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Eurobites: German Giants Pledge to Extend 4G Coverage

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Proximus looks to boost IoT credentials with Codit acquisition; Telit sells automotive unit; Finland starts 5G spectrum auction.

  • Germany's big three mobile operators have made a commitment to extend 4G coverage to 99% of households in the country by the end of 2020, according to a Reuters report. In return, the German government has promised to make the terms of next year's 5G auctions more operator-friendly, with operators only having to pay for the new spectrum once it has actually been allocated. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Vodafone Germany and Telefónica Deutschland GmbH have, in the past, claimed that the cost of filling in the coverage gaps is prohibitive, and called on the German government to help out more.

  • Belgian operator Proximus has acquired Codit, an IT services company also based in Belgium, in a move that is partly intended to bolster its credentials in the Internet of Things market. Codit, described by Proximus as "one of Microsoft's most important European partners for integration and cloud solutions," employs more than 160 people across seven countries. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Telit Communications, the UK-based IoT specialist, has agreed to sell its automotive division to TUS International, an Asia-focused purveyor of camera-based advanced driver-assistance systems, for $105 million. Telit's automotive division generated approximately $63.2 million in revenue in 2017.

  • The Finnish government has fired the starting pistol on its auction of 5G spectrum, specifically the 3.4-3.8GHz bands. According to the Helsinki Times, the spectrum can be used for wireless broadband in mainland Finland from January 2019.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has lost the UK broadcast rights to Italy's Serie A soccer. As Proactive Investors reports, Eleven Sports, which is led by former former BT TV boss Marc Watson, has already taken the rights to Spain's La Liga soccer off Sky Sports. It now plans to launch two new channels in the UK and Ireland.

  • French satellite operator Eutelsat Communications S.A. is collaborating with Intelsat Ltd. and SES S.A. (Paris: SESG) on a proposal that the partners claim will free up C-band spectrum in the US that could be sold on to mobile operators for 5G. However, as Reuters reports, some analysts question whether the companies involved would be allowed to auction off the spectrum that they free up.

  • Israel's EL AL airline has switched on its new in-flight WiFi service, powered by satellite firm ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT). The service made its debut this week, when many of the passengers aboard the Tel Aviv to Paris flight took the opportunity to watch the World Cup soccer semi-finals, in which France edged out Belgium and Croatia destroyed the dreams of the English.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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