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Eurobites: Vodafone Plans to Raise $4.5B With Bond Issue for Liberty Global Deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Romania's opposition opposes Huawei; Sky launches streaming service in Austria; Openreach invests in Scottish fiber academy.

  • UK-based Vodafone Group has hatched a plan to raise around €4 billion (US$4.5 billion) by selling convertible bonds to bankroll its acquisition of parts of Liberty Global's European empire. As Bloomberg reports, the bonds issue will help Vodafone pay the $22 billion price tag attached to Liberty Global's German and Eastern European units. (See Liberty Global's European Shrinkage and European Commission Digs Into Vodafone-Liberty Global Deal.)

  • Huawei heebie-jeebies, part 94: Romania's largest opposition party has said it is "crucially urgent to block any public deals, contracts, tenders with the Chinese company [Huawei]," and hopes to trigger a public inquiry into the vendor's contribution to the country's critical infrastructure, according to a Reuters report.

  • Pay-TV operator Sky has launched a contract-free streaming-only service in Austria, called Sky X. As DigitalTV.com reports, Sky X will offer a range of channels, including Sky 1, Sky Atlantic and Sky Sport Austria, and will be available via the Sky X app on smartphones, tablets, computers, games consoles and smart TVs.

  • Openreach, the quasi-autonomous network access arm of BT Group, will invest £485,000 ($637,000) in a national fiber training school for Scotland. Trainees will be able to learn their craft in an 18,700 square feet replica street built from scratch to recreate a real-world network. It is expected that more than 2,000 engineers from all over Scotland will be trained at the school, which is located in the town of Livingston.

  • Telia plans to bring Nokia's FastMile 5G gateway -- which delivers 4G-5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) to homes without a decent fiber connection -- to the Finnish market. The first consumer pilots of the device are expected to start in the spring.

  • BT is collaborating with the British Asian trust on a three-year program that will aim to use digital technology to empower young people, and particularly adolescent girls, in India. One of the strands of the program is called "IT for Change," and will include the creation of digital labs in schools to train girls and their teachers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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