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Eurobites: Telefónica, Microsoft expand cloud services partnership

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TIM makes quantum leap in RAN planning; MDS Global's new foodie CEO; Swisscom staff settle for 1% increase; and more.

  • Microsoft is planning to open new data center clusters in Spain, at the same time expanding its partnership with Telefónica, which will offer a range of Microsoft cloud services, including Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365, to its customers as well as using the tech giant's platforms and services internally as part of its digital sprucing-up. In a statement, Telefónica CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete described the opening of the data center regions in Spain as a "game changer," reiterating that the delivery of cloud services was a key priority for the operator. In November, Telefónica announced the launch of Telefónica Tech, a new division hoping to tap into the growth of digital services.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) claims it has become the first operator in Europe to use quantum computing algorithms in the planning of its mobile networks. The operator fired up a QUBO (quadratic unconstrained binary optimization) algorithmic model on D-Wave's 2000Q quantum computer to optimize cell IDs, which allow smartphones to distinguish one radio cell from another.

  • British BSS specialist MDS Global has appointed Steve Bowen as its new CEO, replacing Gary Bunney. Bowen, who previously spent ten years at Accenture, takes over following the acquisition of MDS by Volaris. He brings not only 25 years of tech industry experience but also some kitchen and drinks-cabinet skills – Bowen holds a cooking diploma from Leith's School of Food and Wine and currently owns restaurants in Bristol and Cardiff. So surely his business card will say chef executive officer…

  • Swisscom has successfully concluded salary negotiations with its labor unions: The 14,000 staff subject to the collective employment agreement will get a 1% increase, effective April 1. Don't spend it all at once, folks.

  • London's police chief, Cressida Dick, is calling for a "legislative framework" to govern the way the UK uses emerging technology such as artificial intelligence and biometrics. As Reuters reports, Dick was commenting on the police's use of facial recognition software, which has come under fire in some quarters for its human rights implications.

  • The MIRA Technology Park, an automotive R&D campus located in England's Midlands region, has teamed up with Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley based innovation platform, to create what they claim is the UK's first "Mobility Innovation Hub." The facility will concern itself with emerging automotive technologies such as those relating to electric, connected and autonomous vehicles.

  • Egyptian soccer superstar Mo Salah, who is currently doing his bit at Liverpool FC to render the outcome of the English Premier League a foregone conclusion, has been named by Vodafone as the first Ambassador for Instant Network Schools, a project that was set up in 2013 by Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR to give young refugees, host communities and their teachers access to digital learning content and the Internet in marginalized African communities.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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