Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia's Nuage trumpets 'SD-WAN 2.0'; Wind Tre uses Open Fiber's FTTH network in Matera; Sky bundles in Netflix; UK mobile operators carry on charging.
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has coughed up the €14.3 billion (US$16.7 billion) in back taxes that the European Commission said it owed the Irish government for what the Commission ruled were illegal tax breaks. As the BBC reports, the money will be held in an escrow account while Apple's appeal against the decision goes through the courts. The Irish government also maintains that the Commission's decision is an unfair one, and its perceived tardiness in calling in the unpaid tax prompted a Commission lawsuit last year. In the light of Apple's payment of the missing billions, this lawsuit has now been withdrawn. (See Eurobites: Don't Pick On Apple, Says Irish Telecom Tycoon.)
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s Nuage Networks has taken the wraps off what it's calling (inevitably) "SD-WAN 2.0." According to a Nokia statement, this latest release of Nuage's Virtualized Network Services (VNS) platform offers enterprises "the most powerful and secure end-to-end network governance across a multi-cloud environment," with full visibility from a single interface.
Wind Tre is introducing FTTH service to around 13,000 households in the Italian city of Matera, using the network created by wholesaler Open Fiber at a cost of €7 million ($8.1 million). Download speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s are being touted. Open Fiber expects other providers will follow Wind Tre's lead in the coming months to offer rival services.
Sky , the UK-based pay-TV heavyweight, is bundling the Netflix streaming service into its on-demand offering for British customers who have its top-of-the-range Sky Q set-top box -- and are prepared to pay an extra £10 ($13) a month on top of their existing monthly subscription for the privilege. On a standalone OTT basis, Netflix costs UK users £7.99 ($10.53) -- a month.
Commenting on the news, independent telecom analyst Paolo Pescatore said: "The move further increases Sky's own value as a one stop shop provider. More importantly, it will also get access to Netflix's catalogue and metadata, which will prove more attractive to Disney, as Comcast is already working with Netflix."
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BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has extended its TV content deal with UKTV, the broadcaster probably best known for its Dave channel (though it has nine others). The new arrangement will bring BT TV customers an "enhanced catch-up video-on-demand (VoD) service," according to the operator.
Citizens Advice, the UK consumer rights organization, has published new research claiming that around 4 million Brits have been charged for mobile phones they already own, paying a combined total of £490 million extra on their last contract. It points the finger at three of the UK's biggest networks, EE, Three and Vodafone, accusing them of "routinely" charging customers extra for their handsets after they have -- in theory at least -- been paid for over the period of the (usually two-year) contract. Citizens Advice wants these bad operators to be more transparent by separating out the cost of the mobile service from the cost of the handset -- something, that as Citizens Advice points out, other providers already do.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading