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Eurobites: Iliad gets on board with FiberCop in Italy

Also in today’s EMEA regional roundup: former Royal Mail boss in line for BT chairman role; Nokia wins at Delta Fiber; Brexit’s roaming ramifications.

  • FiberCop, the network infrastructure company controlled by Telecom Italia (TIM), has signed a co-investment agreement with France-based Iliad in a bid to accelerate fibre rollout in Italy. FiberCop is committed to ensuring FTTH coverage for 75% of Italy’s hard to reach ‘grey and black areas’ by 2025. Other stakeholders in FiberCop, which was set up earlier this year with an enterprise value of €7.7 billion, include KKR Infrastructure and Swisscom-owned Fastweb.
  • Other bigwigs – including retail industry knight of the realm Ian Cheshire – were apparently once in the running for the job, but it seems the next chairman of UK operator BT will be Adam Crozier, according to a Financial Times report (paywall applies). The vacancy arose after the resignation of then chairman Jan du Plessis following pressure from BT CEO Philip Jansen. Crozier has made ruled a number of high-profile roosts in his time, including Royal Mail, ITV and the Football Association.
  • Nokia has landed a 400G optical transport gig at the Netherlands’ Delta Fiber, supporting the operator’s FTTH rollout. Delta will use Nokia’s 1830 photonic service switch platforms, powered by the Finnish vendor’s photonic service engine technology. This deal forms part of a broader partnership with Delta to support its expansion plans, which also includes Nokia supplying XGS.PON access network and customer premises equipment.
  • The ramifications of Brexit for the UK continue with Vodafone’s announcement that EU roaming will no longer be included in all its plans. Instead, according to an announcement by Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam, the operator is adopting a new approach which will see roaming charges reintroduced for new and upgrading customers from January 2022 in the form of specific “passes”. In attempting to justify the new arrangements, Essam argues that the majority of Vodafone’s customers are “not regular roamers”, meaning that the continuance of free roaming forces more than half of Vodafone’s customers to pay for something that they don’t use. Commenting on the news, independent analyst Paolo Pescatore said: “The harsh realities of Brexit are becoming more evident, the gift that keeps on taking. Wholesale roaming rates will change given UK’s exit and this in turn will inevitably drive higher prices without EU protection. It’s a pretty easy decision for UK telcos. Phone users will now need to be savvier when travelling aboard. Some will have roaming included on higher priced plans and premium devices, while others will be forced to look at switching to Wi-Fi and take out local e-sim options.”
  • Satellite operator Intelsat is expanding its relationship with Orange to provide cellular backhaul services in French Guiana. Orange will draw on the capabilities of the Intelsat 10-02 (IS-10-02) satellite to upgrade and expand its existing 2G network and provide 3G/4G services to some of the most remote areas in the territory.
  • Israel-based Check Point Software Technologies has been recognized as a ‘market leader’ in Omdia’s latest Market Radar Mobile Security Management Solutions Report. The official thumbs-up, says Omdia, “highlights Check Point Harmony Mobile’s ability to deliver a comprehensive set of capabilities that help businesses protect data across application, network, and device attack vectors”.
  • Expereo, a Dutch company specializing SD-WAN and related matters, clearly has designs on the Middle East as it is opening a new Customer Support Excellence Center in Dubai. The ‘cloud-native’ facility will house more than 100 experts from 18 different nationalities speaking 32 languages, which should cater for most enquiries.

— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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