Eurobites: Orange writes a realities check

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Italy reconsiders single network plan; Nokia squints into the middle distance; Post Luxembourg taps Smartoptics.

  • Orange is investing an unspecified amount into the US-based Venture Reality Fund II, a venture capital fund looking to make a killing or two in the so-called "extended reality" sector, a catch-all term for more familiar technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and artificial intelligence. The French group believes that such technologies – which it says it has already been exploring for a number of years – will help "fast-track" the development of new 5G services, be they in entertainment, Industry 4.0 or medical research applications, for example. Orange says it is the first European company in the telecom sector to invest in the fund.

  • Italy's new government is to look again at the plan for a single, full-fiber broadband network that was being pursued by the previous administration. But, as Reuters reports, new Industry Minister Giancarlo Giorgetti said that the plan's approval would be conditional on the project coming under state control. Former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had ambitions to create a national network by merging broadband operator Open Fiber with the landline assets of Telecom Italia (TIM), but the whole convoluted project appeared to have run into the sand. (See EU could oppose Italy's single fiber network plan – report, Telecom Italia on track to create single fiber network and Telecom Italia desperate to control Italy's only fiber network.)

  • As it girds its loins for its Capital Markets Day presentation today, Nokia says it expects its total estimated addressable market to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 1% from 2020 to 2023, with its Network Infrastructure and Cloud & Network Services business units leading the way.

  • Post Luxembourg has chosen Norway-based Smartoptics to provide optical connectivity for its new 400G backbone network, which is being designed to support the 400ZR standard released in March 2020.

  • Vodafone is in line to make as much as €2.3 billion (US$2.7 billion) from the IPO of its Vantage Towers spinout, which is due to start today in Frankfurt. As Reuters reports, the UK-based group has priced shares in Vantage at €24 each. Vantage currently has around 82,000 macro sites spread across ten European markets, though plans are afoot to increase that number. (See Vantage Towers IPO is a goer.)

  • Transatel, the France-based MVNO enabler, has teamed up with VMware to offer a way for employees working outside of company premises to avoid home broadband access interruption or voltage reduction. The collaboration allows VMware SD-WAN to steer traffic onto Transatel's more secure LTE/5G link to keep the data moving as it should.

  • UK-based Colt Technology Services has been taking part in a 400G managed spectrum trial with Windstream Wholesale. Colt made use of the Windstream Flex grid open line system between Chicago and Ashburn, Virginia, to build a 600G wavelength using its own coherent transmission system and delivering multiple 100GE and 400GE services.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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