Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Merkel stays strong over Huawei; CityFibre reaches UK's south coast; Inmarsat confirms $3.3 billion takeover bid.
Google is hoping to avoid incurring the wrath of the European Commission by prompting Android users to choose their preferred browsers and search apps, Reuters reports. Last year the search giant was hit with a $4.9 billion fine by the Commission for the way its pre-installed search software on Android phones effectively blocked its rivals in this sector, and now it apparently fears that more punishment might be heading its way. In a company blog, Google's Kent Walker said: "In the coming months, via the Play Store, we'll start asking users of existing and new Android devices in Europe which browser and search apps they would like to use." (See Eurobites: EU Socks Google With $5B Monster-Fine for Android Control-Freakery.)
Bournemouth and Northampton have been added to CityFibre's fiber rollout hitlist of UK towns and cities, the final two of the first dozen locations chosen for the rollout. The program is the fruit of a partnership between CityFibre and Vodafone, who are together hoping to reach 1 million UK homes and businesses with fiber by 2021. Bournemouth has become a thriving coastal outpost of digital innovation, so the faster speeds should come in handy for a number of businesses. (See Eurobites: Vodafone Goes Hand in Glove With CityFibre, Lays Down the Gauntlet to BT.)
UK-based satellite company Inmarsat has confirmed that it has received a non-binding $3.3 billion takeover bid from a private equity group comprising Apax Partners, Warburg Pincus International and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The consortium has until close of play on April 16 to decide whether to make a binding offer or not. At the time of writing, Inmarsat's share price was up by 17.6% to 515.10 pence on the London Stock Exchange following the company's announcement.
T-Systems, Deutsche Telekom's IT services arm, has poached Rami Avidan from Nordic operator Tele2 to head up its global IoT business, effective April 1. As CEO of Tele2, Avidan developed the operator's IoT business, overseeing a team of around 200 IoT experts.
Fourth-quarter operating profit at Russia's MTS rose 26.1% year-on-year to 28.9 billion rubles ($449 million), on revenue that rose 11.3% to RUB130.1 billion ($2.02 billion). In a statement, President and CEO Alexey Kornya claimed the operator had made "excellent progress" along the road to fully implementing its digital transformation strategy during 2018, as well as strengthening its position in the Russian handsets market. Earlier this month MTS agreed to pay the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission a total of $850 million to settle a case brought by those authorities over allegations of bribery at MTS's subsidiary in Uzbekistan.
Ensemble Activator: It sounds like a long-forgotten and possibly best-forgotten prog-rock band, but it's actually what Germany's ADVA describes as "the first true carrier-grade network operating system." And now it's been chosen for disaggregated cell site gateway (DCSG) trials with several major mobile network operators (MNOs) that are members of the Facebook-led Telecom Infra Project (TIP) community, including Vodafone and TIM Brasil.