Eurobites: Nokia & Orange Firm Up 5G Collaboration

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange free to sell BT stake; SAP slaps Trump over travel restrictions; game on for TV sports rights.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) are to work more closely together on the development of 5G-related technologies, setting up joint innovation centers at the Nokia Paris Saclay premises on the outskirts of the French capital and at the Nokia campus in Lannion, western France. Areas of focus will include ultra-broadband, Cloud RAN/massive MIMO, the Internet of Things, network slicing techniques and energy efficiency. (See Orange, Nokia Collaborate on 5G R&D.)

  • Separately, the Daily Telegraph reports that Orange has been released from a "lock-up" arrangement that prevented it from selling its 4% stake in BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA). With BT's share price having slumped dramatically since last week's revelations about accounting sleight-of-hand at its Italian subsidiary, the newspaper reckons that analysts' fears of Orange "cutting and running" by selling its stake could be a drag on any recovery in BT's share price. (See BT's Patterson Feels Italian Heat and Dodgy Italian Job Savages BT Earnings, Share Price Tanks.)

  • German software giant SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP) has joined the growing tech-company chorus of disapproval over President Trump's imposition of travel restrictions on those from selected Muslim-majority countries. As Reuters reports, SAP Chief Executive Bill McDermott expressed the hope that "America will find its way back to its original identity."

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic is moving beyond its traditional multi-dwelling-unit (MDU) comfort zone with its latest project: a housing development in Welwyn Garden City comprising both houses and apartments. Residents of the 163 properties making up the development will be able to enjoy fiber-based symmetrical gigabit speeds. Last year Hyperoptic scored a £21 million (US$27.5 million) loan from the European Investment Bank to help fund the rollout of gigabit broadband to more than half a million homes in the UK. (See Eurobites: Hyperoptic Bags £21M EIB Loan for UK Gigabit Rollout.)

  • As broadcasters limber up for UEFA's forthcoming auction of Champions League soccer rights, the chief executive of BT's consumer division has indicated that BT intends to hang onto its exclusive UK rights to screen Champions League matches, The Guardian reports. John Petter told analysts that BT's "strong preference is to keep the Champions League," despite their eye-popping cost. The UK incumbent paid almost €1.08 billion ($1.44 billion) for the exclusive, three-year rights back in 2015. (See Confirmed: BT's Got Euroballs.)

  • And in other sports content argy-bargy, Sky is saying that Discovery Channel is demanding close to £1 billion ($1.25 billion) to cover the cost of carriage of its range of channels, the most significant of which is probably Eurosport. Broadband TV News reports that a Sky spokesperson said: "We were prepared to pay a fair price for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for our customers. We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a $12 billion American business, but that wasn't enough."

  • Intelsat Ltd. 's 33e satellite has entered service, extending Intelsat's HTS (high-throughput satellite) services in the C-, Ku- and Ka-bands to Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific, Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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