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Eurobites: BT Faces Shareholder Revolt Over Outgoing CEO's Bonus

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia nails procurement deals; Sudatel tests 5G and more with Nokia; satellite link-up heads into the cloud; IBM trumpets European wins.

  • BT's annual general meeting on July 11 in Edinburgh could get as spicy as a mouthful of ripe haggis, according to a report in The Times. Proxy voting and policy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) is suggesting that BT's shareholders should vote against the operator's remuneration report, which notes that outgoing CEO Gavin Patterson, in addition to his £997,000 (US$1.31 million) salary, has been awarded a bonus of £1.292 million ($1.7 million) for the fiscal year that ended March 31. That, according to ISS, is "too large, in our view, for the level of performance." Patterson is heading for BT's exit door after a torrid couple of years, and ISS believes he shouldn't be bowing out with such a fat wallet. (See BT's Patterson Gets Tasty CEO Bonus as Troops Suffer, BT Waves Goodbye to Gorgeous Gavin, BT Left in 'Good State,' Says Outgoing CEO Patterson and Fat Cats Get Fatter as Jobs Go to the Dogs.)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has signed a procurement agreement with a number of players in the Italian telecom infrastructure sector as part of a program to trim costs and get back on track after a turbulent period. The contract, which runs for between three and five years from 2019, has been signed with Sirti, Sielte, Ceit, Sittel, Valtellina and Site, and covers the construction and maintenance of one part of TIM's fiber-and-copper network. (See Telecom Italia Names Genish CEO After Boardroom Battle and Telecom Italia Molders as Shareholders Feud.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is teaming up with Sudanese operator Sudatel to lab-test 4.5G Pro, 4.9G and 5G mobile technologies in Finland and Belgium with a view to deploying them in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. In particular, the companies will seek to find out if Nokia's AirScale radio access product range will be a good fit for Sudatel's mobile ambitions. The operator will also look to Nokia's passive optical networking (PON) fiber offerings to improve its customers' residential broadband experience, and plans to launch a fixed-broadband trial in Khartoum later this month.

  • Satellite communication specialists SatADSL and CETel have joined forces to offer a wider range of services in the Ku- and C-band across Africa and the Middle East. Under the terms of the agreement, SatADSL will provide CETel with its cloud-based service delivery platform, which will enable CETel to deliver virtual network operator (VNO) services to customers in a range of industry sectors, including energy, mining and construction.

  • IBM is trumpeting a number of cloud-related contract wins across Europe involving AI, blockchain and analytics. Among the deals signed: Koopman Logistics of the Netherlands is implementing IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s blockchain technology; Gruppo 24 Ore, an Italian media organization, is using IBM's Watson AI services to help with the processing of tax documents; and French bank Crédit Mutuel is deploying Watson virtual assistants across all its business lines. (See Unknown Document 744386.)

  • Swedish provider IP-Only Telecommunication AB has signed an agreement with the authorities on the island of Gotland (which lies 50 miles off the coast of Sweden) with a view to turning Gotland into a "Smart Fiber Island." The hope is that the project will promote community services and the development of new companies there.

  • Belgium's Proximus has extended its fiber rollout in Antwerp to reach the city's renowned diamond district, with the first building in the district being hooked up on Monday. [Editor's note: Maybe it will build a fiber ring!] The rollout forms part of a €3 billion (US$3.5 billion) plan to get fiber into seven Belgian cities by 2027. (See Eurobites: Proximus Secures €400M Loan to Further Fiber Rollout.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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