Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sigfox teams up with Africa's Liquid; Nokia reveals 5G device licensing rates; United Internet buys Austrian web-hosting company; India's Ola motors into Wales.

Iain Morris, International Editor

August 21, 2018

4 Min Read
Eurobites: DT Shutters Virtual Number Startup

In today's EMEA regional roundup: End of the road for virtual number startup; Sigfox teams up with Liquid Telecom in Kenya; Nokia reveals 5G device licensing rates; United Internet buys Austrian web-hosting company; India's Ola motors into Wales.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) appears to have shut down immmr, a startup spun out of the German operator's T-Labs unit in 2015 that was given the task of developing applications that would enable service providers to "bridge the gap between standard telco-based services and Internet communication to improve and enhance the customer experience." It developed a multimedia app offering virtual numbers that let anyone communicate from any device, but, according to a senior member of the startup's staff, DT has now pulled the plug on immmr's efforts. VP of engineering Sebastian Schumann announced on Twitter:

    Schumann noted in a subsequent tweet that some immmr staff may be redeployed by Deutsche Telekom in the operator's Technology & Innovation operation.

    Deutsche Telekom declined to comment on what it called "rumors about the development of immmr." (See How immmr Is Innovating in the Voice Comms World.)

    • French IoT specialist Sigfox has teamed up with pan-African data network operator Liquid Telecom to build out an IoT network across Kenya. Liquid Telecom plans to integrate 800 Sigfox base stations into its existing Kenyan network during the coming 12 months and then work with the French firm to offer training and education to local companies and developers keen to develop applications and make use of IoT connectivity. For the full story, check out the following article from Connecting Africa, our sister publication: Liquid Telecom Plans Expansive IoT Coverage in Kenya With Sigfox.

    • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), which has an extensive revenue-generating patent portfolio, says it expects to cap licensing rates for new 5G phones at €3 ($3.45) per device. In a statement about its 5G licensing expectations, the Finnish vendor said it had a "significant portfolio" of so-called standard-essential patents that it would license on FRAND (fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory) terms in line with industry practice. The company also indicated that it would determine licensing rates separately for other categories of devices following dialogue with "relevant industry participants." The earliest 5G smartphones are expected to arrive in the first half of 2019. (See Nokia to Cap 5G Device Patent License Fee and Ericsson vs. Nokia: Who's Ahead in 5G Right Now?.)

    • German broadband operator United Internet AG has acquired Austrian web-hosting company World4You, strengthening its position in the hosting and cloud application market. Founded in 1998, World4You currently has around 100,000 customers and more than 250,000 domains. United Internet says World4You will remain independent following the takeover. "The acquisition of World4You will enable us to extend our lead in the European hosting and cloud application business and significantly strengthen our market position in Austria," said Ralph Dommermuth, United Internet's CEO, in a company statement. "We are therefore continuing our strategy of complementing organic growth with targeted acquisitions." The financial terms of the takeover were not disclosed. (See DT Seeks Fiber Allies to Tackle Germany's Gigabit Lag.)

    • Ola, the Indian ride-hailing app company and Uber rival, has launched services in south Wales ahead of other parts of the UK. The company, which operates in India and Australia, has reportedly said it will pay drivers more generously than Uber does, work with licensed taxi drivers and provide better safety. The move already appears to have met with a backlash from taxi companies and unions in south Wales. Paul O'Hara of the GMB Union told the BBC that local companies had apps running long before Uber and Ola arrived. So there should be nothing to worry about, then? (See Uber Crashes Into UK Regulators, Loses London License.)

      — Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading, and Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Iain Morris

International Editor, Light Reading

Iain Morris joined Light Reading as News Editor at the start of 2015 -- and we mean, right at the start. His friends and family were still singing Auld Lang Syne as Iain started sourcing New Year's Eve UK mobile network congestion statistics. Prior to boosting Light Reading's UK-based editorial team numbers (he is based in London, south of the river), Iain was a successful freelance writer and editor who had been covering the telecoms sector for the past 15 years. His work has appeared in publications including The Economist (classy!) and The Observer, besides a variety of trade and business journals. He was previously the lead telecoms analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit, and before that worked as a features editor at Telecommunications magazine. Iain started out in telecoms as an editor at consulting and market-research company Analysys (now Analysys Mason).

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