Eurobites: Telecom Italia brings broadband blend to Friuli Venezia Giulia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Fastweb taps Amdocs for network inventory upgrade; MTN seeks $5 billion valuation of mobile money unit ahead of stake sale; A1 Telekom Austria brings your package inside.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) is congratulating itself on completing its fiber rollout in the north-east Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, using a mix of FTTC, FTTH, FWA and satellite technologies. Those households and businesses connected to FTTH will enjoy downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s; up 200 Mbit/s must suffice for those on FTTC. Across the country, says the operator, TIM's fiber network is now available to 92% of those households that use the fixed network. Earlier this month TIM announced the completion of shareholder agreements with KKR Infrastructure and Swisscom-owned Fastweb that, in theory at least, allow FiberCop, Italy's last-mile network grid, to commence operations. (See FiberCop is go after KKR and Fastweb firm up stakes and Italy's TIM seeks co-investors to share cost of FTTH.)

  • Talking of Fastweb, the Italian broadband provider has gone with US-based Amdocs for an upgrade of its operations support systems (OSS), which includes a revamp of its network inventory software.

  • South Africa's MTN is seeking a valuation of at least $5 billion for its mobile money unit as it gets ready to sell a minority stake in the operation, the Financial Times reports (paywall applies). CEO Ralph Mupita told the newspaper that the group hoped to spin out the mobile money unit "within the next year." According to GSMA's 2021 State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money, there are now more than 1.2 billion registered mobile money accounts globally, and almost half of those are in Africa. For more background on the mobile money sector in Africa, see this story on our sister site, Connecting Africa.

  • A1 Telekom Austria is participating in a pilot project that allows homeowners to have packages safely delivered beyond their front doors and out of the Austrian rain when they are not at home. Through the use of A1's smart home app, Nuki, any householder with a Nuki smart lock installed can remotely authorize the in-home delivery of a package, a special floor mat inside the entrance indicating the spot where said package must be placed. Customers have the option of viewing the delivery live or up to 72 hours later.

  • Swisscom has teamed up with four banks – SEBA, Swissquote, Sygnum and Vontobel – to pilot the Swiss Institutional Digital Asset Reference Rate (SIDAR), a proof-of-concept which is intended to strengthen the credibility of digital assets such as Bitcoin. According to Swisscom, such assets are susceptible to manipulation, damaging the image of the digital asset market as a whole and acting as a turn-off to institutions thinking of adopting them.

  • The global brand of Saudi Arabia as a country may be damaged in many people's eyes through the actions of those in power, but Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has no such concerns on its home turf, being named the most influential local brand in the kingdom by Ipsos and scoring highly in the fields of "trustworthiness," "leadership" and "presence." Ipsos looked at nearly 800 of the top brands in 14 markets.

  • How fixed is a fixed-price broadband contract? As the Guardian reports, TalkTalk is facing flak in the UK after it announced it would be hiking up monthly bills by £2 ($2.75) a month for those who had signed up to what they were told was a fixed-price broadband contract. The operator tried to defend the decision by saying that the COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying explosion in Internet use had caused an unexpected rise in its costs.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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