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Eurobites: Does Drahi have his eye on Openreach?Eurobites: Does Drahi have his eye on Openreach?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Stirling work from CityFibre; Telia sells Afghan stake; new boss at Olivetti; 5G – The Movie.

Paul Rainford

August 3, 2020

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Does Drahi have his eye on Openreach?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Stirling work from CityFibre; Telia sells Afghan stake; new boss at Olivetti; 5G – The Movie.

Mail on Sunday report which says that French telecom tycoon Patrick Drahi is sniffing around Openreach, and prepared to pay £20 billion (US$26 billion) for the company in a hostile takeover, if necessary. Altice Europe and Altice USA – the two operators founded by Drahi – both deny that there is any truth in the speculation, however. (See Eurobites: Altice's Drahi Brings Down Hammer on $3.7B Sotheby's Deal, Openreach may soon practice social distancing from BT and Eurobites: Openreach pushes fiber into 'final third' of UK.) Openreach rival CityFibre says it has completed its main fiber rollout in the Scottish city of Stirling, its network passing more than 17,500 premises there. However, the company still has more digging to do, because it has now committed to extending the network to reach an additional 2,500 premises, with much of the network extension planned for the city center. The Stirling Gigabit City project forms part of CityFibre's wider £4 billion ($5.2 billion) investment program aiming to reach up to 8 million premises and be "substantially completed" by 2025. (See CityFibre plans jobs splurge to boost UK fiber build, Eurobites: CityFibre accelerates UK network rollout and CityFibre expands UK empire with £200M acquisition.) Sweden's Telia has sold all of its 12.25% stake in Afghan mobile operator Roshan to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. Olivetti, the iconic Italian company that is now part of Telecom Italia (TIM) group, has appointed Roberto Tundo as its new CEO. Tundo's resume includes a 14-month spell at Enel, the utility firm that forms one half of Open Fiber, the government-owned wholesale network with whom the Italian government has been trying to persuade TIM to do a national broadband deal. To paraphrase Dionne Warwick and a number of others with a penchant for soppy Burt Bacharach songs, what the world needs now is 5G. And not just for faster Fortnite either. That, sort of, is the message being pumped out by Deutsche Telekom in a new, erm, high-concept ad that seeks to convey how the latest mobile technology is enhancing personal relationships and, essentially, bringing world peace. Or at least German peace. "Our ad is cinema on a grand scale," says the operator, modestly. (See Eurobites: DT gung-ho on 5G – but is trouble in store?) Today's the day 267 new apprentices will start their training at Swisscom – COVID-19 notwithstanding. Seven different vocational disciplines are on offer, ranging from information technology to retailing, though for obvious reasons much of the induction will take place online. This summer 266 apprentices have already successfully completed their courses at Swisscom, equating to a pass rate of 94%. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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, Paul has worked as a copy editor and sometime writer since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the nougthies he 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 sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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