Eurobites: STC hooks up with sovereign wealth fund for IoT push

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom updates on 5G rollout; Proximus brings fiber to West Flanders; Elisa Polystar buys Frinx.

  • Saudi Telecom Group (STC) has joined forces with the kingdom's Public Investment Fund (PIF), a state-owned sovereign wealth fund, to set up a joint venture intended to encourage adoption of the Internet of Things. The new company will be owned 50% PIF and 50% STC and have its headquarters in Riyadh. The hope is that the joint venture will come to be seen as a "technology agnostic" service provider that can create new opportunities in the manufacturing and logistics sectors, among others. In its release, STC cites local market studies which suggest the IoT market could reach 10.8 billion Saudi riyals (US$2.8 billion) by 2025, with an annual growth rate of 12.8%.

  • Deutsche Telekom says it has added around 350 new 5G standalone antenna sites – using the 3.6GHz frequency – in recent weeks, making the technology available in more than 200 urban centers. The operator also uses 2.1GHz spectrum in its 5G frequency mix – at 2.1GHz sites Telekom uses dynamic spectrum sharing, which divides the available frequency spectrum between 4G and 5G users.

  • Belgium's Proximus has promised to provide more than 65,000 homes and businesses in the southern part of West Flanders with a fiber connection by 2024, with a wider aim of reaching at least 80% coverage in the region's towns and cities by 2028.

  • Finland-based Elisa Polystar has acquired Frinx, a Slovakian network automation specialist, to help make its quest for "self-driving" networks a reality. Frinx, which has around 40 networking experts within its ranks, says its products are cloud-native, microservices-based and network vendor-independent. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Microsoft's cloud business is once again attracting the interest of European Commission regulators. According to a Reuters report, the authorities have sent a questionnaire to customers and rivals of the software giant to find out if they feel like they are being allowed to compete effectively. The Commission, adds Reuters, has fined Microsoft €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) over the last ten years for breaching antitrust rules and for failing to comply with its order to halt what the Commission viewed as anti-competitive practices.

  • Lacuna Space, an Anglo-Dutch company headquartered in Harwell, UK, has added another IoT gateway to its satellite-based LoRaWAN network.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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