Eurobites: Finnish State Takes 3.3% Stake in Nokia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Altice's international voice carrier business up for sale; Iliad shows progress in 2017; Telia Carrier and Coriant collaborate on provisioning.

  • The Finnish government has spent around €844 million (US$1.04 billion) on acquiring a 3.3% stake in Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) via its Solidium investment arm, Reuters reports. Solidium said that it was not seeking a seat on Nokia's board in the short term, though it did not rule out that as an option further down the line.

  • Altice has entered talks with Tofane Global about a possible sale of its international wholesale voice carrier business in France, Portugal and the Dominican Republic, according to Seeking Alpha. In January Altice announced a restructuring of its European operations in a bid to sharpen its strategic focus. (See Altice Spins Off US Biz, Rejigs in Europe.)

  • Meanwhile, Altice's rival, Iliad (Euronext: ILD), appears to have had a good 2017, with revenues up nearly 6% to just under €5 billion ($6.1 billion) and profit soaring 16% to €862 million ($1.06 billion). Iliad's mobile arm, Free Mobile , recorded nearly a million net additions in 2017, making it, the operator claims, France's leading recruiter of mobile subscribers for the sixth year in a row. Its 4G coverage now covers 86% of the French population. Iliad now has its eyes on the Italian mobile market, and says that it spent 2017 setting up the architecture and manpower necessary for launching its mobile services there.

  • Telia Carrier and Coriant have completed a live field trial of technology designed to improve dynamic provisioning of fiber optic capacity. The trial, conducted last month on a live fiber route in Telia Carrier's backbone network between Hamburg and Prague, set out to demonstrate the ability to enhance end-user service reliability and improve operational efficiencies using innovations in online service planning, in-service optical margin measurement, and real-time health check analytics. The technology used in the trial, Coriant Aware, is currently being demonstrated at the OFC show in San Diego.

  • Spotify , the Swedish-owned music streaming heavyweight, is entering the African content for the first time, launching its services in South Africa today, Reuters reports. The move reflects the growing ownership of smartphones in the region.

  • UK-based Colt Technology Services Group Ltd is collaborating with PCCW Global and blockchain startup Clear on a proof-of-concept demonstration of how blockchain technology can reduce inter-carrier settlement times "from hours to minutes." During two separate demonstrations, the demonstration showcased the use of the technology to positively settle payments for inter-carrier voice traffic.

  • VF Ukraine, a subsidiary of Russia's Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT), has acquired a 4G license in the 1780-1785/1875-1880 MHz band following a national auction. The operator paid 742 million Ukrainian Hryvnia ($28.5 million) for the privilege.

  • A report commissioned by UK altnet CityFibre has reached the not altogether surprising conclusion that full fiber would be a good thing for the country's businesses and homeowners. On the business side, the report, carried out by Regeneris, concludes that access to full fiber could "unlock" £4.5 billion ($6.2 billion) in business productivity, while a further £2.3 billion ($3.2 billion) in growth could come from the "catalyzing" of startups.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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