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Eurobites: Imagination Strikes New Licensing Deal With Apple

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Iliad completes towers sale; Portuguese spectrum auction coming soon; O2 spreads the 5G love in the UK.

  • Imagination Technologies, the UK-based chip design company, has struck a new multi-year license agreement with Apple under the terms of which, says Imagination, Apple has "access to a wider range of Imagination's intellectual property in exchange for license fees." In 2017 Imagination's world was rocked, but not in a good way, by the news that it was being dropped by Apple as a supplier. Imagination expressed its view then that "it would be extremely challenging" for Apple "to design a brand new GPU architecture from basics without infringing its intellectual property rights." Imagination has not specified to which intellectual property the latest agreement with Apple applies. (See Eurobites: Imagination Rocked by Apple Shut-Out.)

  • Iliad has completed the sale of mobile tower infrastructure to Cellnex for €2 billion (US$2.24 billion). Cellnex, which has been striking similar deals in other markets, including Spain and the UK, now owns 70% of the company that manages Iliad's 5,700 passive mobile infrastructure sites in France and all of Iliad's mobile towers (2,200 in total) in Italy. The deal was first announced in May 2019. Selling mobile towers is all the rage currently: Late last month, Telefónica announced a deal to offload more than 2,000 towers in Latin America for €290 million ($325 million).

  • Portugal's communications regulator, Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes (Anacom), has outlined its plans for a spectrum auction that includes dedicated airwaves for 5G services -- 400MHz of TDD spectrum in the 3.6GHz band and two 30MHz chunks of FDD spectrum in the 700MHz band. The auction is set to take place between April and June. For more details, see this Anacom announcement (in Portuguese).

  • In similar territory, French regulator Arcep has started its 5G spectrum auction process by inviting interested parties to submit their applications for spectrum in the 3.6GHz band. Applications must be submitted by noon on February 25: Arcep says it plans to hold the auction and issue licenses during the first half of the year. In December, the French government rubber-stamped Arcep's 5G spectrum allocation plans.

  • Telefónica's UK mobile operator, O2, successfully scrambled to turn 5G on in 13 more locations before the end of 2019, adding Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and ten other cities to its roll of next-gen connectivity honor before the singing of Auld Lang Syne commenced. Customers armed with the appropriate handsets and contracts can now access O2's 5G network in more than 20 UK cities.

  • Deutsche Telekom has turned to SAP's S/4HANA offering for its internal enterprise software needs. The operator says it can use the software to create new models for data analysis, artificial intelligence and predictive planning. Deutsche Telekom's IT services subsidiary, T-Systems, operates a SAP cloud serving around 4 million users.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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