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Eurobites: Orange Extends Netflix Partnership

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: VEON finds a new CFO; Bulgaria Sat beams up Ericsson; Swisscom chooses Springworks for IoT.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has renewed and expanded its distribution agreement with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the OTT video streaming giant. The Netflix service will eventually be made available to Orange TV customers in all of the French group's subsidiaries across Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with the rollout kicking off in Poland, which will get the service in the coming months. Other launches will follow in 2018. The two companies initially signed a distribution agreement for France in 2014, with Orange Spain joining the party more recently.

  • VEON , the Amsterdam-based but Russia-focused operator formerly known as VimpelCom, is changing the line-up on its top table. Out goes current CFO Andrew Davies -- though he will remain a member of the senior management team until the end of 2017 -- and in comes Trond Wrestlie. Wrestlie's resume includes stints at shipping company AP Moller-Maersk and Norwegian telco Telenor. Wrestlie will have to wrestle with, among other things, VEON's difficulties in Uzbekistan, where a huge currency devaluation threatens to wipe 5.5% off underlying annual profits for the entire group. (See VEON Issues Profit Warning on Uzbek Currency Meltdown.)

  • Bulgaria Sat has chosen Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) kit to help deliver UHD TV across the Balkans. The Swedish vendor will supply its AVP 4000 system encoders, 56 HD MPEG-4 services, three HD HEVC services and 46 standard definition MPEG-4 services. The deal will also allow Bulgaria Sat to offer the first 4K services delivered via Bulgariasat-1, which, according to the broadcaster, is the first geostationary communications satellite in Bulgaria's history.

  • In other Ericsson news, the vendor has hooked up with fellow Swedish outfit Net Insight AB (Stockholm: NETI-B) to integrate the latter's Sye offering into Ericsson's Unified Delivery Network (UDN) content distribution service. Sye is intended to "harmonize" the viewing experience during live streaming events, ensuring everyone sees the same content at the same time.

  • Springworks AB , the cloud IoT platform specialist that is part of Telia's connected car services program in Sweden and Denmark, has been chosen by Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) to become an IoT ecosystem partner and to play a role in an upcoming connected car services trial. (See How the Connected Car Experience Is Transforming Telia and Telia Wants Driving Seat in Connected Car Biz.)

  • HERE, the mapping services firm that was once part of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) but is now controlled by a consortium of German carmakers, is looking for a future beyond cars. HERE told Reuters that it is now hoping to see its wares find a home in "drones, trucks and advanced robotics."

  • Rovio Mobile Ltd. , the Finnish company behind the smash-hit Angry Birds game, is expecting its IPO to raise around $1 billion, according to a BBC report. The listing is scheduled to take place on the Helsinki Nasdaq on October 3.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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