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Eurobites: DT Bids for Top Web Hosting Firm

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TalkTalk fined for data breach; DT trumpets "multi-IoT platform"; Combes questions France's commitment to capitalism; BT and Sky in network repairs rumpus.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has joined forces with private equity fund Hellman & Friedman to bid for Host Europe Group, one of Europe's biggest independent web hosting firms, Reuters reports. Host Europe is being sold by Cinven Ltd. , a private equity firm, and is valued at around €1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion). Deutsche Telekom, which plans to launch its bid through its web hosting subsidiary Strato , faces a rival suitor in the shape of United Internet AG , a German ISP.

  • UK broadband provider TalkTalk has been fined £400,000 ($507,668) for the data security breach it suffered last October, the BBC reports. The personal data of 157,000 customers was stolen in the "SQL injection" attack, which significantly dented TalkTalk's profits. The fine is the largest ever levied by the Information Commissioner's Office -- though it has the power to fine companies up to £500,000 ($634,563). (See TalkTalk Plummets on Security Woes and Polymorphic Attacks Reshape Security Landscape.)

  • France's Orange (NYSE: FTE) says it is preparing for a 5G deployment in 2020 by teaming up with Swedish equipment vendor Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) on a series of 5G trials. The two companies plan to work together on developing 5G "use cases" with the aim of carrying out trials and pilots next year. Besides testing "multi-gigabit" wireless services and "mission-critical" Internet of Things services, they plan to make use of SDN and NFV technologies as part of the collaboration.

  • German incumbent Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) trumpeted its launch of a "multi-IoT platform" at its cloud data center in Biere, Germany. The operator is clearly trying to address the fragmentation that plagues the IoT market by uniting various different vendor platforms in a single "House of Clouds/IoT," as Deutsche Telekom describes it. The company says it will gather and route data from sensors and machinery to the preferred platform and is currently supporting Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s Azure IoT Suite. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s Fog and the IoT platform from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. are set to become housemates very shortly. Let's hope they don’t all fall out in some kind of Big Brother meltdown.

  • Altice CEO Michel Combes has hit out at the decision by the French stock market regulator to block its attempt to buy the 22% of SFR it doesn't already own, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). Combes called the decision a "step backwards," adding that it "raises questions about whether we in France are ready to embrace capitalism or not." (See Altice Takes M&A Route to Impose New Strategy.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has accused broadband and pay-TV rival Sky of "sinking to a new low" for ditching BT's broadband network repair service -- which is operated by access unit Openreach -- in favor of one deemed to be cheaper and slower, the Daily Telegraph reports. Sky's switch came to light in a report produced by regulator Ofcom into the issue of whether Openreach should be completely split off from BT -- a move strongly supported by Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone UK , which are unimpressed by Openreach's customer service, but staunchly resisted by BT. John Petter, the chief executive of BT's consumer business, said: "To be complaining about Openreach's service on the one hand and then choosing in secret to degrade the service to customers suggests a surprising level of cynicism."

  • Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is claiming a Norwegian first for its use of NB-IoT technology, a variant of 4G, in a "smart parking" pilot in the city of Trondheim. The pilot, to be carried out with Trondheim-based Q-Free in January, will test out how sensors can tell drivers where parking is available and allow them to reserve parking spaces via their smartphones. Huawei and Swiss connected vehicles specialist u-Blox AG are also participating in the pilot. (See So, What Are We Calling Narrowband-IoT Today?)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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