Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone trials "4.5G"; ARM Q2 revenues up; 5G time in Greenwich; the connected bikini.
Telecom Italia (TIM) and Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) are planning to set up an FTTH joint venture that they hope will accelerate the rollout of high-speed broadband in 29 Italian towns and cities. The proposed new company's business plan envisages the connection of around 3 million homes by 2020, offering Gigabit broadband speeds. The total investment in the project will be €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion): 80% of the capital will be held by the Italian incumbent, with Fastweb holding the remainder. The announcement was made as part of Telecom Italia's second-quarter earnings statement, which revealed that first-half revenues were down 4.9% year-on-year to €9.09 billion ($10 billion), though EBITDA rose by 2.4% to €3.72 billion ($4.09 billion).
ARM Ltd. , the UK-based chip designer that is soon to be snaffled up by Japan'sSoftBank Corp. in a $32 billion deal, has posted a 17% year-on-year rise in second-quarter revenues to £267.6 million ($351 million), and a 1% rise in pre-tax profits to £95.9 million ($125.7 million). During the quarter ARM signed 25 licensing agreements, including five for its Cortex-A technology. (See SoftBank Muscles In on ARM in $32B Deal.)
Net second-quarter profits at Russian's MegaFon slumped 44.4% year-on-year to 7.23 billion Russian rubles ($109 million), despite revenues rising 3.4% to RUB78.72 billion ($1.19 billion). Increased competition meant that the operator had to put a squeeze on its margins for mobile services.
London's historic borough of Greenwich is looking towards a "smart city" future by forming a partnership with the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre (5GIC). As part of the deal, Greenwich will host an incubator space where innovators and entrepreneurs can do their 5G thing. (See 5G Innovation Centre, Digital Greenwich Team on Smart City Tech.)
Mitel, the enterprise communications service provider, has teamed up with Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) in an attempt to simplify the management of business collaboration tools for companies using O2 mobile services.
Here at Eurobites Towers we have seen the future, and it belongs to Internet-connected swimwear. Possibly. Vodafone has developed a range of what it describes as "proof-of-concept holiday essentials," and that range does indeed include a bikini and men's swimming shorts that are equipped with UV sensors that can tell folk, via their smartphones, if they've been in the sun too long. [Surely, this is what blisters on the back of your legs are for? -- Ed.] Arguably more useful are concepts for a connected child's sunhat, which alerts parents/carers that their charge has wandered off beyond a safe distance, and connected luggage that is less likely to go missing forever. For a flavor of what Vodafone has in mind, and to see a beach where flabby, pallid people are clearly banned, see the video below.