Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ETNO and GSMA call for more ambition from EU on 5G; Ericsson's credit rating cut; Swisscom stands still in Q1; 4G in the UK.
Internet of Things specialist Actility is splashing some of its newfound wealth on a takeover of a geolocation systems developer called Abeeway. The plan is to combine Abeeway's geolocation capabilities with its own ThingPark software platform, which essentially provides OSS and BSS functionality for low-power, wide-area IoT deployments based on LoRa as well as 3GPP technologies. "We're seeing massive demand for location-aware IoT solutions from industry," said Actility CEO Mike Mulica in a company statement, neatly summing up the rationale for the move. The takeover is the first since Actility raised about $75 million in a funding round last month, although the French company has not indicated the value of the Abeeway deal. Actility previously said it would use its new funding to speed up its expansion, particularly in the US and China, and raised the prospect of acquisitions. (See IoT Specialist Actility Acquires Abeeway and Eurobites: IoT Startup Actility Raises $75M.)
The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) and the GSM Association (GSMA) are venting their frustration at what they perceive as the "lack of ambition" shown by European legislators regarding the reform of spectrum management in the EU, issuing a joint statement calling for them to up their game. The statement makes plain the organizations' fears for the timely rollout of 5G if action is not taken:
Our members are committed to achieving the 5G and gigabit society objectives, but Europe's ambition needs to be mirrored in all the upcoming legislative choices. In particular, legislators should recognize the importance of greater predictability and licensing clarity as tools to incentivise continuous investment in mobile networks, vibrant innovation and competitive mobile markets. This investment is critical if Europe is to be a front-runner in mobile broadband and 5G.
ETNO and GSMA call on the legislators to, among other things, encourage greater consistency among EU member states in their approach to spectrum awards and support easier spectrum trading and leasing proposals.
Ailing Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has had its credit rating cut again by Moody's in the wake of recent disappointing results, Bloomberg reports. In the third cut to the Swedish vendor's rating in less than seven months, Ericsson found its senior unsecured long-term rating slipping from Baa3 to Ba1 and, at the time of writing, the company's share price had gone down about 2.5% on the Stockholm exchange. (See Ericsson's Q1 Even Worse Than Feared and Ekholm's Vision of Slimmer Ericsson Lacks Detail & Dazzle.)
Bundled products that include TV represented one of the few bright spots in Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) 's first quarter, as mobile market saturation and the continuing decline in fixed-line telephony saw revenue slip 1.9% year-on-year, to 2.83 billion Swiss francs (US$2.85 billion), while EBITDA was also down slightly, to CHF1.07 billion ($1.08 billion). The number of Swisscom TV access lines, however, rose 8.7% to 1.43 million. The operator's financial outlook for the rest of the year -- including expected capex of around CHF2.40 billion ($2.42 billion) -- remains unchanged. For a fuller breakdown of the numbers, see this press release.
If you're looking for consistent access to a 4G signal in the UK, the no-nonsense north-eastern city Middlesbrough is the best place to be, and the genteel southern seaside resort of Bournemouth is the worst. Those are just two of the findings of a study carried out by OpenSignal on behalf of Which?, the consumer rights organization, into the state of UK 4G mobile connectivity. Middlesbrough basked in 83% availability of 4G across the city, while Bournemouth floundered with 68%. London, meanwhile, limped in 16th, at 73%. In terms of speed of connection, the so-called Brexit capital of Britain, Stoke-on-Trent, is out in front, with 26.6 Mbit/s, while resolutely un-Brexity Brighton brings up the rear with 17.6 Mbit/s.
The average overall 4G availability across the country is 65%, meaning UK users can access a 4G signal nearly two thirds of the time. The last time the survey was carried out the average rate was 58%, placing it 54th in terms of global ranking, according to OpenSignal.
Switzerland-based Kudelski Group has completed its acquisition of Digital Video Norge (DVnor), a provider of media asset management services. It is envisaged that DVnor will work closely with Conax AS , the Kudelski subsidiary. The value of the deal was not disclosed. (See Kudelski Group Acquires DVnor.)
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is close to settling its tax dispute with the Italian authorities, according to a Reuters report. Google had been accused of evading the payment of taxes worth €227 million ($248 million) between 2009 and 2013.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading