordic operator Tele2 has secured a €140 million ($150 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support the rollout of its 5G network and the upgrade of its 4G one. Tele2 is building its 5G network with Telenor in the Net4Mobility joint venture. The EIB is the European Union's bank, owned by the EU member states, which funds projects deemed to further EU policy objectives.

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic is continuing its executive hiring spree with the recruitment of Kathryn Bowden as its new director of regulation, policy, risk and compliance. Stints at Openreach, Shell Energy and the Post Office all feature on the Bowden resume.

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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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