Eurobites: Swisscom fined CHF18M over fiber rollout strategy

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telia Q1 revenue down; UK's competition authority gets twitchy over Big Tech's AI maneuvers; the power of pizza.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

April 25, 2024

3 Min Read
 Swisscom office building with logo sign
(Source: Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)
  • Swisscom has been fined 18 million Swiss francs (US$19.7 million) by COMCO, Switzerland's competition regulator, for using what in COMCO 's eyes was the wrong type of "topology" in its fiber rollout. Swisscom adopted a point-to-multipoint (P2MP) topology between the exchange and local cable duct (manhole), whereas COMCO believes it should have used the plain old point-to-point (P2P) variant. Unsurprisingly, Swisscom isn't impressed, describing COMCO 's decision as "incomprehensible" and expressing the view that P2MP is the most cost-effective way for FTTH to be rolled out in Switzerland. "Contrary to the stance taken by COMCO," chunters Swisscom in its press statement, "all competitors would have been able to obtain a data stream from Swisscom for a specific connection on non-discriminatory terms, enabling them to continue to offer a full and competitive range of services, including telephony, Internet and TV."

  • Less controversially, Swisscom has chosen Replay Comfort software from Media Distillery to enable viewers of its catchup TV service to avoid having to watch the ads.

  • First-quarter revenue at Nordic operator Telia decreased 2% year-over-year, to 21.27 billion Swedish kroner ($1.95 billion), not helped by a 6.3% decline in advertising revenue at its TV and Media unit. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), however, was up 3.4%, to SEK7.14 billion ($657 million). In the Telco business unit specifically, service revenue grew 2.7% and EBITDA grew 2.1%. Patrik Hofbauer, Telia's president and CEO, declared himself "comfortable" with the existing full-year outlook, which remains unchanged.

  • The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is clearly feeling a sense of unease at Big Tech's apparent attempts to gain a stranglehold on artificial intelligence (AI) and has launched three separate but linked inquiries into tech giants' partnerships – two of them struck by Microsoft and one by Amazon – with much smaller AI companies. The CMA is investigating whether a "relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002" has been created by these partnerships. The three companies in question are Inflection AI, Mistral AI (both of which have been taken under Microsoft's wing) and Anthropic, which Amazon is sniffing around.

  • Digital Catapult, the UK government-linked organization whose remit is to accelerate the adoption of more digital approaches to doing business, has welcomed more companies to use the testing facilities at its open RAN labs. Joining the fun in West London are Accelleran, G Reigns, Lions, VVDN, Pegatron (who will be using the outdoor testing site) and Alpha Networks (who will primarily use the indoor facility).

  • Saudi operator Zain KSA has turned to Sweden's Enea for help with defending its mobile networks from cyberattacks through the use of a "signalling overlay," which can be compared to a shield-like layer of security around existing infrastructure. It will be run as a pilot project on Zain's Saudi network during 2024.

  • Gen Z is happy to come into the office – but only if there's free pizza waiting for them when they get there. That is the key takeaway from new research carried out by Virgin Media O2, which is partly based on aggregated UK movement data generated by the O2 mobile network. The researchers took a deep-pan dive into Gen Z's commuting habits and found that, amongst other things, their daily commute trips are up 9% from this time last year, including a 14% increase in January trips.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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