Eurobites: TIM, Google get even cozier in the cloud

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: STC tests open RAN; Inflexion takes stake in Daisy Group; Ericsson fuels 5G for DTAC in Thailand.

  • Telecom Italia's cloudy collaboration with Google continues with the announcement that TIM, Google Cloud and bank Intesa Sanpaolo have signed the final agreements that will allow the bank to migrate a large chunk of its IT systems to Google Cloud, using an infrastructure set up in TIM data centers in Milan and Turin. The agreement also sees the opening of a center dedicated to startups working in the artificial intelligence field, with a training initiative to be set up jointly by Intesa Sanpaolo, Google and TIM. (See Eurobites: Telecom Italia cozies up to Google via Noovle acquisition and TIM teams with Google Cloud .)

  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC) reckons it is the first operator in the MENA region to test in-vogue open RAN technology on a live network. The operator hopes that open RAN will pave the way for "next-generation" wireless networks and improve the quality of real-time services.

  • Private equity firm Inflexion is to acquire a minority stake in the cloud computing arm of Daisy Group, a (much smaller) rival to BT in the UK business telecom services market. As the Financial Times reports (paywall applies), the deal values Daisy Group at more than £1 billion (US$1.3 billion).

  • Ericsson has landed a 5G RAN deal with Thailand's DTAC, supplying its RAN box of tricks to support DTAC's 5G services in the Bangkok Metropolitan area, the central plains and the eastern economic and industrial region of the country. The operator will deploy its network on the 700MHz band.

  • France's Orange is among a group of companies that have been chosen by the European Commission to look into the feasibility of designing, developing and launching a European-owned space-based communication system. The initiative is intended to strengthen European digital sovereignty and provide secure connectivity for EU citizens, businesses and public institutions, as well as providing global coverage for rural and "not-spot" areas.

  • Broadband traffic more than doubled in 2020 for Openreach – BT's semi-autonomous UK network access arm – according to figures released over the holiday period. The huge rise in home working was pinpointed as a key factor, though the increase in live sport being streamed by the likes of Amazon Prime Video also kept routers humming. Boxing Day (December 26) was the busiest day ever recorded by Openreach, with 210 petabytes zipping across Openreach's network. As well as serving BT customers' broadband needs, Openreach also provides connectivity to customers of Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen.

  • But it wasn't just video that Brits were streaming like crazy in 2020: Figures from the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) reveal that streaming now accounts for more than 80% of UK music consumption. And the top UK album of 2020? Lewis Capaldi's "Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent." You said it, Lewis.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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