Eurobites: Italy's Enel in $2.8B FTTH Plan

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Telecom Italia begins search for new CEO; Vodafone UK loses consumer director; Proximus employees hurt in Brussels terror attack; Dubai gets happy with smart city tech; network access trouble brews in Turkey.

  • Italian energy provider Enel SpA is to spend €2.5 billion ($2.8 billion) on the rollout of a fiber-to-the-home network it will offer to broadband retail service providers on a wholesale basis. The company aims to make use of its nationwide electricity network when deploying fiber cables and has indicated the goal is to reach 7.5 million homes in the "early years" of the plan. Enel appears to have already signed an agreement with retail operators Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP)-owned Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA "to define a strategic and commercial partnership" and says it is open to commercial cooperation with any retail player. The news is another troubling development for incumbent Telecom Italia (TIM) , which earlier this year announced plans to spend €3.6 billion ($4 billion) on fiber rollout between now and 2018. (See Telecom Italia Accelerates FTTx, 4G Investments .)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has also officially begun the search for a new CEO following the departure of Marco Patuano, who was unhappy with the growing influence of Vivendi-appointed directors in the company's boardroom. (See Patuano to Quit as Telecom Italia CEO.)

  • Vodafone UK consumer director Cindy Rose is reported to have left her role before a pay-TV service she was hired to develop has even been launched. According to a report from the UK's Telegraph newspaper, her responsibilities will transfer to Glafkos Persianis, the CEO of Vodafone Greece , who will next month take up a London-based role as commercial director, with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) keen to reduce costs.

  • Two employees of Belgium's Proximus received minor injuries in yesterday's terrorist attack on Brussels that claimed the lives of at least 34 people and left scores wounded. In the light of the incident and the ongoing security concerns, the operator has told all its employees in the Brussels area to work from home or remotely today, to postpone any foreign trips and to avoid any large gatherings of people. Light Reading offers its condolences to anyone affected by yesterday's outrage.

  • Smart Dubai, the government department charged with smoothing Dubai's journey to smart city status, has teamed up with Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) to create the Smart Dubai Platform, which it describes as a "central operating system" for the city, providing access to city services and data for all individuals and organizations. "Our vision has consistently been to transform Dubai into the happiest city on Earth," says a government spokesperson. A passing migrant construction worker no doubt flashed him a filthy look.

  • A row is brewing in Turkey over rival operators wanting cheaper access to Türk Telekomunikasyon A.S. 's fiber network, according to Reuters. Turkey, which has a youthful population of around 78 million, is preparing for the launch of 4G, and several operators are wanting to offer converged -- i.e. mobile and fixed-line -- services.

  • Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has revealed that it held preliminary takeover talks with Imagination Technologies Group plc , the UK-based chip design company, Bloomberg reports. "We had some discussions with Imagination, but we do not plan to make an offer for the company at this time," Apple said in a statement.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Gabriel Brown 3/23/2016 | 10:12:44 AM
    Vodafone UK consumer director Cindy Rose Can't really figure out Vodafone UK's strategy (I am a customer). They have some pretty good offers, a good 4G network in London now, but don't seem to be making much, if any, progress in the market.

    I assume they're waiting for the Three/O2 merger to take some competition out of the market. Meanwhile, you have a new MVNO offering 2GB of data, 600 minutes and unlimited texts for £6.99 per month: http://www.uswitch.com/mobiles/news/2016/03/people-s-operator-launches-4g-phone-plan/

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