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Eurobites: KKR offers €1.8B for stake in TIM's 'last mile' – report

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TIM teams up on tech VC fund; UKCloud unveils new services; Ericsson scores in Indonesia.

  • A US investment firm, KKR, has offered €1.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) for a 38% stake in Telecom Italia's "last-mile grid," according to a Reuters report citing two unidentified sources. The report suggests that the deal could be the prelude to a merger of Telecom Italia's last-mile assets with those of Open Fiber, the wholesale broadband provider owned by Enel and state lender CDP. The Italian government has for some time been trying to set up a deal between Telecom Italia and Open Fiber to smooth the way to a broader and faster fiber rollout, but to date talks have run into the sand. (See Eurobites: Italy considers independent 'broadband champion' and Telecom Italia crumbles like a Roman ruin.)

  • In other Telecom Italia news: The operator's venture capital arm, TIM Ventures, has signed an agreement with United Ventures, an independent venture capital manager specializing in investments in digital technologies, to launch a new fund to support investments in "late stage" tech startups in Italy and elsewhere. The fund, UV T-Growth, will focus on areas such as cloud services, the Internet of Things, edge computing, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, cybersecurity applications and on-the-move payment systems.

  • UKCloud, the multicloud services provider that specializes in the public sector, has released an expanded range of managed services that includes "Managed Monitoring as a Service" (service assurance for workloads in the cloud), "Managed VM Recovery Point" (disaster recovery for virtual machines) and "Patching as a Service (routine OS patch management on UKCloud's multicloud platform).

  • Ericsson has landed a core network gig in East Indonesia with XL Axiata as the operator prepares for a 5G-inspired data surge. According to the June 2019 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, average data usage per smartphone is set to increase tenfold on 5G devices in Indonesia.

  • The UK's streaming video on-demand (SVoD) market is still growing, but nowhere near as fast it was in the peak-lockdown weeks following the launch of the Disney+ service. Figures from Kantar, cited by Broadband TV News, show that in the second quarter 826,000 new SVoD subscribers signed up, compared to a surge of around 6 million in the three months to April. Amazon Prime is now leading the UK subscriber-growth race, with a 45.1% share of all new SVoD subscribers in the three months ending June 2020.

  • Telefónica UK (O2) has launched what it's calling a "digital guru service," allowing customers beset by telecom tech issues to talk, on a one-to-one basis, to a (hopefully) helpful human being, albeit online. O2 says the move is in response to a poll that showed 59% of people are unsure about visiting or unable to visit their local high street, where O2 and its rivals have their stores. The scheme is initially being run as a pilot.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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