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Eurobites: UK satellite push could carry on with CLEO

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telekom Austria confirms towers sell-off; Arm IPO gets closer; Vodafone UK lands smart meter deal.

Paul Rainford

August 2, 2023

3 Min Read
(Source: NASA)
(Source: NASA)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telekom Austria confirms towers sell-off; Arm IPO gets closer; Vodafone UK lands smart meter deal.

The UK government is tentatively proposing a £160 million (US$204 million) satellite scheme which it hopes could boost the country's capabilities in 5G and broadband and enhance its standing in the growing global low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite market. Grant funding of up to £100 million ($128 million) could in theory be complemented by an additional £60 million ($76 million) from the European Space Agency. A snappy acronym has been pounced upon for the scheme (CLEO – Connectivity in Low Earth Orbit) but whether it goes ahead or not appears to be anyone's guess at this stage.

  • Following the European trend of debt-burdened telcos offloading mobile infrastructure, Telekom Austria has confirmed it will sell off its towers to newly created spinoff EuroTeleSites AG. The demerger is expected to be officially implemented in the fall, with EuroTeleSites shares listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange shortly after. (See How Europe's biggest telcos lost control of their towers and Towerco consolidation would show up huge conflicts of interest.)

  • Arm, the Japanese-owned but UK-based chip design firm, is aiming for an initial public offering (IPO) on the US stock market. at a valuation of between $60 billion and $70 billion as early as September, according to a Bloomberg report (paywall applies). Last year the UK government had hoped to persuade Arm to list on the London Stock Exchange rather than its New York equivalent, but its ministers' overtures were in vain. (See As SoftBank preps IPO, Boris tries to Arm the FTSE .)

  • Vodafone has signed a 15-year services agreement with DCC to provide 4G-based IoT connectivity for the UK's smart meter network, the £13.5 billion ($17.2 billion) rollout of which is now four years behind schedule, according to a recent report in the Financial Times.

  • Ookla's latest research into roaming speeds in Europe underlines past analyses which demonstrated that mobile speeds are usually slower for customers roaming abroad than they are when they are moving around their own country, despite the promise of the "roam like at home" agreement reached between the European Parliament and EU member states back in 2021. Of the Big Four European countries, the speed drop-off during Q2 2023 was particularly pronounced in France: median roaming download speeds there reached 43.46 Mbit/s, as opposed to 61.64 Mbit/s for local download.

  • Neos Networks, the joint venture set up in 2019 between energy company SSE and private equity firm Infracapital, is launching national 400Gbit/s optical wavelength services across 26 UK data centers. (See Neos Networks eyes a fifth more in sales in UK fiber rush.)

  • Around a quarter of small businesses in UK are generating more sales from advertising on social media than from any other channel, according to new research from BT. Meta-owned platforms are the favored media, with 30% of those asked saying Facebook was the primary social media channel they use for sales generation, followed by Instagram (18%), Twitter (10%) and TikTok (9%).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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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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