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Eurobites: Nokia in Talks to Sell Digital Health Biz Back to Its Founder

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Tele2 launches MVNO in Russia; Orange gets some Israeli cybersecurity help; Swisscom's core business down.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has announced that it's in "exclusive negotiations" to sell its digital health business back to Éric Carreel, co-founder and former chairman of Withings, the French company from which Nokia acquired the business in 2016, paying €170 million (US$210 million) for the privilege. The announcement would seem to put paid to recent speculation that Google's Nest was interested in the business. It was in February that Nokia said it was initiating a "review of strategic options" for its digital health business, sending the signal that it wanted to wash its hands of "wearables" and related digital health products. Carreel is something of a serial entrepreneur, with fingers in several pies, including 3D printing company Sculpteo, where he is chairman. In the YouTube video below, made prior to Nokia's acquisition of Withings, Carreel prowls amid a riot of pot plants, explaining his digital health products. (See Eurobites: Google's Nest Eyes Nokia's Withings, Eurobites: Nokia Gets a Case of the Shakes Over Digital Health Market and Nokia to Acquire Withings for €170M.)

  • Belgian MVNE (mobile virtual network enabler) Effortel SA has helped Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) launch TTK Mobile, a MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) that has launched a quad-play offer in Russia. Effortel's role included the integration of a mobile billing system with existing fixed-line, TV and broadband systems to enable the quad-play offer and the company, which just picked up the Best MVNE Award at the recent MVNO World Congress 2018 event, claims to have enabled this in super-quick time. "We deployed our platform in less than two months to support the rapid launch and rollout of the MVNO, which was a record for us," boasted Effortel CMO Liudvikas Andriulis in a prepared statement.

  • Orange Polska has turned to Israel's SecBI for cybersecurity support. The partnership was signed following a proof-of-concept trial in which SecBI ran several "use cases" ranging from malware detection to Bitcoin mining, which resulted, says SecBI, in the identification of "numerous threats."

  • The continuing decline in fixed-line telephony and fierce price pressure took their toll on Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM)'s core business in the first quarter, with revenue specific to that accounting area falling by 1.8% year-on-year to 2.2 billion Swiss francs ($2.2 billion). The declining core business led to the operator shedding 77 full-time jobs during the quarter. EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was also down, slipping 1.4% to CHF1.05 billion. Consolidated net revenue, however, was up 1.9% to CHF2.88 billion. The financial outlook for the year remains unchanged, with Swisscom expecting net revenue of around CHF11.6 billion and EBITDA of around CHF4.2 billion.

  • HeroTel, a South African wireless Internet service provider (or, satisfyingly, WISP), has gone with Cambium Networks Ltd. to improve the performance of its network and help it to be expanded. The WISP has put to work Cambium's point-to-point licensed microwave backhaul solutions and PMP 450m wireless distribution networks, among other deployments.

  • The UK's Advertising Standards Authority is imposing new rules on broadband providers relating to how they promote their wares, and in particular what speeds they cite in their ads. As the BBC reports, broadband providers will, from May 23, have to include a median average download speed for the service between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in the evening. Quoting speeds of "up to" will no longer cut the mustard. Providers will also need to supply details of any limitations on the service that may adversely affect download speeds.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is beginning the third phase of its fiber rollout to German business parks, lining up another 49,000 businesses for access to 1Gbit/s speeds. In this latest tranche of the rollout, 75 municipalities will feel the benefit.

  • Facebook has lost its bid to stall the referral of its ongoing data privacy case to the European Court of Justice, the Irish Times reports. The judge rejected Facebook's submissions as "without merit" and "misplaced." (See Eurobites: Facebook Faces Privacy Class Action.)

  • The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has sent its final report on the proposed merger between UK pay-TV provider Sky and 21st Century Fox to the Secretary of State for consideration. In January, the CMA provisionally found that the deal was, for medial plurality reasons, not in the public interest. (See Eurobites: EU Gives Blessing to Fox-Sky Deal.)

  • Uber, the smartphone-powered cab-hailing service, has lost its operating license in the English coastal city of Brighton. As Reuters reports, the local authority declared that the taxi app is not "fit and proper," pointing the finger at a recent data breach and the use of non-local drivers by the service. Uber is to appeal the decision. It's not the first time that Uber has run into trouble in the UK… see Uber Crashes Into UK Regulators, Loses London License.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • kq4ym 5/13/2018 | 7:14:07 AM
    Re: UK Uber It would seem that the London tradition for well trained drivers is going to be hard to overturn and Uber and others may have a very difficult time entering the city while others also take a good look at the new competition around the world's cities.
    DanJones 5/2/2018 | 5:56:16 PM
    Re: UK Uber I don't go sarf of the river, mate!
    iainmorris 5/2/2018 | 10:34:12 AM
    Re: UK Uber As a Londoner, I can shed some light. I agree London cabs generally provide a good service and they undoubtedly know their way around better than the average Uber driver (cabbies are subjected to an exam called The Knowledge, which tests their familiarity with London roads; their brains are essentially human GPS devices). In my experience, you also get more conversation from a London cabbie than your typical Uberite, which may or may not be desirable depending on the circumstances and the London cabbie in question. Unfortunately, it's still dead expensive to get a London taxi and it's also not always easy to 'hail' one outside designated areas, both of which factors explain the rise of Uber. Needless to say, Uber is none too popular with the cabbie brigade, although they don't appear to be as militant as French taxi drivers in their opposition.
    Joe Stanganelli 5/2/2018 | 9:23:49 AM
    UK Uber FWIW, I can't speak to the UK outside of London (and I've never been to Brighton), and perhaps some of the European-side LR'ers here could further enlighten me, but London is certainly the one city where traditional taxis likely outperform Uber and other competitors in terms of quality and service. Granted, its been years since I've been to London, but there is simply no comparison between a London taxi ride and a US taxi ride. (London taxis, in my experience, outperform many private livery companies in the US -- let alone Uber/Lyft/etc. and non-UK taxis.)

    Of course, you don't have to undergo rigorous testing to drive for Uber anywhere -- or, for that matter, drive any sort of taxi or livery vehicle in the US.
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