Eurobites: Metroweb Spurns Telecom Italia Advances

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: 3 adds VoLTE; Telefónica gets all-clear on Canal+ buy; Virgin Media makes its workers stand up for six months!

  • Italian broadband provider Metroweb SpA has rejected a proposal from Telecom Italia (TIM) to take a stake in the company as a first step to full ownership, reports Reuters. Metroweb is state-owned and could play an important part in a planned €12 billion (US$13 billion) fiber rollout in Italy, so its fate matters. It is thought that the rejection of Telecom Italia could pave the way for Vodafone to make a move on Metroweb.

  • UK operator Three UK , which is in the process of buying Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) to create the country's largest mobile player, has announced network upgrades, adding low-frequency spectrum and introducing voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) in the fall. The operator envisages 1 million of its customers using VoLTE this year, with that number soaring to 7.5 million in 2016. (See Telefónica Seals $15.2B O2 Sale to Hutchison and 3 UK to Launch VoLTE by September.)

  • Dixons Carphone, the mobile phone retailer which struck a UK MVNO deal with 3 earlier this year, is pulling out of the Netherlands, selling The Phone House Netherlands to Dutch retailer Optie1, reports the Daily Telegraph. Earlier this month Dixons Carphone sold its German operation, The Phone House Deutschland, to Drillisch.

  • Telefónica has been given the green light from the Spanish antitrust authority for its proposed acquisition of pay-TV firm Canal+, reports Reuters. Strings are attached to the deal, however, including the requirement for Telefonica to offer wholesale TV packages to its rivals.

  • 3D's not dead! At least, that's what UK pay-TV operator Sky is hoping, as from June it plans to offer its Sky 3D channel fully on-demand.

  • And finally… The team at Eurobites Towers begins each morning with a light tai chi workout in the (beautifully manicured) grounds and, once the work gong sounds, adheres to a strict regime of screen breaks, stretching exercises and fruit teas throughout the day. Some sedentary workers, however, don't take such good care of themselves. UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is doing its bit to highlight the issue with an experiment at its Sheffield contact center, which will take a group of Virgin workers and give them adjustable sit-stand desks, with the aim of getting to stay on their feet for a minimum of two hours each day for six months. Hoped-for health and productivity benefits will then be assessed. And then they'll sit back down and send out for pizza.

    A member of Team Eurobites takes a well-earned screen break.
    A member of Team Eurobites takes a well-earned screen break.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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