Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia and Vodafone trial cloud RAN; Ooredoo dabbles in 5G; new boss for Telefónica Deutschland.
The European Commission has joined forces with the European Investment Bank to launch a fund to support the development of broadband infrastructure across underserved areas of Europe. It is envisaged the Connecting Europe Broadband Fund should initially raise at least €500 million (US$529.7 million) through commitments from private and public investors, including the EIB and the European Commission. The Commission itself will invest €100 million ($106 million) into the fund. In time it is hoped that the fund will unlock additional investments of between €1 billion ($1.05 billion) and €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion) for broadband deployment in 20 countries by 2021. (See EC, EIB Launch Connecting Europe Broadband Fund.)
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) have used the operator's testing facility in Italy to trial the use of a cloud-based RAN platform to evaluate the performance of a centralized 5G-ready architecture. Nokia claims the trial fulfilled Vodafone's key performance criteria in terms of throughput, capacity and resilency. Nokia and Vodafone will continue to collaborate on this project with the aim of deploying the technology commercially in due course.
Elsewhere on Planet Nokia, the Finnish vendor has been collaborating with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to help Middle Eastern operator Ooredoo conduct tests on a "5G trial system" in Qatar, MENA FN reports. Ooredoo claims that speeds of to 35.46 Gbit/s were reached during the trial.
Telefónica Deutschland GmbH has announced its replacement for Thorsten Dirks, who last month announced he intended to leave the operator in March 2017. As Reuters reports, the new CEO will be Markus Haas, a lawyer who has been with the operator since 1998. He will begin his three-year contract in the new year.
Sky 's independent directors are being urged to secure a higher bid for control of the company from 21st Century Fox , the BBC reports. The US media giant, owned by Rupert Murdoch, launched an £18 billion ($22.6 billion) bid for Sky on Friday, but the presence of Rupert Murdoch's son, James Murdoch, on the board of both companies, has fueled fears that Sky is being deliberately undervalued. This isn't the first time that Murdoch senior has attempted to regain control of Sky -- the last time he tried, New Corp. was his vehicle of choice. (See 21st Century Fox Bids £18B for Sky.)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is creating another 500 call center jobs in the UK and Ireland. The carrier will also be offering existing agency workers the chance to convert their jobs into proper, directly employed roles, with appropriate terms and conditions.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading