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Eurobites: BT Considers Dutch Towers Sale

Paul Rainford
8/20/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telia Denmark CEO leaves; EE irked by Three UK's 5G advertising; CK Hutchison billionaire fancies an Old Speckled Hen.

  • BT is looking to offload £100 million ($120.7 million) worth of telecom infrastructure in the Netherlands, according to City AM, citing a Sunday Times report. Towers and broadband cables are among the equipment being considered for sale, which is being presented as part of CEO Philip Jansen's simplification plan for the UK incumbent. (See Eurobites: Worldpay's Jansen Lands BT Top Job, BT's Jansen: We Need to Talk About Openreach and No Quick Fix for New BT, Vodafone Bosses.)

  • Telia Denmark CEO Morten Bentzen is to leave his company at the end of this month, his role being taken on an interim basis by Thomas Kjærsgaard, currently head of Telia Denmark's enterprise unit. Bentzen joined Telia in 2004 and took on the position as CEO in Telia Denmark in 2015. In a LinkedIn post, Bentzen said: "I have decided that it is now the right time for me to try out new challenges outside Telia. What it is, I don't know yet, I'll use the next time to find out … I will undoubtedly miss my many talented and amazing colleagues and the merciless competition in the telecommunications industry that has been so much a part of my life for so many years."

  • Look out, 5G wars have broken out -- in the UK at least. The Guardian reports that EE, the mobile operator owned by BT, is understood to have filed a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about Three UK's ongoing newspaper and social media ad campaign, which carries the boast: "If it's not Three, it's not real 5G." Three's claim is based on the fact that it holds more 5G-friendly spectrum than any other UK operator, including a contiguous block of 100MHz that supports "ultrafast" speeds garnered when it bought fixed wireless access startup UK Broadband in 2017. But does that make EE's 5G offering any less "real"? Hmmm… Three can probably expect a rap on the knuckles and a "let's hear no more about it" ruling from the ASA shortly. (See Eurobites: Three UK Plugs In 5G Home Broadband Service.)

  • Sky, the UK-based pay-TV giant, has launched a new broadband offering that it says is 12 times faster than its standard product. Sky Broadband Ultrafast, as the new tier is called, offers average download speeds of 145 Mbit/s and 285 Mbit/s, depending on which sub-tier is chosen, from £39 ($$47) a month. The new offering is available to more than 2 million UK households, says Sky, with rollout continuing throughout this year and the next.

  • Fancy a pint of Old Speckled Hen? Seems like Li Ka-shing, Asian moneybags and owner of the aforementioned Three UK, amongst many other telco assets, might have acquired a taste for the British ale, as he has agreed to buy the company that brews it, Greene King, for $3.3 billion. As well as brewing beer, Greene King operates more than 2,700 British bars, restaurants and hotels. It's your round, Li.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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