* Timm Degenhardt, CEO of German cable network provider Tele Columbus, operating as PYUR, will be leaving the company in August 2020, reports Handelsblatt. Degenhardt would not be extending his contract due to changes to the executive board.
* U.K. regulator Competition and Markets Authority officially launched an investigation into Google LLC's acquisition of analytics company Looker Data Sciences Inc. to establish whether the transaction could lessen competition in the market. The CMA served an initial enforcement order to Google and parent company Alphabet Inc. on Dec. 4.
* Telefónica SA will bring down the amount of equipment it will buy from China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for the development of its 5G core network in Europe, Reuters reports, citing Chief Technology and Information Officer Enrique Blanco. The Spain-headquartered operator's decision was "a purely technical decision," the executive was quoted as saying.
* U.K.-based DAZN expects to be an aggressive player when rights to several of the top U.S. sports leagues enter the negotiating cycle over the next couple of years. Joe Markowski, DAZN executive vice president for North America, speaking at a sports industry conference in New York on Dec. 17, said the streaming proponent plans on being in the mix as rights negotiations face off over the next 18 months.
UK AND IRELAND
* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. opened its 5G innovation and experience center in London to promote collaboration between businesses and innovators in the development of 5G ecosystems. The center exhibits real-time and interactive gaming, virtual and augmented reality technologies and smart manufacturing.
* Dan Hennessy stepped down as managing director of technology at Liberty Global PLC, Light Reading reports, citing an internal announcement. Baptiest Coopmans, the cable operator's senior vice president of technology operations, assumed Hennessy's duties in a "caretaker role," according to the report.
* Actress and writer Natalie Dormer teamed up with FremantleMedia Group Ltd. to launch Dog Rose Productions, a London-based production company, TBI Vision reports.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE is expecting to receive final bids for the sale of its U.S. production business, Red Arrow Studios International GmbH, in January 2020, Reuters reports, citing sources. The business is attracting interest from AMC Networks Inc. and All3Media Ltd.
* Deutsche Telekom AG is acquiring a 25% holding in esports company SK Gaming GmbH & Co. KG. The company has been a sponsor of SK Gaming since 2018.
* Deutsche Bahn AG wants to push forward the broadband expansion and opened its fiber-optic network for telecom companies to use its fiber capacities along DB data lines in Germany. The DB network extends over 18,500 km across the country.
* Electronic books and magazines will only be subject to a 7% value-added tax in Germany, beginning Dec. 18, Boersenblatt reports. This means electronic publishing products, including databases, are subject to the same tax rules as printed work.
* French telecom regulator ARCEP shared its opinion on the financial terms related to 5G allocation with the government. Allocation for the 3.4 GHz to 3.8 GHz band is based on a mixed allocation process. Reserve prices range from €350 million for 50 MHz blocs to €70 million for 10 MHz blocs. The French government adopted ARCEP's recommendations, Reuters reports.
* In more ARCEP news, the regulator confirmed its decision to freeze the notice of termination to publishers distributed by Presstalis SAS for six months. The decision will grant more time to finish its consultation aimed at modernizing and strengthening the efficiency of press distribution in France.
* Orange signed a partnership agreement with American Tower Corp. unit ATC France to support the accelerated deployment of its mobile network. Between 900 and 2,000 new mobile network sites located mainly in rural areas and along transport routes will be deployed within the 2020-24 period.
* Iliad SA's Free will offer Netflix Inc. as an option to selected subscribers of Freebox Revolution.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* T-Mobile Netherlands BV announced plans for a merger with its subsidiary Tele2 Netherlands NV, effective Jan. 7, 2020, TotaalTV reports. The legal merger reportedly comes a year after the company acquired a 75% stake in Tele2 Netherlands, and is the latest step in the integration and simplification of the organization.
* Proximus announced the expansion of its fiber rollout in the city of Kortrijk, Belgium. The operator already covered all seven business parks in the city.
* Proximus CEO Guillaume Boutin wants governments to quickly clarify whether or not to cooperate with Chinese suppliers in the implementation of 5G networks, Datanews reports. Questions have reportedly been raised on whether Chinese suppliers have close ties with the Chinese government and therefore involve a risk of espionage.
* Norwegian broadband and IPTV provider Altibox AS, a subsidiary of Lyse AS, fully acquired fiber infrastructure company Skagenfiber AS. Altibox added that Skagenfiber will build a new fiber cable from Larvik, Norway, to Hirtshals, Denmark.
* Finnish telecom operator DNA Oyj, which was acquired by Telenor ASA, launched a 5G service called DNA Home 5G. The service offers customers broadband over 5G in areas without fiber-optic connections.
* Telenor Denmark signed a deal to use Nord Energi's fiber network, allowing the operator to offer broadband services to customers in Denmark's northern Jutland region.
* Swedish TV company TV4 AB is shutting down the C More streaming service for customers of Com Hem AB, Dagens Nyheter reports. Com Hem stopped transmitting TV4's channels last week after Com Hem owner Tele2 AB and TV4's new owner Telia Co. AB failed to reach a new distribution agreement.
* Sky Ltd. unit Sky Italia SRL struck an agreement to use Fastweb SpA's infrastructure in line with its planned launch of broadband services in early 2020, Telecompaper reports, citing Il Sole 24 Ore.
* Euskaltel SA is in final talks to operate under the Virgin Media in Spain, Advanced Television reports. The potential deal will not include Euskaltel operations in Euskadi and Navarra regions, which is operated by its subsidiaries R Cable y Telecomunicaciones Galicia SA and TeleCable de Asturias SAU.
* Sports streaming service DAZN acquired exclusive broadcasting rights to the semifinals and final matches of the FIFA Club World Cup in Spain, Digital TV Europe reports.
* Spanish soccer club Real Murcia launched a new mobile virtual network operator, called Movilgrana, on the Yoigo and Orange Espagne SAU network, Telecompaper reports, citing Movilonia.
* U.S. businessman Mikayel Israyelyan, who also is CEO at Muse Lifestyle Group, acquired a majority stake in New York-based Russian-language television network RTVI from its Russian owner Ruslan Sokolov, Reuters reports, citing a spokesman. Sokolov no longer holds a stake in RTVI following the transaction.
* The Czech Republic may push back its auction for 5G frequencies to mid-2020, from the earlier planned January 2020 schedule, to widen participation, Reuters reports, citing Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček's statement to CTK. The Czech government plans to open the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands for auction.
* Ruslan Kaftanaty fully acquired Russian over-the-top platform tvzavr by buying out the 75% stake owned by Elena Subbotina, Broadband TV News reports, citing Telecom Daily. Kaftanaty also acquired related businesses, including MoviesChain, from Subbotina and intends to bring the businesses into a single holding.
* M7 Group SA, which operates Hungarian direct-to-home platform UPC Direct, entered into an agreement with RTL Hungary to continue broadcasting RTL channels, the Budapest Business Journal reports, citing a news release. On top of the existing RTL channels, the agreement will also add Film+ HD and RTL II HD channels soon.
5G Focus: Vodafone NZ rollout; Russian telco tie-up; Nokia's Japanese deals: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It also features in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.
Global Multichannel: Portugal fiber to reach 50% market share in 2019: Portugal has been at the forefront of fiber development in Western Europe, as DSL fades to less than a 15% share of the market in 2019.
Economics of Internet: Sports OTT in Western Europe: A vast array of options for the sports fan: During the past few decades, sports have been driving the uptake of multichannel services. Recently though, we have witnessed a rapid increase in the number of available sports streaming video services that target different consumer demographics.
Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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