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Eurobites: Will Houthis slice through the Internet?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone's Q3; Mike Pompeo descends on Kyivstar; Nokia reaches another 5G patent deal.

Paul Rainford

February 5, 2024

3 Min Read
(Source: Milan Surkala/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • Is a sizeable chunk of the western Internet about to fall victim to subsea-cable sabotage, courtesy of the Houthi terrorist militia currently attacking shipping in the Red Sea? That's the scenario being painted in a Guardian report, which says that a Houthi-linked channel on Telegram published a map of the subsea cables present in the area. One of the most significant is the Asia-Africa-Europe AE-1 cable that runs from southeast Asia to Europe via the Red Sea, though all the cables combined in the Red Sea are, says the report, reckoned to carry about 17% of global Internet traffic.

  • Vodafone Group's third-quarter revenue fell 2.3% year-over-year, to €11.37 billion (US$12.22 billion), though stripping out the impact of foreign exchange rates, Turkish inflationary mayhem and other variables translated into an "organic" revenue increase of 4.2%. Italy, where service revenue declined by 1.3%, remains troublesome – though it might not be troublesome for much longer if "active discussions" over the sale of the Italian operation cited by CEO Margherita Della Valle in Vodafone's earnings statement come to anything. In the UK, organic service revenue growth of 5.2% prompted labor union Unite to renew its plea for the Competition and Markets Authority to block the proposed merger of Vodafone and Three, its head of operations, Sarah Carpenter, saying that "instead of pursuing deals which will cost jobs and harm consumers, Vodafone should be sharing its whopping profits by lowering prices." Meanwhile, Africa remains a happy hunting-ground for Vodafone, via its Vodacom unit – Vodacom recorded 8.8% organic growth in the third quarter. Group full-year guidance was reiterated.

  • Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was part of a delegation that visited Kyivstar, VEON's Ukrainian subsidiary, to express support for the beleaguered operator in the face of Russian attacks on its infrastructure. While the current crop of Republicans seem largely set on more or less cutting Ukraine adrift when it comes to the supply of aid and arms to take the fight to Russia, Pompeo said: "The work of Kyivstar in supporting communication makes Ukraine stronger, and allows Ukraine to continue the fight. Ukraine must win, and the essential work that Kyivstar is doing to keep the country connected is an integral part of ensuring this victory. This is of a great importance to global security, and is also important to me as a person who also cares deeply about the future of Ukraine as well as about the security of United States of America." Interestingly, Pompeo was a noted opponent of Huawei during his tenure as Secretary of State: Kyivstar is thought to have plenty of Huawei gear in its network.

  • Nokia has struck a 5G cross-license patent agreement with Chinese phone-maker Vivo which, says the Finnish vendor vaguely, covers its "fundamental inventions in cellular technologies." Under the terms of the agreement, Vivo will make royalty payments to Nokia, along with catch-up payments to cover the dispute period. The agreement, says Nokia, draws a line under all pending patent litigation between the two companies, in all jurisdictions. It's the sixth significant smartphone patent license agreement Nokia has signed in the past 13 months.

  • Telefónica has added another bunch of mystifying non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to its NFT Marketplace. For those taking notes, the new goodies include the "Gamium x Telefónica" collection (225 digital assets), 50 pieces of digital art by Paysenger (a leader in AI-powered content creation, it says here), eight digital assets from The Crypto Hunters TV Show (an augmented reality show focused on the Web3 ecosystem) and "Creative Collections by Metacampus" (69 NFTs created by artist Lucas Levitán). Alternatively, Team Eurobites will knock you up a doodle on Etch-a-Sketch for £9.99 (cash only).

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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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