Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Open Fiber resumes work on FTTH network in Italian coronavirus hotspot; Orange/Free Mobile roaming agreement extended; Deutsche Telekom's security unit teams up with Palo Alto Networks.
In a move that may enhance telecom bigwigs' not-always-untarnished reputation for doing the right thing, compensation-wise, BT CEO Philip Jansen has revealed that he will donate his salary – for the next six months at least – to the UK's National Health Service to help it in the fight against COVID-19 and to businesses affected by the crisis in his local community. It's just one of a series of measures announced by the operator, with a pledge to continue paying its employees in full "for the foreseeable future," complete with an annual 1.5% pay increase for non-managerial staff – though managers won't get theirs. (See Telco Fat Cats: Still Worth It? and Fat Cats Get Fatter as Jobs Go to the Dogs.)
Open Fiber has resumed work on the rollout of its fiber-to-the-home network in the Italian town of Vò, which had the unwanted distinction of being home to the first coronavirus-related death in the country but has since won plaudits for the manner in which in managed to contain the virus through extensive testing. Though lockdown is still in place, the town's mayor, Giuliano Martini, is hoping that the FTTH network, once complete, will help in the town's rebirth.
The roaming agreement between France's Free Mobile and Orange – making use of the latter's 2G and 3G network – has been extended for another two years, taking it to December 31, 2022. The extension came in the response to a request from Free Mobile.
Deutsche Telekom's Telekom Security unit has announced a collaboration with Palo Alto Networks which it is hoped will result in "joint offerings." Deutsche Telekom recently counted a peak of 71 million daily attacks on what it calls its "digital honeypots," with the corporate cloud increasingly becoming the hackers' number one target.
Vodacom and Safaricom have completed their joint-venture acquisition of M-Pesa, the popular mobile-money offering that was developed by Vodafone. M-Pesa is the largest payments platform on the African continent, with 40 million users generating more than a billion transactions every month.
T-Mobile Netherlands has registered to participate in the country's next spectrum auction, currently scheduled for June this year. (Though if current trends are anything to go by, that date could well shift…) (See 5G auctions delayed across Europe due to COVID-19.)
The Polish government is working on a Bluetooth-based smartphone app that could help trace people who have come into contact with those infected by COVID-19, Reuters reports. Europe is playing catch-up with Asia, where countries such as Singapore and South Korea have used smartphone technology extensively in the fight against the coronavirus. (See Researchers say smartphone location tracking can fight COVID-19.)
VEON, the Amsterdam-headquartered operator that is focused mainly on Russia and around, has appointed Serkan Okandan as group CFO. Okandan's resume includes CFO stints at Etisalat and Turkcell.
UK cable operator Virgin Media, which has already offered its TV customers seven of its most popular children's channels at no extra cost to help ease the coronavirus-lockdown pain, has now done something for the grown-ups too. From today (Monday), it will, until May 2, be giving its customers 18 of its most popular entertainment channels – such as as Comedy Central, Discovery, Fox, Gold and MTV – at no extra cost.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading