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Eurobites: Swisscom and Salt come together on fiber

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Swisscom's Q1; Tele2 execs in departure lounge; Ericsson gets its kicks with Radio 6626.

  • Swisscom has entered into a fiber partnership with Salt, the rival operator that is owned by France-based Iliad. Under the terms of the deal, Salt will effectively share some of the cost of Swisscom's network investment and take on some of the associated business risks. Salt will have its own physical Layer 1 access in Swisscom's fiber network on which it can operate its own services. Swisscom will, however, continue to bear overall responsibility for network planning, expansion and maintenance, and will remain the owner of the infrastructure. Salt had previously established a joint venture with Sunrise in 2019 called Swiss Open Fiber, with the aim of building an FTTH network covering 1.5 million households, but this has now been dissolved. (See Salt hails strong end to a less than sunny year.)

  • Meanwhile, the resistance in certain Swiss districts to the rollout of 5G is proving a frustration for Swisscom CEO Urs Schaeppi, who vented his feelings on the matter while commenting on his company's first-quarter results. Group revenue rose by 2.4% year-on-year to 2.80 billion Swiss francs (US$3.08 billion), though this was little thanks to the domestic unit: Competition and price pressure continued to result in the decline in telecom services revenue in the Swiss market, by 3.5% to CHF1.388 billion ($1.530 billion). Fastweb, Swisscom's Italian subsidiary, continues to perform well, recording year-on-year revenue growth of 7%.

  • There are top-table changes ahead at ailing Nordic operator Tele2, with two executive vice presidents, Mikael Larsson and Samuel Skott, both moving on in September. Larsson, formerly CFO of Com Hem (the operator now owned by Tele2), is joining investment firm Triton, while Skott, who was a key player in the combination of the Tele2 and Com Hem brands, is heading for unspecified pastures new. (See Tele2 suspends 2020 financial guidance amid COVID-19 uncertainty.)

  • Ericsson is trumpeting a new product, its Radio 6626, a three-sector, dual-band affair that, says the vendor, can help communications service providers increase their Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) 5G frequency capacity. The Ericsson Radio 6626 can provide 720W of output power and weighs under 45kg.

  • Middle Eastern operator Ooredoo saw first-quarter EBITDA rise 6% year-on-year, to 3.21 billion Qatari Riyal ($881 million), on revenue that fell 1%, to QAR7.19 billion ($1.97 billion). The revenue decline was mainly due to a negative foreign exchange impact, said the Qatar-based operator.

  • Deutsche Telekom is doing its bit for the German coronavirus effort by making its advertising space available for a week to five non-profit organizations who have seen a significant increase in demand for their services during the pandemic. The operator will provide over 1,000 advertising spaces on TV, radio, newspapers, online and out-of-home media.

  • Revenue at Millicom, the Luxembourg-based operator that provides fixed and mobile services in Latin America and Africa under the Tigo brand, remained stable during the first quarter of 2021 at $1.088 billion. In its Latin American segment, Millicom saw a 1.3% year-on-year increase in service revenue, claiming "strong momentum" across all markets contributing to a 5.9% rise in EBITDA. (See Millicom preaches caution after a tough 2020.)

  • Irish operator Eir has been updating on the progress of its fiber rollout, announcing that its gigabit network is now available to customers in 79 towns and villages across the country. Together with its rural fiber rollout program, which was completed in 2019, more than 800,000 premises across Ireland can now access fiber broadband, says the operator.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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