Eurobites: Only 5G Can Save Us Now, Says Telecom Italia CEO

  • The CEO of Telecom Italia (TIM) says that there has been a "market failure" in European telecom but that the imminent launch of 5G services offers some hope of salvation for the sector. In an interview with the Financial Times (subscription required), Amos Genish pulls no punches, saying: "The telcos are running out of steam financially and shareholders are voting with their feet. We cannot ignore this market failure," adding that his company needs 5G to "move from a bleeding sector to a winning sector."

    TIM has been going through a torrid time in recent months, with its share price plummeting to a five-year low following boardroom power struggles involving activist investor Elliott and Vivendi , the French media conglomerate that maintains a 24% stake in TIM. (See Telecom Italia Molders as Shareholders Feud and Telecom Italia Names Genish CEO After Boardroom Battle.)

  • We're going to be ruled by robots, but at least they'll be nice robots. That, at least, is the hope of Spain's Telefónica , which has set out a series of principles and ethical guidelines relating to the use of artificial intelligence. They cover areas such as fairness (i.e. giving fair results, regardless of race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any other personal condition); transparency (users should know that they are interacting with an AI system); being people-centered (AI must be at the service of society and not the other way around); privacy (keeping data personal and, where appropriate, anonymous); and validating the systems and data used by third-party providers.

  • UK-based Colt Technology Services Group Ltd is offering new cloud connectivity services to Oracle Cloud through Oracle Cloud Infrastructure FastConnect. According to Colt, this will allow organizations to establish public cloud connectivity from their data center, office or colocation environment in a safe and reliable manner.

    Home in on the opportunities and challenges facing European cable operators. Join Light Reading for the Cable Next-Gen Europe event in London on November 6. And it's free for everyone!

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s head of security has unexpectedly left the UK incumbent after 16 years to take up a new role with another, unnamed company, the Financial Times reports. According to the FT, Mark Hughes has run BT's entire security operation since 2013. Things have become a little unsettled at BT since the appointment of Philip Jansen last week as the replacement for former CEO Gavin Patterson. (See Why BT's Security Chief Is Attacking His Own Network and Eurobites: Worldpay's Jansen Lands BT Top Job.)

  • Finnish operator Elisa Corp. is teaming up with the University of Helsinki's MegaSense research program to develop 5G-powered air-quality monitoring in large cities. The folk at MegaSense plan to cover dense urban areas with a network of air-quality sensors capable of detecting pollutants, and once Elisa's 5G network has been expanded to cover the MegaSense test area it will be used for transmission of test data.

  • When it comes to "mobile money," it seems Brits still need to get with the program. A survey by IDEX Biometrics has revealed that mobile payments -- or payments by smartphone -- are almost as unpopular as checks, with only 3% of those asked using them most often, compared to 75% whose preferred payment method is a bank card. A trust problem clearly persists, with 60% saying that they would be worried people would have access to their accounts if they lost their phones.

  • Online bruisers such as Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Facebook will be forced to pay a new digital services tax based on sales in the UK under new legislation announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in yesterday's Budget. As the BBC reports, this would replace the current profits-based arrangement, which allows companies to organize themselves in such a way that the amount of tax they pay in countries where they have a massive presence -- such as the UK -- is laughably small. Hammond proposes that the new tax would be set at a rate of 2% of sales in the UK, which he calculates would yield tax receipts of £400 million (US$510 million) in 2021-22. Which might cover the cost of half a new hospital.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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