Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia Networks speeds up Sonera; Tele2 launches 4G in the Netherlands; Airtel sells off African towers.
HERE, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s mapping/location-based services unit, has struck a significant deal with Baidu, the "Chinese Google," whereby it will power Baidu's map-related services outside China. Chinese travelers use Baidu to plan their overseas journeys and to navigate on the go. And according to Nokia, the number of foreign trips made by Chinese people in 2013 totaled 97 million, compared to just 5 million 15 years ago. HERE, which is a small but important element of the reinvented Nokia, has mapping that covers nearly 200 countries. (See Nokia Ushers In New Era, Retires NSN Name.)
Elsewhere in the Nokia universe, Nokia Networks is claiming it has doubled the speed of Sonera's 4G network in Helsinki through the use of LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation on the 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands. Downlink speeds of 300 Mbit/s are now being achieved in certain parts of the Finnish capital, according to the vendor.
Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) is to launch 4G services in the Netherlands in 2015, starting with an area stretching from Rotterdam to Amsterdam and culminating in a nationwide rollout by March 2016. Tele2 Netherlands claims to be the first provider in the world to launch a 4G-only network.
Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) is selling more than 1,100 of its towers in Zambia and Rwanda to IHS Holding for an estimated US$180-$200 million, according to an NDTV report. As part of the 10-year deal, Airtel is planning to lease back the towers from IHS.
Lebara B.V. , the Europe-based operator that focuses on migrant communities, has launched a new MVNO service in Saudi Arabia. It will be hosted on Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) 's network.
Just three days after a Paris court rejected a bid to block the UberPop taxi-hailing app, the French government has announced it is planning to ban the service, reports Bloomberg. A spokesman from the Interior Ministry said that the ban would take effect on January 1.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading