Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: 4G? Stuff it, says Turkey; Swisscom virtualizes with Netcracker; Google salves its news-content conscience.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has felt the need to categorically deny that it is planning a return to smartphones, following recent press reports that it intended to design phones to be manufactured under license in China. In a statement, the Finnish vendor, which is becoming increasingly focused on its networks business, said: "Nokia reiterates it currently has no plans to manufacture or sell consumer handsets." Got that? So no smartphones. Just tablets. Nokia has been making the headlines recently for its plan to swallow Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). (See Did Nokia Really Just Launch a Tablet?, Eurobites: Nokia's HERE Locates Potential Buyers, Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On? and Nokia Makes €15.6B Bid for Alcatel-Lucent.)
Does the Turkish government know something we don't? According to a Reuters report, Turkey is considering cancelling a planned 4G spectrum auction and going straight to 5G within two years. The plan seems to be the brainchild of President Tayyip Erdogan, who suggested the strategy last week, but the idea is apparently gaining traction with the rest of the Turkish government -- Customs and Trade Minister Nurettin Canikli reportedly said: "The president's remarks were meant to be instructions … We should pay attention to what he says." Let's see how this plays out in the coming months...
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has taken the next step in the evolution of its back office with the completion of a project that will enable it to migrate its fixed, mobile, TV and broadband business lines to the new OSS system it has sourced from Netcracker Technology Corp. . The operator is now in discussions with NetCracker and its parent company NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) about the development of next-generation IT systems that can support Swisscom's cloud and virtualization strategy. NEC is one of the vendors well placed to offer a combination of systems and supporting professional/systems integration services to communications service providers as they implement their SDN, NFV, cloud and telco data center strategies. (See Swisscom Rebuilds Its Back Office With NEC & NetCracker and NFV's Looming Battle: Systems Integration.)
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and other news "aggregation" sites have often been blamed for the slow death of paid-for journalism, and now it seems that the big daddy of search engines wants to improve its image in this area. To this end, as the BBC reports, it has pledged to give €150 million (US$163 million) to European news publishers and journalism-related startups during the next three years. The idea is that the money will help them devise ways of making more money from their online news operations. Among those possibly benefiting from the initiative are the UK's Financial Times and Guardian, Spain's El Pais and Germany's Die Zeit.
Kudelski Group , the Swiss media protection vendor, has signed a multi-year patent license agreement with The Walt Disney Company. The deal is intended to help Disney deliver its content securely over streaming outlets such ESPN.com and ABC.com.
KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) is developing an over-the-top app that will allow those with iOS or Android devices, or smart TVs via Google Chromecast, to watch live or on-demand TV, even if those touting the devices don't subscribe to KPN's broadband. Commercial rollout of the app is scheduled for later this year.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) , the second-placed operator in the UAE, has seen its first-quarter profits slip by 0.6% year-on-year, to 487.1 million dirhams ($132.6 million), reports Reuters.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading