Eurobites: BT Draws Virgin Into Openreach Lobby

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia-as-a-service; Dunne warns UK on 5G failings; Telia and friends seek virtualization virtuosi.

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has lined up alongside BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) to defend Openreach , the UK incumbent's network access division, the Daily Telegraph reports, in the face of calls for the division to be fully separated from BT. The unlikely bedfellows have launched a joint advertising campaign, taking out full-page ads in national newspapers defending the status quo. BT rivals Sky , TalkTalk and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) have all been pressing hard for Openreach to be split off as they rely on wholesale access to BT's network to run their services, whereas Virgin has its own extensive network. In July, UK regulator Ofcom announced that it did not plan to insist on structural separation of BT and Openreach but instead impose tougher conditions on the operator, mandating that Openreach would henceforth have its own CEO, among other measures. (See BT, Ofcom & the Battle of Britain.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has launched what it is calling an "everything-as-a-service" portfolio, XaaS, a framework that will see the vendor hosting a range of technologies that it will deliver "as a service" on a multi-tenancy basis using the AVA platform. Service-as-a-service? You heard it here first.

  • Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2)'s outgoing boss, Ronan Dunne, has fired a couple of parting shots at the UK telecom industry as he heads for Verizon Wireless in the US, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). He told the newspaper that the country risks being left behind in the race to 5G unless it rethinks the way ultra-fast broadband is rolled out. "In the longer term, we will forget this stupid debate about rolling out fibre cables," Dunne said, adding: "The UK taxpayers have to pay BT for digging holes in the ground which doesn't make a lot of sense in this day and age."

  • Telia has joined forces with Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) and Proximus to put out a call to the international startup community for innovative ideas in the SDN/NFV sphere. The closing date for applications is October 23, and full details can be found here.

  • Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's feisty competition commissioner who has Apple in her sights for allegedly under-paying tax in Ireland, has tweeted that she may soon extend her pursuit of apparent tax irregularities to many more US companies. As Bloomberg reports, Vestager was responding to a tweet about the Business Roundtable, a US trade lobby that sent a letter to the EU's 28 member states blustering that the claim for Apple back taxes "must not be allowed to stand."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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