Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: GSMA trumpets NB-IoT roaming breakthrough; new CTO at Orange Belgium; ETNO fears intra-EU call regulation; Stirling work for CityFibre.
Shareholder pressure on BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) CEO Gavin Patterson is growing, with several expressing doubts that he is the right man to move the company forward, according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). Shareholders are now seeking a meeting with the BT chairman, Jan du Plessis, to discuss Patterson's future. Patterson has become the focus of shareholder criticism over the last year or so, as BT's share price languishes in the doldrums after trouble at its Global Services division and other confidence-denting issues. Just last month shares in BT slid 9% in London trading after it forecast another decline in sales and earnings in the current fiscal year. (See BT's Patterson May Be Running Out of Time and BT's Patterson Gets Tasty CEO Bonus as Troops Suffer.)
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) have successfully completed the first international roaming trial in Europe using licensed NB-IoT technology. The news is being trumpeted by the GSM Association (GSMA) , whose Mobile IoT Initiative has helped standardize licensed LPWA (low-power, wide-area) technologies including NB-IoT and LTE-M in 3GPP. The trial was carried out using global SIMs from Deutsche Telekom on Vodafone Spain's network and global Vodafone SIMs on T-Mobile Austria's network and commercial NB-IoT modules. IoT roaming technology is going to be critical in applications of NB-IoT in areas such as logistics, which may involved the tracking of containers across numerous international borders. (See DT, Vodafone Complete NB-IoT Roaming Trial.)
Ștefan Slavnicu has been appointed chief technology officer at Orange Belgium as from September, replacing Gabriel Flichy, who is off to Orange France to oversee its ongoing FTTH deployment. Slavnicu, a network engineer by training, was previously CTO at Orange Romania.
UK altnet CityFibre has teamed up with MLL Telecom Ltd. to offer businesses in the Scottish city of Stirling access to gigabit speeds. CityFibre has already installed 24km of fiber network in the city, which connects most of Stirling's public sector estate, including schools, libraries and other community-related venues.
Three UK is partnering with Superdrug for a new MVNO service aimed at the retailer's 12 million loyalty card holders. Eligible customers will be able to sign up for the contract-free service, which will cost £10 per month for unlimited calls and texts as well as 4GB of data, with any unused data "rolled over" to the following month. They will also receive extra loyalty points on their Superdrug purchases.