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Eurobites: Orange in a huff over 'half done' fiber rollout jibe

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: European Commission scrutinizes Alexa and friends; Telia makes some changes; MTS launches 5G phone with Motorola and Qualcomm.

  • Orange's board of directors has denounced what it describes as "unfair and unfounded claims" made by the chairman of French communication regulator Arcep, Sébastien Soriano, who told financial daily Les Echos that the rollout of fiber in France had only been "half done." In full huff mode, the Orange board said that it "finds the unfair and unfounded criticism incomprehensible," insisting that fiber deployment is central to Orange's strategy in France and that it is committed to the "progressive decommissioning" of the existing copper network.

  • Alexa, are you screwing over your rivals? Margrethe Vestager and her crew at the European Competition Commission are turning their antitrust attention to the market for voice-based assistants such as Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri, Reuters reports. Their concern is that the likes of Amazon are using their control of the large amounts of user data harvested by such devices to freeze smaller rivals out of the market. The Commission is seeking information from 400 or so companies to discover if there is a problem and, if there is, what should be done about it.

  • Sweden's Telia is making some changes at the top table. Per Christian Mørland has been made EVP and group chief financial officer of Telia Company, replacing Douglas Lubbe, who was doing the job in an acting capacity. Mørland is currently CFO of Telia Norway, a position he has held since October 2015. Dr. Rainer Deutschmann has been appointed SVP and group chief operating officer, effective during the second half of 2020, replacing Magnus Zetterberg. Deutschmann is currently group COO of Dialog Axiata, a Sri Lankan operator.

  • Russian mobile operator MTS says it has combined with Motorola and Qualcomm to successfully complete testing of the Motorola Edge+ smartphone, which supports the specific mmWave frequencies that have been allocated for 5G in Russia. Sales of the smartphone are due to launch at MTS retail stores in the near future.

  • Vodafone has upped the ante in its green journey, committing to powering its European network by 100% renewable electricity no later than July 2021 and creating what it is calling a "Green Gigabit Net." In 2019 the group pledged to purchase all its electricity from such sources, halving its environmental footprint by 2025 and reusing, reselling or recycling 100% of its network waste.

  • Preliminary second-quarter figures have given Germany's ADVA Optical Networking something to shout about: Revenues were up 8.9% year on year, to €145 million (US$165 million), while pro forma operating income was up 133% to €10.1 million ($11.5 million). However, the company says there is still "high uncertainty" surrounding the effect the COVID-19 pandemic will have on its business and, for that reason, the management board is not issuing new guidance for the full year 2020.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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