Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telenor tests 5G in Norway; former Orange man joins Vodafone board; China's Xiaomi enters UK; Telefónica offloads insurance arm.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is claiming a couple of world firsts in the 5G department: It has connected both a smartphone prototype featuring a Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) 5G midband modem and a hotspot from Taiwan company WNC featuring the same modem to a live 5G network. The breakthroughs form part of a trial that sees parts of Lucerne, Bern, Geneva and Zurich following Burgdorf as testbeds for the new technology.
Further north, but still in the 5G sphere, Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is launching what it says is the first pilot of the technology in Scandinavia with a project in Kongsberg, Norway. Five families will be offered the chance to test 5G until summer 2019, using the technology as the delivery mechanism for their broadband and TV services. A number of Norwegian organizations are also involved, including the Coop and the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation. Telenor intends to offer 5G pilots in other locations in 2019 as it prepares for commercial rollout in 2019.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has appointed Sanjiv Ahuja as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Ahuja is the chairman of Tillman Global Holdings, which he founded in 2013, after spells at Orange and Lightsquared. He has also sat on the boards of Telenor and Cadbury Schweppes, amongst others.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has entered the UK market with its flagship Mi 8 Pro handset, Reuters reports. Xiaomi is also bringing its entry-level Redmi 6A phone to the UK, as well other products that include a fitness band and an electric scooter.
Telefónica has agreed to sell its Antares insurance arm to Grupo Catalana Occidente for €161 million ($182 million). The Spanish operator says that the sale of this non-core business forms part of its strategy of "rationalization, value creation and optimization of the return on capital employed."
France's Ekinops SA has teamed up with Passman, a specialist in digital services for the hospitality industry, to launch 1-Gig services-enabling routers for those bandwidth-hungry hotel guests. The offering will be put through its paces at the EquipHotel Conference in Paris next week.
Swedish cable operator Com Hem AB will henceforth be inserting its ads using Edgeware AB 's Ad Enabler software. Ad Enabler uses "segmentation" technology to deliver a smooth transition between frames of the programming and adverts, detecting ad markers in incoming live streams, which dictate where an ad break is to be inserted and for how long.
Facebook is quadrupling the size of its Dublin office, Reuters reports, which apparently allows it to only double the size of its 4,000-strong workforce. The social media giant clearly finds the combination of low corporation tax and incessant rain impossible to resist.