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Eurobites: Nokia appoints new head of strategy

Also in today's epoch-closing EMEA regional roundup: Swisscom's fiber rollout under investigation; ADVA plays a part in German open RAN trial; Prysmian touts teeny-weeny fiber.

  • In the latest twist to new-broom CEO Pekka Lundmark's corporate reshuffle, Nokia has appointed Nishant Batra as chief strategy and technology officer, effective from January 18, 2021. Batra joins from Veoneer, a Swedish automotive company. Where that leaves the current chief strategy officer, Gabriela Styf Sjöman, is unclear – according to a Nokia spokesperson, she is still in discussions about her future at the vendor. Another executive whose future at Nokia looked uncertain, Sandra Motley (currently president of fixed networks), is apparently staying at the company, despite Federico Guillén's recent appointment as head of IP and fixed networks. She is being moved, however, to a network infrastructure role, and will no longer be part of the group leadership team. (See Nokia managers at risk as CEO warns 'it may be time for change' and Nokia CEO lays out 5G turnaround plan as shares tank.)

    Nishant Batra: Pekka Lundmark's choice as Nokia's chief strategy and technology officer
    Nishant Batra: Pekka Lundmark's choice as Nokia's chief strategy and technology officer

  • The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) has opened an investigation into Swisscom's fiber rollout and ordered "precautionary measures" meant to grant its competitors greater access to its network. As Reuters reports, COMCO said: "In areas that [Swisscom] is expanding on its own, it is changing the design of the network in such a way that competitors no longer have direct access to the network infrastructure." In a statement, Swisscom said that it would "defend itself against the allegations levelled by COMCO and file an objection against the precautionary measures."

  • ADVA has had its technology chosen to play a part in Germany's first open RAN trial, being conducted by Telefónica Germany, which uses the O2 brand. Specifically, ADVA's carrier-grade network operating system, Ensemble Activator, will run on Edgecore's white box switches.

  • Italy's Prysmian Group is claiming a world first with its installation of a 180µm fiber-optic cable, which can be used in micro-ducts, for German public utility supplier Stadtwerke Landau a.d. Isar. The Sirocco Extreme fiber, says Prysmian, boasts the smallest diameter currently available as well as the highest fiber density for micro-cables. The installation will allow households and businesses in Landau to benefit from a high-performance FTTx and 5G network.

  • Swedish telecom regulator PTS is going ahead with its 5G spectrum auction after pressing the pause button last month while appealing a court ruling that went against PTS's earlier decision to ban Huawei gear from the country's 5G networks. As Reuters reports, the court's decision to partly grant the appeal leaves PTS confident that it will be able to proceed with the auction "in the near future." (See Eurobites: Huawei says it will bend over backwards for Sweden and No Huawei for bidders in Sweden's 5G auctions.)

  • Deutsche Telekom has reduced its stake in Ströer, an advertising billboard company, to below 10%. The operator remains the third-largest shareholder in the company.

  • Telekom Srbija has appointed Vladimir Lučić as its new CEO, replacing Predrag Ćulibrk. Lučić was already general manager at the operator, and has helped oversee its transition in recent years from traditional provider of fixed and mobile telephony to multimedia business.

  • Half-year revenue and earnings at TalkTalk fell victim to the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the continuing decline in "legacy" voice services. Revenue shrunk by 6.2% year-on-year, to £736 million (US$1.47 billion), while headline EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) slipped £18 million ($24.4 million), to £122 million ($165.8 million). In light of "ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty," the UK provider said that it was withdrawing formal guidance for the full year.

  • New figures from communications regulator Ofcom reveal that 8 million UK homes can now access gigabit broadband, though only 5 million of those are served by full fiber. The vast majority – 96% - of UK homes can now get "superfast" (definition: download speeds of at least 30 Mbit/s) broadband, though this figure falls to 81% in rural area. The Connected Nations report also found that there are now 3,000 5G transmitters across the UK – a tenfold increase on last year.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • What with one thing and another, this is the last Eurobites of 2020. Team Eurobites wishes its army of readers a large dose of peace, love and understanding for the festive season. See you all in the new year for more agile end-to-end solutions to the world's problems.

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