Eurobites: Nokia Bags €500M EU Loan for 5G-Focused Research

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Proximus invests in transport network upgrade; Vodacom boasts Africa's first 5G service; KPN tweaks its management team; and CyrusOne buys into Europe.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has secured a €500 million (US$585 million) loan from the European Investment Bank -- the European Union's nonprofit long-term lending institution -- which, it is hoped, the vendor will use to accelerate the development of 5G technology for the greater good of EU citizens. The loan is expected to mature approximately five years after its disbursement, which is scheduled to take place at some point during the next 18 months. (See Nokia Nets €500M for 5G Research and Ericsson vs. Nokia: Who's Ahead in 5G Right Now?.)

  • Belgian national operator Proximus is boosting the capacity of its transport network tenfold in an investment program it's calling TITAN (Terabit IP Transport Aggregation Network). The program will involve the replacement of almost 800 major transmission hubs and the deployment of 50,000 new 10G fiber connections to about 600 sites (buildings, towers, street cabinets) during the next three years. The new hubs will be kitted out with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s next-generation 7750 SR14S routers -- equipped with multi-terabit processors, according to Proximus – that will be interconnected with 100G links. (See Nokia routers take a step toward 'petabit' age.)

  • Mobile operator Vodacom Pty. Ltd. , part of the Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) empire, says it has launched Africa's first commercial 5G service. Don't get too excited though... we're talking about fixed wireless broadband connections using 3.5GHz spectrum to two enterprise users in the small landlocked country of Lesotho. (See Vodacom Boasts Africa's First 5G Service.)

  • Frank van der Post is to step down as chief commercial officer of Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) next month following a management structure tweak that sees the CCO role being split into two new oddly named (aren't they all?) roles, "chief consumer market" and "chief business market." Jean-Pascal Van Overbeke, currently at French operator SFR, will take the chief consumer market role, while CEO Maximo Ibarra will take care of the business bit on a temporary basis until a permanent bod is found.

  • Real estate investment trust (REIT) CyrusOne has extended its global data center footprint into Europe's two largest markets, London and Frankfurt, with the $442 million acquisition of Zenium Data Centers. CyrusOne says the acquisition, which is now completed, is "the critical first step" of its European expansion strategy. "By the end of 2019, we expect our European platform to provide nearly 250 megawatts of potential data center inventory, inclusive of both the Zenium platform together with our organic site development efforts, spread across four major markets, giving us one of the largest platforms in Europe," said Jonathan Schildkraut, executive VP and the company's chief strategy officer. (See CyrusOne Completes Zenium Acquisition.)

  • One of Africa's largest network operators, Ethio Telecom, has selected operations and business support systems from Argela Technologies. The operator, which has about 65 million mobile customers, is to deploy the Turkish vendor's Network Performance Monitoring and Customer Experience Management system to detect service degradation issues and prioritize upgrades based on business and customer impact. (See Ethio Telecom Deploys Argela's OSS, BSS.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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