Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sigfox raises $115 million; rail connectivity boost in France; ARM profits up.
UK mobile operator EE , which is in the process of being acquired by BT for ₤12.5 billion (US$19.1 billion), has committed to investing ₤1.5 billion ($2.3 billion) in its network over the next three years in a bid, it says, to improve rural coverage. EE aims to extend 4G coverage to reach 99% of the UK population and 90% of the UK by geography by 2017. Apart from anything else, this is probably a good public relations move on the part of EE, as its acquisition by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) will soon be coming under the microscope of the competition authorities. (See Has EE Solved the Rural Connectivity Challenge?, BT Locks Down £12.5B EE Takeover Deal and Eurobites: EE Hits 7.7M on 4G.)
France's Sigfox, which is aiming to build a global network dedicated to the Internet of Things, has secured $115 million in funding from investors in Europe, the US and Asia. Sigfox has already established its network in France, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands, and it now wants to extend the rollout to pastures new. (See Sigfox Closes $115 Million Funding Round and Sigfox Plans Global IoT Network.)
SNCF, the French railway company synonymous with fast, efficient travel, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Arcep , France's telecom regulator, with a view to improving mobile coverage on its network.
ARM Ltd. , the UK-based chip designer, has seen pre-tax profits rise 25% year-on-year in its fourth quarter, to ₤118.9 million ($181.9 million), on revenues up 19%, to ₤225.9 million ($345.5 million). ARM says it signed a record number of licensing deals in the quarter, and it calls the outlook for future royalty revenues "encouraging." Over the full year, ARM made ₤411.3 million ($629 million) in profit, an increase of 13% on 2013. (See Eurobites: ARM Buys IoT Security Specialist.)
Orange Polska has teamed up with energy company Polenergia to sell electricity under the Orange Energia brand name in Poland, reports Reuters.
Serbian operator Telekom Srbija a.d. has turned to Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) for help in upgrading its business support systems. Ericsson will be implementing its Charging and Billing in One software to help with the billing of the operator's residential and corporate users.
Russia's Yota , which makes dual-screen mobile phones, has struck a deal with Potevio, a major Chinese distributor, reports Reuters. Yota's phones incorporate an "e-ink" second screen which is supposed to help prolong battery life.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading