Also in today's regional roundup: Nokia's stock slumps; Telenet snaps up 'BeLux' cable assets; FTTH hits Africa; and the UK government manipulates broadband investment numbers.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has teamed up with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and module developer Telit to build a fully integrated NB-IoT system at the operator's 'Open Lab' in Dusseldorf, Germany, and is making that system available to developers wanting to test IoT devices and applications. The set-up includes Nokia's Flexi Multiradio 10 base stations and Cloud Packet Core; an Intel XMM7115 NB-IoT chipset integrated with a Telit NE910 module; and a Shitek Technology UGM-01 G4 Ultrasonic Gas meter that had the Telit module embedded. The Nokia elements connected with a meter to transmit data on gas flow over a 4G Vodafone test network, "demonstrating how NB-IoT technology can be used to manage an integrated network comprised of components from multiple vendors," the partners noted. Now that it is included in 3GPP's Release 13 standard, NB-IoT is set to feature strongly in the commercial deployment plans of multiple operators in 2017 and beyond, including Vodafone, which has been the most vocal operator supporter of this particular approach to IoT connectivity. (See Nokia, Vodafone and Telit Collaborate on NB-IoT, Vodafone Ireland to Launch NB-IoT in Jan 2017, Eurobites: Vodafone to Debut NB-IoT in 2017 and The NB-IoT Train Is Coming.)
Nokia is also in the news today, of course, for its decision to sue Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL). That always guarantees a few hundred headlines. And, of course, an investor reaction – Nokia's stock is trading down more than 5% Thursday morning on the Helsinki exchange. (See Nokia Sues Apple Over 32 Patents.)
Belgium's largest cable operator, Telenet , is acquiring SFR BeLux for €400 million ($418 million) from Altice . The move will add cable assets and subscribers -- SFR BeLux has 90,000 cable customers in Belgium and 15,000 in Luxembourg -- plus a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) business in Belgium that runs on the BASE network that is now part of Telenet, which in turn is majority owned by cable giant Liberty Global. Altice, meanwhile, is focused on its core markets of France and the US. (See EU to Bless Liberty Deal for KPN Belgian Biz – Report, Telenet to Invest €500M in Gigabit Network, Altice Considers IPO for Its US Operations and Altice Spins Out Technical Workforce in US.)
The fiber ultra-broadband market has been heating up of late and not just in Europe – FTTH fever has also hit Africa, according to a new report from Light Reading partner Xalam Analytics . (See Africa’s FTTH Boom is Here: Report.)
The UK's rural broadband sector will allegedly get a £440 million ($543 million) boost thanks to subsidy 'clawback' funds – clawed back from BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) -- and cost efficiencies, according to the UK government's Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). However, that number comes with a special Light Reading 'Warning – this number may be misleading' badge pinned to its chest as this is just the reallocation of funds that had already been earmarked for rural broadband rollouts. According to an official DCMS announcement, fuelled no doubt by copious amounts of eggnog, 600,000 extra UK homes and businesses in "hard-to-reach" places will get broadband connections of at least 24 Mbit/s. By the time they get connected, the lucky recipients will be able to log onto Internet news sites to read about how everyone else is enjoying a Gigabit service (and probably at a lower monthly fee). See this announcement for details written in civil service speak.
TELE Greenland A/S has contracted Huawei Marine Networks Co. Ltd. to deploy a 100G network along the Greenlandic west coast and provide a capacity upgrade to the existing Greenland Connect subsea link, which connects Greenland with Iceland/Europe and North America. The new build, when completed, is expected to be the world's most northern 100G submarine network.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading