What’s up with… TIM & FiberCop, Proximus & EQT, Swisscom

TelecomTV Staff
By TelecomTV Staff

Nov 27, 2020

  • FiberCop gets the green light from the EC
  • Proximus seals fiber network JV deal
  • Swisscom unveils 5G startup challenge shortlist

The ever-growing role of private equity firm investment in telecoms infrastructure dominates the lead items in today’s news roundup.

TIM (Telecom Italia) can proceed with the launch of FiberCop, its revamped fixed access network unit, following a seal of approval from the European Commission’s competition department. As a result, FiberCop – in which TIM will hold a 58% stake, private equity firm KKR a 37.5% stake, and FastWeb a 4.5% stake – is set to launch in early 2021, marking another step towards a potential merger of FiberCop with alternative fiber access broadband network operator Open Fiber. (See TIM buys into national Italian broadband plan.)

Proximus has agreed to form a fiber network joint venture with the infrastructure arm of private equity firm EQT, which will see the new partners invest in the rollout of a fiber access network covering 1.5 million properties in the Flanders region of Belgium. Proximus will hold a 49.9% stake in the joint venture. The agreement “illustrates our positive attitude towards cooperation and co-investment, which will be an important trigger to guarantee a faster, broader and more cost-efficient roll-out,” noted Proximus CEO Guillaume Boutin. The Belgian national operator says the deal will help it reach its target of reaching 4.2 million Belgian homes and business (70% of the national total) with fiber by 2028. For more details, see this Proximus press release. EQT has been busy this year – it has been linked with a potential bid to acquire Dutch national operator KPN, jointly acquired the Zayo Group (with Digital Colony), engineered a German fiber access merger between inexio and Deutsche Glasfaser and announced in August that it is buying EdgeConnex. Phew!

Swisscom has identified the 10 innovative young companies that have made it to the final of its Swisscom Startup Challenge, which is open to companies from around the world that have developed 5G applications or prototypes. The top five will be identified on 17 December and then travel to Switzerland in March 2021 where they will have the chance to “spend a week performing test cases on their 5G applications and prototypes at Swisscom’s 5G lab and in different locations and regions across the live network” and be mentored by industry experts from Ericsson, Qualcomm CDMA Technologies and, of course, Swisscom. Check out this press release for more details, including the names of the shortlisted startups.  

In a proof of concept trial conducted this month at Vodafone’s 5G Mobility Lab in Aldenhoven, Germany, the mobile operator and Ericsson successfully tested safe sky corridors for drones using intelligent aspects of the mobile network. See this announcement for further details. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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