Eurobites: Vodafone Names Its Towers Boss

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sky creates 1,000 new jobs in UK; Europe lags North America in smart-home race; UK delays decision on Huawei until after general election.

  • Vodafone has appointed Vivek Badrinath as the CEO of its new European tower company, TowerCo, the creation of which it announced about a year ago. Once it becomes operational in May 2020, TowerCo, which Vodafone describes as a "virtual" tower company, will manage the 60,000 towers or so used by the company in its European operations. Vodafone expects the company to generate about €1.7 billion ($1.9 billion) in annual sales and €900 million ($1 billion) in earnings. Badrinath is currently the head of Vodafone's Rest of World operations, a division that is set to be removed as part of the management restructuring. Shameel Joosub, the CEO of Vodacom Group, will also be joining Vodafone's executive committee, effective April 1, 2020. (See Vodafone shares soar as it values towers spin-off at $20B.)

  • Sky, the UK-based provider of pay-TV and more, is creating 1,000 new jobs on its home turf, including a new call center in the northern city of Leeds and 500 engineers to install Sky Q, its top-of-the-range set-top box. The new recruits will swell the ranks of Sky's UK and Ireland employees to 25,000.

  • Europe has some catching up to do with North America when it comes to the smart home, according to a new study from Sweden's Berg Insight. Berg's figures point to a total of 30.5 million smart homes across Europe at the end of 2018, compared to 33.8 million in North America. Not surprisingly, the study found that Amazon and Google hold a near-duopoly in the smart speaker element of the market, with an estimated combined market share of around 90% in Europe and North America.

  • The UK government has deferred its decision on whether to allow Huawei gear into the country's 5G networks until after the general election, which takes place on December 12, the Guardian reports. The Trump administration has been leaning on the UK -- and a number of other European countries -- to persuade it to give Huawei the cold shoulder on future infrastructure-building, generally to little effect. (See For Trump's Attack Dogs, There's No Stopping Huawei and Trump is losing the European war against Huawei.)

  • Sparkle, the international services arm of Telcom Italia (TIM), has expanded its reach in the Caucasus region with the opening of a new point of presence in Yerevan, Armenia. The new PoP has been opened in partnership with operator Ucom, and is integrated with Sparkle's Seabone transit service.

  • Germany's ADVA has launched what it says is the market's first modular multi-band Global Navigation Satellite Signal (GNSS) receiver for ePRTC and PRTC-B synchronization, bringing, it claims, "new levels of precision timing to 5G networks."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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