Eurobites: TalkTalk Forms JV for £1.5B Fiber Foray

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: state investment firm sells off shares in Telia; TDC rejects takeover bid; Ericsson's on the 5G radio.

  • Shares in UK broadband provider TalkTalk dipped 16% in the immediate wake of its third-quarter trading update, in which the company cut its dividend, warned that profits would be lower than previously indicated and announced plans to form a joint venture with Infracapital to fund an ambitious foray into full fiber. As the Daily Telegraph reports, the proposed joint venture will invest up to £1.5 billion (US$2 billion) in providing fiber connections to more than 3 million homes and businesses in mid-sized towns and cities in the UK. The plan builds on what TalkTalk says was a successful full-fiber trial in York, which saw the deployment of a network that currently reaches 14,000 homes and is being extended to reach 40,000 homes and businesses. Interestingly, those trials were carried out with a fiber operator called CityFibre, which is now pursuing a fiber-to-the-home project with Vodafone. As for the Q3 figures: Headline group revenue in the third quarter increased 1.3% to £388 million ($538 million), while the customer churn rate was down from 1.6% during the year-earlier period to 1.3% this time round.

  • Solidium, the Finnish state's investment firm, is to sell off all of its shares in Telia , YLE reports. At current market prices, Solidium's 3.2% stake in the company is worth €525 million ($642 million). Solidium holds minority stakes in a range of Finnish companies, including telco Elisa and Outokumpu, a steel firm.

  • Denmark's TDC Group has rejected an unsolicited takeover bid from a consortium comprising Australia's Macquarie and three Danish pension funds. Details of the offer have not been made public, but, as Reuters reports, it was dismissed by the TDC board as being "not in the best interest of TDC's shareholders and stakeholders."

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is keeping up the 5G fanfare with a couple of new announcements. Firstly, it says that all radio products within the Ericsson Radio System supplied to customers since 2015 will be able to support the 3GPP 5G New Radio (NR) standard through a remote software installation. Second, it is declaring that its 5G Platform for operators is now "complete," following the launch of 5G radio access network (RAN) commercial software based on the NR standard and a new category of radio products for city deployment it is calling Street Macro.

  • The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has released a "cautionary statement" on the EU's proposed Cybersecurity Act, urging the clarification of standards for certification, modification of the new legislative framework, the following of a "risk management approach," more guidance on how the proposed sytem will interact with existing certification schemes, and more detail on processes and governance relating to the Act. Apart from all that, they bloody love it.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has formed a joint venture with optics company Zeiss to pursue the potential of "smart glasses." The new 50:50 venture, called Tooz Technologies, will have headquarters in the US and the German city of Aalen. One of the applications being investigated is smartphone-free access to social media. Crazy times.

    There are smart glasses... and then there are stupid glasses.
    There are smart glasses... and then there are stupid glasses.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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