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Sweden may sell shares in Telia; Sky, Openreach sign broadband deal

OTT Helps To Offset Pay TV Losses for Video Security Vendors

5G Survey: Despite COVID-19 delays, operator roadmaps still lead to 5G

COVID-19 reduces U.S. residential smart meter shipments over the short term but long term still looks positive

Southeast Asian broadband providers report varying performance amid COVID-19


Sweden may sell shares in Telia; Sky, Openreach sign broadband deal

TOP NEWS

* Sweden's next government may decide to sell all state-held shares in Telia Co. AB, writes Berlingske Tidende. Post general election, the new government may be compelled to divest out of Telia as a result of the telco's acquisition of Bonnier AB's Bonnier Broadcasting AB.

* Sky PLC has entered into a wholesale agreement with British Telecom's network arm Openreach Ltd., allowing Sky to provide superfast or ultrafast services to its broadband customers, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Sky may also become a retail seller of Openreach's new ultrafast services.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* An agreement on the European Union's planned digital tax implementation might be reached by the end of 2018, Reuters reports, citing Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, offered to add a "sunset clause" to the planned EU tax, proposing that the new tax would end once a global deal on the taxation of digital companies has been reached.

* Newen Studios Group is acquiring equity stakes in Netherlands' Pupkin and in Denmark's Nimbus, TBI Vision reports. The TF1 Group unit's acquisition of the two production companies is part of the company's plan to expand its footprint and add content to its distribution network.

* U.S. data center company Equinix Inc. has teamed up with an Irish cable company for the construction of a superfast 300-mile subsea cable across the English channel, U.K.'s The Telegraph reports. The connection will form a superfast internet link between France and England.

UK AND IRELAND

* FremantleMedia Ltd. is changing its branding to Fremantle, TBI Vision reports. The RTL Group unit's new brand name will be used on all the company's assets, but its corporate entity name will remain as FremantleMedia.

* An open letter, which has been signed by the Football Association, a number of members of the parliament and trade body U.K. Music, requests for Google LLC to discontinue accepting money from Viagogo in exchange of bringing the ticketing website at the top of the Alphabet Inc. unit's search results, London's The Guardian reports. The request from British groups and authorities comes shortly after reports that U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority would sue Viagogo in relation to lack of clear information in the tickets the company advertise.

* BBC Scotland is facing allegations that it is poaching journalists from rival STV Group PLC, U.K.'s The Times reports. The alleged move of the British Broadcasting Corp. unit is said to be related for the plan to launch a new station in Scotland in February 2019.

* Meanwhile, STV announced that it has appointed David Mortimer as the new managing director for STV Productions. Mortimer will oversee the company's production teams in Glasgow and London.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Vodafone Group PLC unit Vodafone Deutschland Gmbh announced it has launched a strategic digital partnership with the government of Lower Saxony. The partnership aims to push forward with digitization projects in the German state, including concrete measures to build gigabit-speed broadband networks there and optimize state-wide mobile coverage.

* Swisscom AG has selected Ericsson to deliver a new end-to-end 5G IP transport network to meet the mobile operator's demands for scalability, availability, performance, and lower latency, according to a news release. The end-to-end 5G transport network increases capacity, adds automation and provides advanced features for its radio and core networks that will enable extreme low latency and new 5G industry use cases.

* Axel Springer SE's BILD digital GmbH & Co. KG will use Taboola Inc.'s recommendation technology across its digital divisions, effective Oct. 1, according to a news release. Within the scope of the strategic partnership, content recommendations for increasing user activation and retention, as well as content marketing campaigns to monetize reach, are served on the basis of Taboola's technology.

FRANCE

* Rumors of a possible delisting drove Iliad's stock up, Les Echos reports. After losing nearly half its value in one year the stock neared the €110 mark on September 6, following the transfer of Xavier Niel's shares to a holding and after some analysts said this would be a good level for a take over, which at this price would only cost around €3 billion.

