Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Infracapital acquires half of SSE Enterprise Telecoms; Amazon teams up with HERE for connected cars; BBC plays catch-up with its catch-up service; TIM hires new trio; Ericsson tests 5G with T-Mobile US and Intel.
Pay TV giant Sky , which is now part of the Comcast empire, has taken an unspecified stake in Synamedia , the company formed when private equity firm Permira acquired Cisco's video software business last year. Sky and Comcast are both existing Synamedia customers, along with about 200 other pay TV, media and communications services companies such as AT&T, Charter, Disney, Foxtel, Liberty Global, Verizon and Vodafone. "We've long collaborated with the team at Synamedia to help bring great content, products and entertainment to millions of customers across Europe and this investment will help deepen our innovative partnership," stated Andrew Griffith, Sky's Group Chief Operating Officer, in an official statement about the investment. The companies are not providing any details about the transaction, other than to say that Sky has taken a minority stake in the video tech firm, which is one of the many flogging its wares at the CES show in Las Vegas this week. (See Synamedia Adds Sky as an Investor, Synamedia To Show Off at CES , Comcast Locks Up Bulk of Sky Shares and Synamedia CEO Seeks New Video Service Tangents .)
Reliance Communications Ltd. (RCom) is hoping that Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) will call off the legal hounds now that it has deposited $18.6 million with India's supreme court registry, which is around a quarter of what Ericsson says it is owed by the Indian operator, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). Last week the Swedish vendor filed its second contempt petition against RCom's chairman, Anil Ambani, asking that he be jailed in a "civil prison" and be barred from travelling overseas for failing to pay the debt, which he had personally guaranteed. (See Eurobites: Ericsson Seeks Jail for RCom Chairman Over Unpaid Debt.)
Amid the clothes-folding machines and cute-but-probably-useless robots at the CES show in Las Vegas comes news that Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is teaming up with HERE Technologies , the location-based services outfit that used to be part of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), to get its Alexa voice slave into tomorrow's connected cars. For more details, see this story on our sister site, Telecoms.com.
The BBC clearly feels that its popular iPlayer is being somewhat left behind in the streamed video-on-demand stakes and has launched a public consultation with a view to making its home-grown content available on the platform for at least 12 months -- as opposed to the measly 30 days that typically applies now. It is also hoping to offer up more of its massive archive to interested viewers.
Telecom Italia (TIM) , which had a turbulent 2018 as activist investor Elliott tussled with Vivendi to gain control of the operator, has made three senior-level appointments to help steady the ship: Carolia Bardelli (previously head of Italian Equity Research) becomes chief of investor relations; Simone Cantagallo (previously director of communication and responsible gaming policies at IGT-Lottomatica) becomes chief of institutional communication; and Carlo Nardello (previously of chief of staff of the Alitalia Extraordinary Commissioners) becomes chief strategic development and transformation officer. (See Telecom Italia Caught in Clash of Clans While Rome Burns.)
Ordnance Survey, the venerable British mapping institution, has teamed up with Intel-owed Mobileye to deliver road network location data for a range of verticals, including the connected autonomous car market. The combination, which was announced at CES, will marry Ordnance Survey's geospatial expertise with Mobileye's automotive camera-based mapping capabilities.
Meanwhile, over in 5G demo corner… Ericsson has joined forces with T-Mobile US Inc. and Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) to make what it claims is the world's first 5G data video call over 600MHz. During the tests, which were carried on a live commercial network, the threesome say they generated a 5G signal capable of covering a 1,000 square miles from a single tower. T-Mobile also managed to complete a tri-band 5G video call with three users on different spectrum bands -- 600MHz, 28GHz and 39GHz.
"SIM swapping" scams, in which fraudsters exploit a vulnerability in mobile networks to port a phone number to a new SIM card or network and then gain access to other people's bank accounts, are on the rise in the UK. As the Daily Telegraph reports, police in the City of London revealed that there had been a 67% year-on-year rise in the number of victims reporting this crime in 2017.
TV licence consultation? Would rather the BBC had a public consultation about abolishing the TV licence. An outdated stealth tax. They can then charge consumers to use their iPlayer like other OTT players, and at least people then have the choice of paying to watch BBC programs instead of being forced and threatened into paying for it whether they want to or not.