Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: STC signs in-flight connectivity deal; Deutsche Telekom waives call charges to Turkey and Syria; Wibergh joins Cohere's board.
VEON, the Amsterdam-headquartered operator that makes much of its money in parts of the former Soviet Union, has received approval from the Russian authorities for the sale of its operations in Vladimir Putin's kingdom to members of the management of former Russian rival PJSC VimpelCom. Last October VEON CEO Kaan Terzioğlu sent a letter to shareholders in which it was made clear that, in the wake of Putin's invasion of Ukraine, the company's focus would now be firmly on the markets of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. (See Downsized VEON looks beyond Russia for growth and Eurobites: VEON sees credit ratings slide as Ukraine carnage hits home.)
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has signed an in-flight connectivity deal with Skyfive Arabia, a provider of "air-to-ground" (A2G) technology. The partnership, which has already tested the use of A2G technology on a flight between Riyadh and Jeddah with Saudia Airlines, intends to offer high-speed broadband in aircrafts, allowing passengers to while away their traveling time in video streaming, social media and the like.
And back on terra firma – sort of – STC has hooked up with Blacknut to promote its B2B/B2B2C cloud-gaming offering across the MENA region.
In the wake of the massive earthquake that has killed thousands across Turkey and Syria, Deutsche Telekom is waiving charges for all phone calls made and SMS messages sent via its network to either of the two countries between February 6 and February 15. The German operator will also enable Telekom and Congstar customers in Turkey and Syria to roam free of charge for data, text messages and voice services until February 15.
In the UK, Virgin Media O2 has said it will credit back the cost of SMS messages to and from Turkey and Syria for its customers from February 6-20. The operator is also supplying its Internet-enabling "Big Boxes" to aid the relief effort on the ground in the affected areas.
Johan Wibergh, the former CTO/CIO of UK-based Vodafone, is one of two new additions to the board of Cohere, the US company that has developed universal spectrum multiplier software. The other is Amit Mital, who previously focused on strategy and policy for emerging technology and cybersecurity during his time as special assistant to the US President and senior director of the National Security Council.
Nokia is expanding what it calls its "Lab-as-a-Service (LaaS) solution" to include the validation testing of industrial user equipment and third-party devices connecting people and machines over its digital automation cloud (DAC) and modular private wireless (MPW) networks – think handhelds, fieldrouters, dongles and wearables. To this end, a dedicated device testing facility for enterprise customers is to be opened in Bangalore, India. Nokia already operates LaaS facilities in operation in the US, Europe, South Korea and Japan.
Arm CEO Rene Haas has told Reuters that his UK-based chip design company is committed to a stock market flotation this year. Arm's owner, SoftBank, tried to sell it to Nvidia for around $40 billion, but called off the deal in the face of widespread regulator hostility. (See As SoftBank preps IPO, Boris tries to Arm the FTSE , SoftBank calls off $40B Arm sale, pivots to IPO and US moves to block Nvidia's purchase of Arm.)
The 2Africa subsea cable system has made its fourth and final landing in South Africa, this time in Amanzimtoti, near Durban. The cable joins into the Open Access Data Centres' carrier-neutral data center, which is owned by WIOCC. 2Africa was announced in May 2020 and is being rolled out by a consortium backed by Meta, Facebook's parent company.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading