Eurobites: Saudis Oil Wheels of Nokia's 5G Machine

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson secures $200 million investment in iconectiv subsidiary; BICS offers backhaul with Retelit; PoP life in Istanbul; Facebook caught out in Italy.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is going full throttle on 5G in Saudi Arabia, announcing joint development programs with both Zain Group and Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) . With Zain, the focus will be on how 5G will fit into the operator's "smart city" plan, while with STC the Internet of Things takes center stage. Nokia's proprietary AirScale radio technology and AirFrame data center platform will play a key part in both programs. (See Eurobites: Zain Trials 'Advanced' 4.5G Tech.)

  • Closer to home, Nokia has completed a proof-of-concept trial with Denmark's Napatech of software compression in a virtualized environment, using Napatech's NFV NIC. The trial set out to prove the performance benefit gained on the Nokia AirFrame platform in connection with software compression and, according to Napatech, compression times were 30 times faster than in the same process carried out without the NFV NIC.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has secured an investment of $200 million in its iconectiv subsidiary from Francisco Partners, a move which gives Francisco Partners a 16.7% stake in the company. iconectiv, built on assets that came with Ericsson's 2012 acquisition of Telcordia, is a leading player in the provision of numbering solutions and was recently appointed by the FCC to serve as the Local Number Portability Administrator in the US.

  • Retelit, an Italian provider of infrastructure and data services, has joined forces with BICS to offer a new backhaul product that provides a connectivity bridge from Europe to Singapore and Hong Kong via Bari in Italy through the AAE-1 subsea cable system.

  • KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) off-shoot iBasis Inc. (Nasdaq: IBAS) has collaborated with Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) to open an IPX point of presence (PoP) in Istanbul. The PoP expands the reach of the iBasis IPX network, offering Eurasian and Middle Eastern mobile operators a single point of contact for global IPX reach.

  • Facebook has had to suspend its location-sharing feature in Italy after a court ruled that it had effectively copied the feature from an app created by a local startup. As Reuters reports, Italian software developer Business Competence filed a lawsuit over the issue in 2013, alleged that Facebook's Nearby feature was a badly disguised reworking of its own Faround app, which helps Facebook users locate Facebook friends in close physical proximity.

  • The wearables market is proving a bit of a struggle for many of those making a stab at it, and a new ruling by a tax tribunal in London won't help matters. As the Daily Telegraph reports, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) could be forced to pay millions of pounds in additional import taxes in the UK after losing a legal case centering on whether or not the straps on its smartwatches are an accessory or an integral part of the product. The tribunal concluded that the straps are an accessory, or "other plastic," which means Apple could lose its import tax exemption on the product. The UK tax authorities could levy a 6.5% import duty on the smartwatch, which currently retails for £49 ($59.70).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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