Eurobites: Telecom Italia Gets Serious About Fixed Network Spin-Off

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Apple blocks the MiPad; BT pushes 360-degree sports action; Ericsson demos LAA with T-Mobile; Andromeda mastermind collared.

  • The board of Telecom Italia (TIM) has made a commitment to investigate the possible separation of its fixed-line network in order to realize more value from its assets. In a statement that followed a meeting yesterday to discuss the 2018-2020 business plan and approve the 2018 preliminary budget, the company said: "[The CEO's] overview included, among other topics, the different fixed network separation models, comparing them with other international cases. Over the coming months, the management will continue to examine various hypothesis [sic] to establish whether network separation is needed to address Institutions input and to unlock value." The issue of a potential fixed network split has moved center-stage since French media conglomerate Vivendi gained effective control of the Italian incumbent. (See Telecom Italia Drama: What Is Vivendi Up To?)

  • Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has scored a victory in the European courts over Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, which had wanted to register its "Mi Pad" tablet as an EU trademark. As Reuters reports, the name was deemed to be too similar to another, slightly better known tablet that Apple has been successfully selling in the region for years. Xiaomi can appeal the ruling at the EU Court of Justice, should it decide it's worth the lawyers' fees.

  • UK incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is offering 360-degree highlights and instant replays of sporting events on its BT Sport app, with the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League soccer championships among those getting the treatment. According to BT, the 360-degree video footage can be enjoyed with or without a virtual reality headset. Well, BT has paid big bucks for that soccer action, so it can hardly be blamed for wanting to milk it for all its worth. (See BT's Bogeyman: A Soccer-Mad Amazon.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has been testing Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) technology with T-Mobile US Inc. , and claims to have achieved speeds in excess of 1 Gbit/s in a demo, using test equipment from Cobham Wireless . Licensed Assisted Access is a variant of LTE that enables LTE networks to make use of unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band to increase network capacity.

  • Police in Belarus, working in tandem with their counterparts in the US and Germany, have arrested one of eastern Europe's most prolific cybercriminals, Reuters reports. Sergei Yarets, a 33-year-old man living near the city of Gomel, is described by police as the administrator of the malicious Andromeda network, which uses a group of botnets to remotely control computers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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