Eurobites: Connectivia signs up to FiberCop's Italian job

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange CFO sees mergers ahead; MTN bails out of Yemen; Telefónica hits the smart road.

  • FiberCop, the last-mile infrastructure company set up by Telecom Italia (TIM) to facilitate the rollout of fiber-to-the-home broadband in Italy, has signed a co-investment agreement with Connectivia, under the terms of which Connectivia will use the fiber-optic secondary access network (from the street cabinet to customers' homes) in six of Campania's municipalities to connect FiberCop homes. Connectivia's participation in the FiberCop investment program follows that of other operators including Fastweb and Iliad. (See Iliad Italia's fixed ambitions take shape with FiberCop deal and FiberCop is go after KKR and Fastweb firm up stakes.)

  • Orange CFO Ramon Fernandez has told a conference that it is only a matter of time before France's four main operators consolidate down to three, Reuters reports. According to Fernandez, the fact that two of the big four operators have recently been taken private only serves to make a merger more likely.

  • South Africa-based MTN is to pull out of war-torn Yemen as part of a wider plan to exit the Middle East that was announced last summer. MTN Group has transferred its majority shareholding in MTN Yemen to Emerald International Investment. In the first half of 2021, MTN Yemen contributed 0.3% to MTN Group EBITDA. MTN Group held 82.8% of the shares in MTN Yemen, whose operating license for its 2G network is due for renewal at the end of 2021.

  • Telefónica Tech, Telefónica's digital business unit, has teamed up with Spanish transport giant Ferrovial to join AIVIA Orchestrated Connected Corridors, an initiative aimed at developing 5G-enhanced "smart roads" and advanced monitoring, sensing and simulation technology. A number of other companies, including Microsoft, 3M, Kapsch TrafficCom and Capgemini, are already taking part in the project.

  • The European Union may waive existing rules on state aid to allow the funding of new chip-manufacturing facilities in the bloc to help address the global chip supply-chain problem. As Reuters reports, such support would have to be subject to strong competition safeguards. (See Apple's 5G juggernaut stumbles over supply chain troubles and Counting the cost: How chip shortages are affecting telecom companies.)

  • Ericsson has been peering into its crystal ball again, this time predicting that most manufacturing companies will be at least 80% automated within ten years, thanks to the use of smarty-pants, 5G-driven technology such as AI software, video recognition, augmented and virtual reality, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and strength-enhancing exoskeletons. The full report, "The Rise of the Smarter, Swifter, Safer Production Employee," can be seen here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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