Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: MTN Nigeria breathes a sigh of tax relief; BT bets on e-esports; Proximus-Orange tie-up put on hold.
The head of Britain's military intelligence service, MI5, has "no reason to think" that the UK's access to intelligence-sharing with the US would be under threat if Huawei was allowed to play a role in the rollout of the UK's 5G networks. As the FT reports (paywall applies), Andrew Parker said that the links between so-called "five eyes" intelligence partnership (of which the UK is a part) were "the strongest they've ever been" and that security concerns alone should not "dominate and dictate" any ruling on the suitability of technology suppliers. The decision about Huawei's involvement in UK 5G networks is due to be made sometime this month, and today, says the FT, the UK will face some last-minute lobbying from the Trump administration, which is intent on getting Huawei frozen out of European next-generation network plans. (See Huawei Ban in UK Still on the Table, Huawei Decision to Show if BoJo Is Presidential Poodle or British Bulldog and Eurobites: Bolton Arrives in UK to Turn the Huawei Thumbscrews.)
It seems MTN Nigeria has been let off the hook by Nigeria's attorney general, who has withdrawn a US$2 billion tax demand after a long-running court battle. MTN was first presented with the bill in September 2018 for taxes the attorney general claimed were owed in relation to the importation of foreign equipment and payments to foreign suppliers since 2008. For more, see this story on our sister site, Connecting Africa.
BT is following the likes of Deutsche Telekom and Swisscom and placing a bet on e-sports as a potential income generator. The UK operator has signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with Excel Esports, under the terms of which the hotshot gamers will wear kit adorned with BT's logo and get access to BT connectivity and infrastructure to help them train for global success. And there's us thinking that fetid hoodies, rather than tracksuits, were the threads of choice for e-sportspeople…
The Belgian Competition Authority has given the country's telecom regulator until March 6, 2020 to further examine the proposed network-sharing agreement between Proximus and Orange Belgium. The agreement has been opposed by rival operators Telenor and Telenet, but Orange and Proximus maintain that the arrangement would have "positive effects for the customers and for the Belgian society as a whole." For more, see this story on sister site Telecoms.com.
French data transport equipment specialist Ekinops has reported 2019 revenues of €93.5 million ($104 million), up by 11% year-on-year. The vendor says demand for its 200G and 400G optical platforms helped fuel the sales growth. The company also reported greater traction in the US market, where full-year revenues grew by more than 56% to €15.7 million ($17.5 million). For more details, see this press release.