Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ZTE opens cybersecurity lab in Rome; coaxial startup lands Vodafone Germany deal; payback time for UK mobile operators?
Investment by French operators increased by more than €200 million (US$223 million) in 2018 compared with the previous year, to reach €9.8 billion ($10.9 billion), despite a 1% dip in overall revenue due to the continuing decline in fixed-line services. These are just some of the findings of the latest scorecard published by Arcep, the French communications regulator. The spending increase, says Arcep, can be attributed "almost entirely" to the increased investment in FTTH network rollouts, with an additional 13.6 million premises coming within fiber's reach. As you would expect, mobile network usage grew strongly in 2018, with data services up 65% and voice calls up 3.7%. France now has 47.7 million active 4G customers (up by 6.1 million on 2017), who burned their way through, on average, a not inconsiderable 6.7GB of data a month.
ZTE, the Chinese vendor which not that long ago was on life support following a ban on doing business in the US, has opened a cybersecurity lab in Rome. In a bid to offer at least the impression of transparency, ZTE's lab will provide customers, regulators and other interested parties with security assessment and audit services, such as source code review on ZTE's products. (See ZTE Returns to Profit Despite Sales Slump.)
Giax, a German startup specializing in coaxial network technology, has landed a deal with Vodafone Germany, which will use Giax's Heleos offering to help boost the speed and efficiency of its GIGA HFC 1Gbit/s services to its 12.6 million residential customers. Heleos, says Giax, helps cable operators deliver on the promise of Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) without having to extend the fiber network by "re-energizing" the existing coaxial network.
Another bit of Vodafone could be in for a windfall following the victory of the big four UK mobile operators in a legal battle against communications regulator Ofcom. As the Financial Times reports (paywall applies), Vodafone, O2, EE and Three could be in line for a reimbursement of more than £220 million ($279 million) following the court's ruling that the quadrupling of charges for spectrum levied by Ofcom between the summer of 2015 and November 2017 was unfair. Although Vodafone led the legal challenge, EE stands to gain most from the ruling because of its large spectrum holdings, says the report.
In a news announcement that is frankly pushing the Eurobites caps-lock key to its limits, Dutch incumbent KPN is to sell its data center subsidiary NLDC to a fund managed by DWS. NLDC operates six data centers, three of which are in the Amsterdam area and three in the regional hotspots of Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Groningen.