Eurobites: Eir Turns On 5G, With Ericsson Assist

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Swisscom on the down-slope in Q3; T-Systems forges blockchain link with Malta; Telia bankrolls Finnish fiber rollout.

  • Irish incumbent operator Eir has turned on its 5G network, which will be initially available from 100 sites serving ten towns and cities around the country. Another 100 sites will be come on stream by the end of the year. Ericsson's 5G Core offering lies at the heart of the new network.

  • Group revenue at Swisscom was down 2.7% year-on-year, to 8.45 billion Swiss francs (US$8.56 billion), with its "largely saturated" domestic business doing the overall picture no favors. Swisscom's Italian operation, Fastweb, was a different story however, with year-on-year revenue growth of 4.5%, to €68 million ($75.8 million). On a like-for-like basis, Swisscom group EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) remained flat, at CHF3.36 billion ($3.4 billion).

  • Deutsche Telekom's foray into the frankly baffling world of blockchain technology continues apace, through its IT services arm, T-Systems, with Maltese government agency Malta Enterprises becoming the first official partner for the German Blockchain Ecoystem. In practice this will mean, among other things, the provision of an enterprise blockchain platform as part of the planned Malta Innovation Hub, as well as access to T-Systems' security offerings. Malta, the largest island in the central Mediterranean archipelago, is in the vanguard of blockchain innovation.

  • Telia has signed an agreement with the infrastructure investments arm of Nordic private asset management firm CapMan to help propel its rollout of fiber right across Finland. Under the terms of the agreement, Telia will hold a 40% stake in a new company which will take over Telia Finland's residential fiber rollout business.

  • Enreach, a Denmark-based unified communications specialist, has acquired business-to-business service provider M Mobility A/S. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Dutch incumbent KPN has issued a five-and-a-quarter-year €500 million ($558 million) hybrid bond, to be listed on Euronext Dublin's Global Exchange Market. According to the company, the proceeds of the bond will be used for "general corporate purposes," including the refinancing of existing debt.

  • In the least likely pairing since pocket-sized pop princess Kylie Minogue duetted with corpse-rocker Nick Cave on "Where The Wild Roses Grow," Belgium's Proximus has teamed up with cosmetics firm L'Oréal to reduce their ecological footprint by having their respective products (handsets and hair salon products) distributed throughout the streets of Brussels by minions riding electric bikes rather than driving diesel-belching vans. The goodies are picked up from the Proximus warehouse in Anderlecht before being pedaled to their ultimate destination, be it Proximus's retail outlets or hair salons running low on shampoo and such.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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