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Eurobites: KKR plows $1B into European data center venture

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ekinops lands 10G deal; ARM launches new chip to boost Android processing power; COVID-19 strikes Nokia plant in Tamil Nadu.

  • Investment firm KKR is to plow $1 billion into a new venture that will build data centers in Europe for large technology companies. KKR is teaming up with Franek Sodzawiczny, who previously founded Zenium Networks and co-founded Sentrum, to create a new entity, Global Technical Realty (GTR). Sodzawiczny will become the new company's CEO. GTR is partnering with Mercury Engineering, a European engineering contractor with experience in data center construction, to develop a data center offering tailored to the needs of hyperscale cloud service providers.

  • France-based Ekinops has announced what it describes as its "first major 10Gb/s access win in Europe." The contract, for an unnamed European Tier 1 service provider, sees Ekinops supplying its 10G routers as part of an entire communications infrastructure for a "major national security agency."

  • ARM, the UK-based chip design company that is now part of the SoftBank empire, has released a new chip design that it hopes will boost the performance of high-end Android phones. As Reuters reports, the Cortex-X1, as the new chip is called, is intended to help Android phones compete with Apple iPhones when it comes to processing-intensive smartphone tasks such as gaming.

  • Mobile operator Three UK has appointed Carlo Melis as its new chief network officer. Melis joins Three UK from Wind Tre in Italy, where he has held various senior roles over the past 14 years, including oversight of the merger of Wind and 3 Italia.

  • Finland's Nokia has suspended operations at one of its manufacturing plants in southern India after a number of employees tested positive for COVID-19. As Reuters reports, the vendor did not specify how many workers were affected at the Tamil Nadu plant, but Reuters' source said that at least 42 of them had been struck down.

  • Swedish operator Tele2 is to provide IoT connectivity to the Civil Rights Defenders' Natalia Project, allowing those in the program who feel under threat to use a specially issued wearable device to send a distress signal with a GPS location to nearby local contacts, as well as to the Civil Rights Defenders headquarters in Stockholm. Civil Rights Defenders is a human rights organization founded in Sweden in 1982. The Natalia Project is named in honor of Natalia Estemirova, a human rights activist who was abducted and murdered in Chechnya in 2009.

  • Virgin Media, the UK cable operator owned by Liberty Global, has added two new channels to its TV platform: Sky Nature and Sky Documentaries. From today (Wednesday), both channels will be available in HD to all Maxit TV (previously named Full House) customers at no extra cost.

  • EE, the mobile arm of UK incumbent operator BT, has launched a new range of postpaid tariff plans that it describes as "5G ready." As well as access to EE's growing 5G network, the plans allow customers to choose from what EE calls "Swappable Benefits," such as being able to view content on Amazon Prime Video or BritBox.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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