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IoT Strategies

Eurobites: Vodafone to Debut NB-IoT in 2017

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: top Ericsson shareholder wants to see some CEO action; Laird issues profit warning; Lufthansa bans Note 7; Telia launches VoLTE services in Norway.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is launching what it claims are the world's first live commercial NB-IoT networks in the first three months of 2017, in Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. The operator says that the rollout of the technology, one of the low-power, wide-area (LPWA) platforms jostling for position in the Internet of Things, will involve just a "simple software upgrade" to its existing 4G basestations. Rollouts in other markets will follow during the rest of 2017. (See So, What Are We Calling Narrowband-IoT Today? and The NB-IoT Train Is Coming.)

  • The largest shareholder in Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Investor AB, has joined the chorus of calls for the vendor to get a move on in finding a new CEO, Bloomberg reports. Former CEO Hans Vestberg got the push in July following a series of poor financial results, and Jan Frykhammar has been holding the fort ever since -- though he doesn't want the job on a permanent basis. Last week Ericsson issued a profit warning that caused shares in the vendor to plummet 17.5% in Wednesday morning trading. (See Beginning of the End for Ericsson?, Ericsson Profit Warning Sends Shares Tumbling and Ericsson Ejects CEO Vestberg.)

  • Laird , a UK-based company that supplies smartphone components to Samsung Corp. and others, has issued a profit warning that has nearly halved the value of its shares, Reuters reports. According to the company, production growth for mobile devices was falling behind previous cycles.

  • And in a not entirely unrelated announcement, Reuters reports that German airline Lufthansa has banned the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone from all its flights. Previously it had only banned the occasionally self-combusting smartphone from its flights to and from the US. (See US Issues Total Flight Ban on Samsung Note 7.)

  • Telia is starting to roll out voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services in Norway. Initially, only selected models from Sony, Samsung and Apple will be compatible with the service.

  • Nordic operator Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has appointed Petter-B. Furberg as the CEO of its Bangladeshi subsidiary, Grameenphone , replacing Rajeev Sethi, who is leaving the company. Furberg, who is currently senior vice president of Telenor Digital Business in Bangkok, takes up his new role on November 1.

  • UK cable company Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is to expand its fiber network to 20,000 homes and businesses in the historic city of York. Residential connections will offer up to 200 Mbit/s, while businesses and homeworkers will be able to subscribe to a 300Mbit/s connection. The expansion forms part of Virgin's £3 billion (US$3.6 billion) Project Lightning program, which aims to have 17 million premises connected to its high-speed fiber network by the end of 2019. (See Virgin Media Plots £3B Invasion of BT Turf.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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