Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT hooks up with Adyen for mobile payments; VEON revenues up 1.4% in Q4; BICS, Kaisa look to ease the big-ticket buying experience.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

March 21, 2024

3 Min Read
Vodafone logo on storefront
(Source: Vodafone)
  • Vodafone is looking for more than 300 "franchise partners" across the UK to sell Vodafone-branded products and services alongside "selected products from world-class vendor partners" to small businesses. Each successful franchisee will serve an exclusive local territory, their particular Vodafone Business IT Hub offering IT and communications support, including help with hardware, applications, connectivity and security. Applicants need to say how much they are prepared to invest, present a business case and secure appropriate premises.

  • In related territory, BT has teamed up with Adyen, a mobile payments platform, to enable small businesses to accept in-person contactless payments with tap-to-pay on iPhones, removing the need for card readers or other hardware. Businesses using the BT Tap to Pay app will have to pay BT a transaction rate of 1.4% on customer payments taken. The app uses the built-in features of the iPhone to keep business and customer data secure – when a payment is processed, Apple doesn't store card numbers or transaction information on the device or on Apple servers.

  • VEON saw fourth-quarter revenues increase 1.4% year-over-year, to reach $953 million, though EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was down 20.4%, to $364 million. For 2024, the operator announced its full-year revenue guidance of 16%-18% growth in local currency, EBITDA guidance of 18%-20% growth, and offered an outlook for the Group's capex intensity of 18%-19%. (See VEON plans to bring generative AI to its customers – CEO.)

  • Belgium's BICS is to supply connectivity for the Kaisa VoIP-based customer engagement platform, which is used by the likes of Toyota and Suzuki to personalize customers' "buying journeys" when they are considering high-value purchases, such as cars. As BICS explains it, car dealers might need to call to arrange a test drive, or customers might want to call with queries  – Kaisa enables this as part of the platform, and these voice calls (delivered over the Internet via SIP Trunking) and phone numbers are provided and managed by BICS.

  • AtlasEdge has opened a refurbished data center just outside the northern English city of Leeds. It acquired the facility in 2022 and has since spent more than £13 million ($16.5 million) bringing it up to Tier 3 standard, with an upgraded transformer and energy-efficient cooling systems, among other improvements. Colocation company Hardy Fisher Services has been named as the anchor tenant.

  • Telefónica Tech has teamed up with Serveo, a Spanish maintenance services company, on a pilot project looking at the use of drones to assess the impact of traffic accidents on Madrid's road system. The two companies carried out a 4.6km drone flight out of visual range from a maintenance center in La Cabrera to a simulated accident at a specific point on the M-631 highway, with the aim of optimizing the inspection of accidents and speeding up the response of the Serveo service in emergency situations.

  • Nokia has made some improvements to its WaveSuite optical network automation platform in a bid to reduce human error and help eliminate risks associated with network failures that affect end-customer service level agreements. One of the most significant changes, says Nokia, is the provision of support for network operators to better integrate business support systems (BSS) billing with optical network functions.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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