Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia tests 5G in Oulu; French minister makes plea for market stability; BT boss minted.
Following decent quarterly results and talk this week of a potential tie-up between Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), the UK-based mobile giant has been performing well in early Friday trading, reports the BBC, adding 2.8% on the UK's FTSE 100 index. By contrast, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) slipped nearly 1%. (See Liberty Global Keen on Vodafone Tie-Up – Report.)
A test 5G network has been launched in the Finnish city of Oulu, reports YLE. The project, confirmed to Light Reading by Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), is a collaboration between Nokia, the University of Oulu and a dozen others and it will initially run as a closed network at the VTT Technical Research Centre, opening as a "public test environment" on the Oulu university campus next month.
The French economy minister thinks now is not the time for consolidation in the French telecom sector, reports Reuters, citing French newspaper Les Echos. Emmanuel Macron said: "Consolidation means less equipment, less networks and less jobs." Since Iliad (Euronext: ILD) arrived on the scene in 2012 with its low-cost model, the French mobile market has been unsettled, with the ultimate fate of Bouygues Telecom being the subject of much speculation. (See Eurobites: Bouygues Wants to Go It Alone.)
Still in France, Orange (NYSE: FTE) CEO Stephane Richard has been placed under formal investigation as part of a long-running legal case about alleged misuse of public funds, reports Reuters. In a statement emailed to Reuters, the carrier was keen to stress that the affair did not involve Orange, and related only to Richard during his time as head of cabinet of the finance minister.
BT boss Gavin Patterson is looking good for long-haul on his family vacation this summer. The Guardian reports that he has been paid £4.6 million (US$7.1 million) in cash and shares for his first year in the job, which saw him negotiating the proposed takeover of mobile operator EE , among other tasks.
Monday is a public holiday in the UK, so Eurobites will return on Tuesday, May 26.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading