Eurobites: Labor union leans on UK lawmakers to veto mobile mega-mergerEurobites: Labor union leans on UK lawmakers to veto mobile mega-merger
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia helps Mila in Iceland; VodafoneZiggo boss plans exit; BT weaves Global Fabric.
October 17, 2023
Unite, the UK labor union, is warning that the proposed merger between mobile rivals Vodafone and Three could raise customers' bills by as much as £300 (US$365) a year. The claim forms part of evidence that Unite is presenting today to a parliamentary inquiry into the deal. The union also flags the fact that Three's parent company, CK Hutchison, has links to the Chinese state as a cause for concern and another reason to oppose the merger. "This tie-up is all about corporate profiteering and shareholder dividends. Throw in data security risks from Three's Chinese-state linked owners and you've got a terrible deal for consumers, a terrible deal for workers, and a terrible deal for national security," said Unite's researcher, George Stevenson, in a statement. (See What's the Story? Three/Vodafone merger could rattle UK market.)
Nokia has got the nod from Mila to upgrade the Icelandic broadband provider's fiber network to support new multi-gigabit services Mila hopes to offer its 60,000 or so customers. Nokia's multi-PON technology will initially be deployed in the capital, Reykjavik, before being expanded to other regions. The project, which includes the upgrade of existing Nokia fiber access nodes and optical line terminals, is due to be completed in 2024.
Dutch converged operator VodafoneZiggo is to say goodbye to its CEO, Jeroen Hoencamp, in May of next year, as the telecom veteran embarks, in the words of a company statement, "on a new chapter in his life." Hoencamp has led VodafoneZiggo since its formation in 2016.
Orange and DZS, the US-based vendor of fiber access products, have completed the first phases of a live pilot in Poland centered on DZS' Velocity product. The pilot forms part of Orange's multivendor approach to fiber access.
Slightly off the telecom piste, Orange has also signed a partnership with startup Koolboks to provide solar-powered freezing and refrigeration products in 12 African countries. The solar equipment also includes LED bulbs and USB ports, which will provide families with lighting and make it possible to charge various devices such as mobile phones and tablets.
BT is inviting business customers to have a feel of its Global Fabric, a new programmable "network-as-a-service" offering. The idea is that this new network connects the many and varied clouds businesses use for their applications and data with users, such as customers and employees, allowing them to thrive in the brave but frankly mystifying new world of digital automation and AI. Greater energy efficiency is being touted as one of the primary benefits of this approach: BT estimates that when fully rolled out, Global Fabric will use 79% less electricity than its current global networks.
Neos Networks has added two new data centers to its UK estate, one in London's Docklands district and the other in Manchester. Both facilities will be 100Gbit/s enabled.
Shares in Telecom Italia slid by 6% on Monday as the markets reacted to KKR's more-complicated-than-expected binding bid for the operator's fixed-line network. As Reuters reports, Economy Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti failed to provide much reassurance by saying that the government would consider other options if KKR's bid was rejected.
The UK government has put up £400,000 ($487,000) to help fund the development of new products that tackle bias and discrimination in AI. Up to three bids will be supported by the scheme. The announcement comes just ahead of the UK hosting a two-day AI Safety Summit, an event which the government believes will be a magnet for tech bosses, academics and political leaders, though the BBC wonders if it will prove as irresistible as hoped.
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