What’s up with… TIM, Virgin Media O2, Meta

  • Half of all Italian staff caught up in TIM’s NetCo split 
  • Virgin Media O2 helps bring private 5G to the UK’s national health service 
  • Meta meets its match

In today’s industry news roundup: TIM (Telecom Italia)’s plan to split in two will reportedly impact half of its domestic staff; the UK’s health sector attracts more private 5G action; Dutch u-turn for Meta; and plenty more!

About half of Telecom Italia (TIM)’s staff in Italy – some 21,000 employees – are set to become part of the NetCo division that seemingly doesn’t have a long-term future as part of Italy’s national operator, reports Reuters. Under the current industrial plan of CEO Pietro Labriola, TIM will be split into two separate entities, ServCo and NetCo. ServCo, which includes TIM’s mobile and digital operating units, will remain as the core of TIM’s future business, while NetCo, which will comprise the fixed line access network assets and Sparkle (the international operating unit), will be broken up and offloaded, with the fixed line assets set to be merged with Open Fiber in a controversial move that is struggling to get the full backing of TIM’s major shareholder, Vivendi (as previously reported). 

Virgin Media O2 has joined the growing list of network operators that see the UK healthcare sector as a prime prospect for their private 5G network aspirations. The UK operator’s business division, Virgin Media O2 Business, has switched on what it is calling the UK’s first 5G-enabled hospital with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust as part of ongoing trials by NHS Digital. “The private 5G network provides dedicated connectivity for mission-critical digital health use cases for both clinicians and patients,” according to the operator. “The trials are investigating the efficiency, safety and security benefits of using smart, 5G-connected technologies in NHS hospitals – including IoT [internet of things], AR [augmented reality] and AI [artificial intelligence],” it adds in this press release. Earlier this year, Verizon Business identified healthcare as a prime vertical for its international private networks push as it struck a deal with health technology specialist Visionable, Juniper Networks and Capgemini for the trial of a private 5G network at a facility in south-east England. BT Enterprise has also highlighted the work it is doing to develop digital services and technologies for the NHS. 

Meta met its match in Zeewolde… Facebook’s parent company Meta has dropped plans to build a large datacentre in the Zeewolde area of the Netherlands following local and national opposition to the plan. You can read about Meta’s U-turn in this Dutch News report and see our previous coverage of this development here

The Republic of Ireland’s national operator Eir has completed a deal with InfraVia Capital Partners whereby the infrastructure investor will take a 49.99% stake in Fibre Networks Ireland, a subsidiary of the Eir Group. As a result of the deal, Fibre Networks Ireland has obtained €765m in financing that will allow it to “increase the pace of expansion of its fibre-to-the-home broadband network. On completion, this network will serve 84% of homes and businesses in the country, meaning Ireland is on the way to becoming one of the most fibre connected countries in the world,” according to the telco. 

China’s mobile operators added 275,000 5G base stations during the first five months of this year to take the total across the country to 1.7 million, according to the latest statistics from the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). As a result, almost 17% of the country’s base stations are now 5G enabled. The MIIT also reported that the Chinese communications sector generated revenues of 665bn yuan ($99.2bn) during the first five months of 2022, an increase of 8.5% compared with the same period a year earlier. For further details, see this report from China’s state news agency, Xinhua.  

A voice platform fault caused a service outage for more than 39 million customers of giant Japanese operator KDDI over the weekend, with service being restored after 40 hours of downtime, reports The Japan Times. 

Germany’s Umlaut, which was acquired by Accenture last year, has opened its 5G Campus Lab, a private Open RAN network that “enables companies across industries to design, test and implement ultra high-speed and low-latency connectivity solutions faster without having to invest in building their own network” – read more

Telecom industry veteran Mike Short is stepping down at the end of 2022 as chief scientific adviser at the UK government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) and is helping the DIT to find a successor. You can find out more about the role in this LinkedIn post from Mike – but don’t delay because the closing date for applications is 31 July. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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