Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ofcom proposes pain-free switching for mobile customers; French researchers find cure for WannaCry virus; Apple Pay on the march in UK; Ericsson monitors in Moscow.
Telia is hoping to boost its presence in the Scandinavian SME and SoHo (small office/home office) sectors with the €165 million (US$185.4 million) acquisition of Nebula Top, a Finnish provider of cloud services. Nebula Top employs 145 people and in 2016 reported net sales of €35.1 million ($39.4 million). The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.
UK regulator Ofcom is proposing a package of reforms that will enable mobile customers to switch from one provider to another simply by sending a text to the provider they wish to dump. And, in theory, the dumped provider would send a text straight back with a unique code that the customer in question would pass on to his or her new provider, who will arrange the switch within one working day. This would mean that switching customers no longer have an awkward call to make with their current provider. The proposal replaces a previous "one-stop" Ofcom plan, under the terms of which the customer would only have to deal with the provider they were moving to -- Ofcom claims that the revised proposal will be much cheaper to implement.
A group of French researchers says it has come up with a way to save Windows files encrypted by the WannaCry virus that began wreaking worldwide havoc on computer systems a week or so ago. Reuters reports that Europol has tested the fix and found that it indeed managed to recover data "in certain circumstances." (See Global Ransomware Attack Strikes 70K Systems (& Counting).)
More than half of in-store Apple Pay payment terminals in the UK can now accept transactions of any value, the Daily Telegraph reports. Previously, most of the card readers had been restricted to transactions of £30 ($39) or less, but a program of upgrades means that Apple Pay now has the edge over other contactless payment methods, which, for security reasons, still have the £30 ceiling.
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has landed an interesting deal in the Russian capital, where city network operator Moscow City Telephone Network (MGTS) has signed up for the vendor's Preemptive Support service. That service involves a combination of some analytics tools and Ericsson professional services personnel, who monitor MGTS's packet network infrastructure and make "actionable recommendations to the operator's technical team, enabling them to take preemptive measures to avoid critical incidents."
Still with the Swedes… Hi3G Scandinavia, which operates the 3 networks in Sweden and Denmark, is upgrading parts of its radio access and microwave transport infrastructure with gear from Ericsson, a move that will expand Hi3G's 4G coverage and lay the ground for 5G. According to the vendor, it is supplying its Ericsson Radio System to replace existing RAN gear in Sweden and is providing MINI-LINK microwave transmission systems in Sweden and Denmark.
Some great news from Tanzania, where an "ambulance taxi" service created by the Vodafone Foundation for high-risk pregnant women has reduced maternal mortality rates by 27% in its first year of operation. The service, comprising a fleet of taxis and a toll-free emergency phone line, had transported 2,887 high-risk pregnant women in the Sengerema and Shinyanga districts of the country. The drivers of the taxis are paid via Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s popular M-Pesa mobile payment platform. Before the service was launched, many women in such rural communities were not surviving pregnancy or were losing their babies, as there was no means of getting them to hospital. The video below shows how one particular mother, Consolata, benefited from the program:
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) so wants soccer fans to get with the 360-degree TV program that it is giving away Google Cardboard virtual reality headsets ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, which its BT Sport TV channel is screening in 360-degree VR on June 3. It's reassuring news for those who find watching Cristiano Ronaldo preening around the pitch in conventional TV formats not quite irritating enough.