Eurobites: Telecom Italia cuts workers' hours as KKR sale approaches

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Proximus and Airbus team up on secure communications; Prysmian agrees to buy Encore Wire; 5G for the Faroe Islands.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

April 15, 2024

3 Min Read
TIM storefront
  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has reached an agreement with labor unions that will see most of its 23,000 employees' working hours reduced by nearly 14% over for a 15-month period that ends on June 30, 2025. The reductions also apply to TIM subsidiaries Noovle, Olivetti, Sparkle and Telecontact, though those working as field technicians and designers within the TIM group – around 8,500 people – will see a reduction in working hours of just 5%. It's a tumultuous time for TIM, which is in the throes of selling off its fixed-line network to KKR, a US private equity firm.

  • Belgium's Proximus has teamed up with aerospace giant Airbus on a 5G-based secure communications and work-collaboration system that it hopes to sell to other businesses active in the Belgian market. Agnet MCx includes features such as push-to-talk, secure instant messaging, live video sharing and location-based services. It enables users of two-way radios, smartphones, tablets and laptops to communicate individually or in groups.

  • Prysmian, the Italian company that sells cable to telecom and other markets, has agreed to buy US-based Encore Wire for around €3.9 billion (US$4.15 billion). Encore Wire manufactures a range of copper and aluminum electrical wire and cables, as well as supplying power generation and distribution systems. Prysmian hopes the deal will boost its presence in North America.

  • Faroese Telecom, supplier of communications services to the windswept citizens of the Faroe Islands, has launched 5G non-standalone services across right across the 18-island archipelago – courtesy of Ericsson. The launch follows live network speed tests conducted last year showing download peak speeds of up to 6 Gbit/s using 5G millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum – the fastest measured speed in a live network in Europe to date, claims Ericsson.

  • A1 Austria has made Netflix available on its TV platform in North Macedonia, bringing the number of its territories receiving the streaming service as part of a telly bundle to six. Belarus is now the only A1 market not getting the Netflix treatment.

  • Tone Hegland Bachke has quit her role as executive vice president and chief financial officer at Nordic operator Telenor, taking on instead a board position at SVH Holdings, a Dutch company that has its finger in many pies, transport and oil among them. Kasper Wold Kaarbø, Telenor's SVP of performance and ownership, has been appointed acting CFO, effective from May 8.

  • Telefónica has joined the ranks of those concerned that machines might be learning a little too much too soon by creating a special committee to monitor AI ethics. Speaking at the operator's general shareholders' meeting, boss José María Álvarez-Pallete said: "We believe technology is at the service of people and not the other way around. And, for this reason, we want to be part of this new social contract and we are committed to it." At the meeting, shareholders expressed their support for more than 99% of the board's proposals, including the company's management and the shareholder remuneration policy for 2024.

  • Apple will face the music over the commission it charges on the purchase of apps and other content from its App Store. That was the verdict of a UK court on Friday, which, as Reuters reports, rejected the tech giant's bid to dismiss a lawsuit reckoned to be worth nearly $1 billion. The case, launched last year, is being led by Sean Ennis, an economist and professor of competition law.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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