Eurobites: Vodafone Vies for Drone Dollars

Also in today's regional roundup: ZTE in line for €1 billion-plus Italian job?; TIM decides to produce its own premium content for broadband customers; Europe's cable market grows 5.7%; and Zain KSA teams with Nokia to tackle malware.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) believes it can build a new business around drone traffic management and has already met with European aviation authorities about how it could adapt its networks to deliver such a service, according to this report in the Financial Times (subscription required). Vodafone has pitched a solution following the publication of suggested drone traffic regulations by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is already working with Dutch authorities on a drone management system, based on its connected car solution, to be trialed at Twente Airport, notes the FT. There are increasing concerns that drones will interfere with commercial aircraft and cause a major accident: Pilots in the UK have reported a number of recent near misses. (See Nokia Helps Test Drones for Smart Cities.)

  • ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) looks likely to pick up a €1 billion-plus (US$1.04 billion) mobile network upgrade contract in Italy from the joint venture operator being created by Wind and 3 Italia, according to a Reuters report. If that happens, questions will be asked of the Italian teams at Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia. (See Eurobites: Italy Blesses €20B Wind/3 Italia Merger.)

  • Still in Italy, TIM -- a.k.a. the operator formerly known as Telecom Italia (TIM) -- has decided that, to make its fiber-based broadband services offering more attractive to potential and existing customers, it will start producing its own "premium content." As part of its plan, the national operator plans to spin off its TIMvision video content unit and have that new company deliver a "video offer enriched with original premium content produced and co-produced both nationally and internationally." The operator's board believes TIMvision can be "the tool to provide TIM with exclusive content in ultra-broadband that will support the uptake of fibre consumption by enlarging the offering of IPTV products and services." That strategy is either bold or crazy, depending on how much eggnog you've had.

  • Europe's cable services market is growing despite fierce competition from telcos and OTT players, according to a new report from IHS Markit and trade association Cable Europe. The report, which covers the full year 2015, shows that total cable operator revenues grew by 5.7% to €22.4 billion ($23.4 billion) from €21.2 billion ($22.1 billion) in 2014.

  • Zain KSA (Zain Saudi Arabia) is protecting its mobile subscribers from malware attacks with the Nokia NetGuard Endpoint security solution, becoming the first operator in Saudi Arabia to deploy an anti-malware solution. The operator used the solution to protect its users during this year's Hajj and Umra pilgrimages. (See Zain KSA Secures Itself With Nokia NetGuard.)

    — Ray Le Maistre, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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