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Eurobites: Orange Looks to North Africa

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange backs out of Israel; AlcaLu's 100G powers Telecom Italia; eircom expands fiber footprint.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) is looking to expand its operations in North Africa, and is to sell shares in its Egyptian unit, Mobinil , to this end, reports Reuters. While the European mobile market is reaching saturation point, Orange sees plenty of potential for growth in Africa and the Middle East. At this week's World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town, the GSM Association (GSMA) predicted that 80% of sub-Saharan Africa's 800 million people will have access to mobile telephony by the end of this decade, which represents a doubling of the current numbers.

  • Separately, Orange has said that it plans to terminate its contract with Partner Communications Co. Ltd. (Nasdaq: PTNR; London: PCCD), the Israeli company that licenses its brand in the country, reports The Guardian. Orange has been under pressure in France to end its relationship with Partner because of the Israeli firm's supply of telecom services to settlements regarded as illegal under international law.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is to supply 100G technology to Telecom Italia (TIM) for the rollout of high-speed broadband and TV services to residential and business services. AlcaLu's 1830 Photonic Service Switch will form the basis of its offering.

  • Irish carrier eir is to expand its fiber footprint deeper into rural backwaters, increasing its network reach from 1.6 million to 1.9 million premises and offering speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s. The five-year project entails an investment of €400 million (US$454 million).

  • Reuters reports that June 12 is the date set for a major European Commission pow-wow that, it is hoped, will break the deadlock over the timescale for the removal of roaming charges within the European Union.

  • Typical -- you wait all month for M2M announcements then three come along in the same week. Yes, the connected bus stop has arrived, courtesy of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). The concept, which incorporates 3G, LTE or WiFi small cell technology, will, says Ericsson, provide an additional source of revenue to public transport operators and support functionality that is useful to commuters, such as real-time information about bus movements (or lack thereof). The connected bus stop is being demonstrated, along with other transport-related innovations, at the UITP World Congress and Exhibition in Milan next week.

  • Telia Carrier has opened a new point of presence at the LuxConnect data center in Luxembourg, strengthening, says the operator, the tiny nation's position as a European low-latency hub.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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