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Sky to offer NBCU streaming service; German court dismisses Apple, Qualcomm suit


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Sky to offer NBCU streaming service; German court dismisses Apple, Qualcomm suit


* Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal Media LLC will enter the direct-to-consumer streaming arena early in 2020 with a hybrid ad-supported offering. The service will draw from NBCU's content libraries, including original and licensed fare. Sky PLC customers will be able to access the yet-to-be-named service at no cost, while an ad-free version will be available for a fee.

* Apple Inc. won the dismissal of a patent lawsuit filed by Qualcomm Inc. in Germany, Reuters reports. The regional court in the city of Mannheim said the Qualcomm patent in question was not violated by the installation of its chips in Apple's smartphones.


* Nokia Corp. will cut about 350 full-time positions in Finland in 2019 as part of its cost-saving measures. The company will also cut 107 jobs in Antwerp, Belgium, Knack reports. The planned layoffs will reportedly be done in phases over 2019.


* Diederik Karsten is stepping down as Liberty Global PLC's executive vice president and chief commercial officer July 1 in connection with a larger operating structure simplification, according to a Form 8-K.

* ITV PLC will adapt novel Belgravia for TV, TBI Vision reports. The period drama will be produced by NBCU-backed Carnival Films.

* U.K. video software provider Synamedia has extended its contract with Thai pay TV operator TrueVisions. Under the agreement, Synamedia VideoGuard will be used by TrueVisions to secure its content, including the content to be rolled out via an Android TV set-top box this year.

* Channel 4 (UK) has commissioned a six-episode second season of sitcom "Stath Lets Flats." Channel 4 commissioning editors Jack Bayles and Jon Petrie will oversee its production.


* NCG Commerce GmbH, ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE's ecommerce arm, has acquired a majority stake in Aroundhome from its founders and investor General Atlantic in a transaction valuing the enterprise at €140 million. With the acquisition, the NuCom Group increased its stake in Aroundhome to 94% from 42%.

* Germany's Cartel Office has confirmed that International Business Machines Corp. plans to acquire certain assets from Deutsche Telekom AG unit T-Systems International GmbH, following a report by Handelsblatt.

* Rival operators Sunrise Communications Group AG and Salt Mobile SA are both eyeing 5G frequencies in a Swiss government-led auction scheduled for January, Reuters reports. Swisscom AG is also likely to participate in the auction, through which the government expects to earn at least CHF220 million if there are bids for all frequency blocks on offer.

* RTL Group has named Kirsten Nachtigall media manager of its marketing department, effective Feb. 1. Meanwhile, Henning Nieslony has been appointed manager for the commercial management of the video-on-demand division at RTL.

* Primevest Capital Partners Deutschland has announced fresh investment in fiber-optics in the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region via its Primevest Communication Infrastructure Fund, together with fiber network project developer and network operator BBV Deutschland.


* Iliad's Free has announced that Tunisia is now included in its 25GB-per-month data roaming allowance. The offer forms part of the Free Mobile Plan, which costs €15.99 per month for Freebox subscribers or €19.99 per month for non-Freebox subscribers.


* Dutch radio station Radio Royaal will be available in Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland and Utrecht on FM and DAB+, effective Feb. 1, Media Magazine reports. As a result, Radio Decibel will be relocated to the digital radio package of Ziggo NV.


* The Norwegian Communications Authority is upholding its ruling that Telenor Norway must pay a fine of 4 million Norwegian kroner for failing to give the regulator information about its pricing for mobile virtual network operator using its network. The Telenor ASA unit's responses to the ruling have not changed Nkom's opinion about the grounds for the penalty.

* The Danish police has suspended the investigation into the leak of information from telecom group TDC A/S concerning a takeover bid, Berlingske Business reports. The police have not found the person responsible.

* Managed service provider SDNbucks has tapped Nokia for its Nuage Networks SD-WAN 2.0 solution, to provide fully managed connectivity for its sports data intelligence company SciSports. The solution will interconnect sports stadiums, research centers and a cloud-based application engine.


* Spanish regional operator Euskaltel SA is eyeing €800 million in annual revenues by 2022 as part of its recently unveiled business plan. Euskaltel has also created an operations and transformation division to be led by Charo Lacal. The company, in partnership with PEGA Systems, will also form a customer decision hub to improve the way it addresses the needs of its subscribers.

* The Spanish Supreme Court upheld its decision to annul €120 million of fines imposed in 2012 on Telefónica SA, Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone España SAU and Orange SA's Orange Espagne SAU over supposedly excessive charges on text and multimedia messaging services, Telecompaper reports, citing Expansión. The fines were imposed by the now-defunct antitrust regulator CNC.

* Mediawan SA has acquired a majority stake in Palomar, an independent Italian producer of series, films and documentaries. The Mediawan group will become Palomar's majority shareholder with a 72% stake; the remaining 28% will be held by Carlo Degli Esposti, founder and director of Palomar.

* Enel SpA unit Enel Open Fiber SPA rolled out its gigabit fiber-optic service in Florence, Italy, Telecompaper reports. Residents can sign up for a broadband connection via partner telco Wind Tre SpA.

* Telecom Italia SpA named telecom industry veteran Alessandro Picardi as chief of public affairs, effective Feb. 1. Picardi, who previously worked at Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA and Sky Italia SRL, will replace Francesco Russo.

* The Spanish government will earmark €50 million in the 2019 budget to assist Spaniards in the second round of migration to digital terrestrial TV, Advanced Television reports. The migration will begin in February upon the approval of the new DTT migration plan.


* Former Polish security services officer Piotr Durbajlo, who was arrested with a Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. employee, has been accused of spying for China while in government service, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing an official close to the matter. Durbajlo reportedly gained access to sensitive databases since he had high security clearances, allowing him to perform the alleged espionage.

* Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor has repeatedly ordered Google LLC to connect to the federal online content filtering system, in accordance with a law that took effect October 2018, Telecompaper reports, citing Prime. Roskomnadzor planning to check the Alphabet Inc. unit's compliance with the regulation by end-February.

* Telewizja Polska SA is launching the TVP Wilno channel in Lithuania, Broadband TV News reports, citing Satkurier. The channel, which targets Polish citizens in Lithuania, will be made available on digital terrestrial TV.

* Dragan Bujosevic will remain director general of RTS after the Serbian public broadcaster's board approved the validity period of his employment contract, Broadband TV News reports, citing a statement.


Data Dispatch: Analysis: 'Tougher year' ahead as Netflix manages growth, debt amid volatility: Analysts said recent strategic announcements indicate Netflix executives recognize that volatile market conditions and rising interest rates make the prospect of issuing more debt a less tenable strategy for the company in 2019.


Economics of Internet: OTT roundup, Q4'18: Service launches dominated over-the-top headlines in the fourth quarter of 2018, with a trio of news-related offerings from CBS, Fox and NBC making their debut.

Daniela Latini, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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