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Devices/smartphones

Eurobites: Nokia & Apple Bury the Hatchet

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT faces tax trouble in Brazil; Irish providers grab 3.6GHz spectrum; Iskratel excites the cable guys.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) have agreed to bury the hatchet in their long-running patents fight, signing a multi-year patent license and collaboration agreement which, says Nokia, will change them from "business adversaries to business partners." Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will pay Nokia an unspecified "up-front cash payment" and resume carrying Nokia's digital health products in its retail and online stores, while Nokia, for its part, will provide "certain network infrastructure products and services" to Apple. Also, regular summits between the two companies are planned, which they hope will ensure the hatchet stays buried. Back in December 2016, Nokia announced it was suing Apple over 32 alleged patent infringements relating to displays, user interface, software, antenna, chipsets and video coding. (See Nokia Sues Apple Over 32 Patents.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), fresh from suffering the effects of financial shenanigans at its Italian unit, looks set for further troubles on foreign soil. According to a Financial Times report (subscription required), its Global Services arm could face a £232 million (US$301 million) tax bill in Brazil, relating to the interpretation of local tax laws -- Brazilian state governments contend that BT should pay tax on equipment rental and technology services, but the UK incumbent begs to differ, believing it holds "meritorious arguments" in favor of its actions.

  • Ireland's Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has awarded five mobile and Internet service providers a slice of the country's 3.6GHz spectrum, RTE reports. Those receiving the awards were as follows: Vodafone Ireland (85MHz in rural areas and 105MHz in the cities); 3 Ireland (100MHz nationally); Meteor (80MHz in rural regions and 85MHz in the cities); Imagine (60MHz in each of the rural regions); and Airspan (25MHz in the rural regions and 60MHz in the cities).

  • Slovenian broadband infrastructure vendor Iskratel d.o.o. has set out its intentions for next week's ANGA cable tech event in Cologne with two new products to talk about: a new GPON OLT, which wouldn't get the cable fraternity so excited; and software that enables the "DOCSIS Provisioning of GPON," which would most certainly be of interest to the ANGA crew. According to Iskratel, its software, which can be installed in a cable operator's network management system (NMS), delivers the "benefits of fiber" over existing cable infrastructure "without having to replace back office systems and procedures." Iskratel says that the software has already been installed at a cable operator in its domestic market of Slovenia. (See Iskratel Unveils New GPON Products.)

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is launching linear TV offerings in the UK and Germany as a paid-for add-on to its Prime streaming service. In the UK, the channels on offer will include Discovery (£4.99 -- $6.47 -- a month) and Eurosport (£6.99 -- $9 -- a month), as well as more esoteric fare such as Sweatflix (yoga videos) and Rooster Teeth (sci-fi and gaming). The move follows the successful launch of Amazon Channels in the US, though the inclusion of the HBO channel -- absent in the UK version -- undoubtedly helped that service attract paying customers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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