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Eurobites: Telecom Italia teams up with KKR for ultra-broadband push

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Huawei plans new factory in France; Virgin goes "ultra-fast" in UK's West Midlands; Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson team up for campus network.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has given US investment firm KKR the nod to be an exclusive partner in the operator's development of its ultra-broadband network. According to a Reuters report, the deal, details of which have not been disclosed, could strengthen TIM's hand in its negotiations with smaller rival Open Fiber. The Italian government wants TIM and state-backed Open Fiber to hammer out an agreement to create a single "ultra-fast" broadband player, but to date those talks haven't got very far. (See Telecom Italia Caught in Clash of Clans While Rome Burns.)

  • Elsewhere in TIMworld, the operator has signed an agreement with Infratel Italia giving natives and tourists access to "free and open" WiFi in around 8,000 Italian municipalities, as part of the Piazza WiFi Italia project.

  • Huawei is to build a new factory in France for the manufacture of equipment needed in 4G and 5G networks, primarily in Europe. The Chinese vendor plans to invest more than €200 million (US$220 million) in the plant, which will feature a demo center, showcasing the wireless basestation production, software loading and testing process. The location of the proposed factory has not yet been revealed.

  • In March, UK cable operator Virgin Media will flick the switch on gigabit broadband service to more than a million homes in the UK's West Midlands region. The switch-on forms part of Virgin's plan to roll out gigabit speeds to more than 15 million UK homes by the end of 2021. (See Liberty Global sizing up partnerships to expand reach of Virgin Media's network and Eurobites: Virgin Media Raises Gigabit Stakes in UK.)

  • Deutsche Telekom has teamed up with Ericsson to deploy a "campus" setup comprising private and public networks at the BMW factory in Leipzig. Ericsson describes it as a "dual-slice solution," with a private network for plant operations and staff and a public network transmitting the same signal strength for devices that are not allowed to transmit in the private network.

  • BT Sport and Samsung have combined to screen what they say is the UK's first public live 8K sports broadcast – the UEFA Europa League soccer match between Arsenal and Olympiacos. The broadcast was delivered live from the Emirates Stadium using a bespoke BT Sport 8K outside broadcast setup, to Samsung QLED 8K TVs. For the record, Arsenal lost 2-1.

  • Dutch operator KPN is supporting eSIM technology for customers of Simyo, its MVNO brand. Using a built-in chip that is not linked to any particular provider, eSIM enables users to switch to Simyo without having to change the physical SIM card. KPN is already supporting eSIM for Internet of Things devices.

  • Telefónica has acquired 50% of Prosegur's alarms business in Spain, for slightly more than €305.6 million ($336.4 million). Within the next few days the company will unveil the brand under which it will operate and its new range of products.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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