* For reasons of digital sovereignty, French intelligence services are looking to cease using the services of U.S. analytics company Palantir Systems Inc. that is in part financed by the Central Intelligence Agency, Les Echos reports. The government seeks to develop an alternative to the big data software provided by the company.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* VEON Ltd. announced that it has completed the sale of its 50% stake in Wind Tre SpA to CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. The company will use the €2.45 billion sale proceeds to reduce debt and for general corporate purposes. CK Hutchison now becomes sole owner of Wind Tre.

* Dutch technology company ICT Group NV announced that it has acquired the remaining 49% of the shares of Eindhoven-based startup ICT Mobile. The software solutions of ICT Mobile, together with software solutions of other business units within ICT Netherlands, will be consolidated into a new entity, OrangeNXT. No financial details of the deal were disclosed.

* Dutch Minister of media Arie Slob has opened the new television studios of the Christian TV channel Family7, reports MediaMagazine. The Family7 studios were expanded over the last two months to make more room for the production of content.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Norway-based smart TV over-the-top software provider Vewd Software AS announced the launch of an over-the-top solution named Vewd Atom, according to a news release. The new solution is expected to help operators in dealing with service expansion, security and scalability issues, among others.

* The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority has no power to block Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. from bidding for 5G licenses in Sweden, writes Dagens Industri. The PTS will soon hold 5G license auctions.

* Solidium Oy has bought 20 million additional shares in Nokia Corp. since June, writes Ilta Sanomat. The shares bought, which had a market value of €100 million, brings Solidium's stake in Nokia to 3.7%.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Vodafone España SAU added voice assistant Google Home to its pay TV platform as part of the V-Home portfolio, Advanced Television reports. Vodafone will make the new service, together with Google Home Mini, available on all of Vodafone One's convergent packages.

* Portugese cable operator Nowo teamed up with Eleven Sports Network Ltd to roll out an IPTV service that can be accessed through a newly launched TV set-top box, Telecompaper reports. The new service follows an exclusive soccer content deal between Nowo and Eleven Sports.

* The Italian government is set to review concessions on the management of television broadcasting and telecom services in the country, Reuters reports, citing Il Corriere's interview with Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio.

* A Spanish consortium composed of technical assistance consultancy BAa Consultors, Gradiant and the University of Vigo is helping Colombia in its local development of digital terrestrial television, Advanced Television reports. The project follows an agreement between the European Union in Colombia, DECOL and the National TV Authority in Colombia.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Microsoft Corp. has named Renate Strazdina to the new position of head for the Baltic states, Telecompaper reports, citing Vz.lt. The U.S. tech giant reportedly had separate directors for its Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian branches.

* Rostelecom PJSC is planning to raise its stake and become a controlling shareholder in Tele2 AB unit Tele2 Russia, Telecompaper reports, citing Kommersant. The Russian national operator plans to buy shares owned by state-owned VTB Bank (PJSC) in Tele2 Russia, although details on the deal's size are reportedly unclear.

* VEON's Russian mobile operator unit Beeline deployed an updated version of its mobile TV service Beeline TV for smartphones and tablets running on Apple Inc.'s iOS operating system, Telecompaper reports.

* Southeast Europe-based telecom operator United Group BV has issued a request for proposals for a full range of next-generation customer premises equipment, which will be rolled out in all markets where it does business. The move is in line with United Group's long-term investments in improving its infrastructure and services.

FEATURED NEWS

BBC's Bodyguard sets ratings record as OTT players step up UK investments: Media analysts hailed strong viewing figures for the BBC's new political thriller "Bodyguard" as a boost for the U.K.'s TV production sector, amid moves by tech giants such as Amazon and Netflix to increasingly rival the country's broadcasters.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Film & TV: Kagan box office report, week 35: The 2018 summer season ended on a strong note with the final weekly tally up 26.9% from $114.1 million in 2017 to $144.8 million in 2018. The summer season closed out with a $4.45 billion total, the fourth-highest summer on record.

Daniela Latini, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report.

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