Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TeliaSonera exits Nepal; Colt appoints new CTO; Vodafone trials narrowband for IoT; BT offers Netflix in Ultra HD.
As Christmas approaches, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) have channeled John and Yoko to declare that, as far as patents litigation is concerned, war is over. The seven-year agreement will see Apple making an initial, unspecified payment to Ericsson and ongoing royalties thereafter. The agreement, which draws a line under investigations in the US, the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, also includes a "cross license" that covers patents relating to both companies' so-called standard-essential patents. (See Ericsson, Apple Settle Patent Dispute, Ericsson Takes Legal Action Against Apple and Eurobites: Ericsson Bites Apple Over Patents.)
Sweden's Telia Company is continuing its withdrawal from Eurasian markets by agreeing to sell its 60.4% stake in Nepalese operator Ncell to Axiata, for $1.03 billion. TeliaSonera announced in September that it was quitting seven Eurasian markets, citing problems finding suitable partners and repatriating cash. Allegations of corruption have also dogged some of TeliaSonera's ventures in the region. (See TeliaSonera Sells Ncell Stake to Axiata and TeliaSonera to Quit Eurasia, Focus on Europe.)
Colt Technology Services Group Ltd is hoping to accelerate network strategy development with the appointment of Rajiv Datta as chief technology officer, effective January 1. Most recently Datta was chief operating officer at AboveNet Inc. (NYSE: ABVT).
The UK's Laird is to buy Novero, a Germany-based vehicle connectivity specialist, for €65 million ($70.6 million). Novero, which employs around 250 people, designs and manufactures telematics control units and wireless charging modules, among other things. (See Laird to Buy Novero for €65M.)
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has hooked up with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and U-blox in Spain to run what they claim is the first successful commercial trial of pre-standard NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things). NB-IoT's backers believe the technology will extend the scope of the IoT by making it more efficient to connect objects requiring a long battery life.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is claiming a UK TV service first with its offer of Netflix in Ultra HD, which will be available to BT TV customers for £8.99 ($13.40) a month. BT launched Ultra HD services in July, on its sports channel, in a move that formed part of its ongoing strategy to lure sports fans away from its TV rival Sky . (See BT Unveils UHD TV Prices in Challenge to Sky.)
On a similar tack, Vodafone Germany is rolling out an Ultra HD set-top box in Germany, reports Broadband TV News. The box was jointly developed with Sagem Télécommunications SA and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO).
The UK government has said that it plans to bring free WiFi to all National Health Service hospitals, reports the BBC. Currently, some hospitals charge for WiFi while others offer no access at all. No deadline has been set for the rollout.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading