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Eurobites: Orange Bolsters African Presence With Subsea Deal

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom goes big in Bavaria; new MVNO targets hearing-loss sufferers; why telco customer experience (often) sucks.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) is to make a major -- though unspecified -- investment in MainOne, the west Africa submarine cable system. The French operator will gain additional capacity through the deal, bolstering its position in the African market. The partnership will see the construction and installation of two new branches and stations, which will connect the cable to Dakar in Senegal and Abidjan in the Côte d'Ivoire by mid-2019. Orange will own the cable station in Dakar. MainOne's current system comprises a 7,000km submarine cable, which was launched in 2010 and has landing stations in Nigeria, Ghana and Portugal.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is going big in Bavaria, with plans to build an additional 1,000 basestations in the region by the end of 2020. The operator also plans to upgrade a further 1,200 existing sites with additional services. As part of the project, DT is conducting talks with the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland, with a view to improving coverage in border-adjacent areas.

  • Vannin Ventures, the business incubator owned by Manx Telecom Ltd. , has done a deal with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) that will allow Vannin to use EE 's mobile network to launch a new MVNO, Goshawk, which will target the 11 million UK consumers who suffer from hearing loss. Its backers say Goshawk's technology offers its users "enhanced audio services" via their mobile device.

  • Could do better: That's the message being sent to the telecom industry by European consumers when it comes to the service they receive at call centers, according to a new study from LogMeIn. The report found, among other things, that only 39% of European consumers ranked the overall customer experience in a favorable light. The public have also yet to be convinced of the much vaunted benefits of chatbots: Only 32% believe that using a chatbot in some capacity, either alone or with the assistance of a human agent, provides the best results in terms of customer service.

  • Sky (NYSE, London: SKY), the UK-based pay-TV giant, has teamed up with Skybound Entertainment (no relation) for a new joint venture, Skybound Stories, that it hopes will create new "mobile narrative gaming experiences." The JV will draw on Sky's existing TV content and branding to create "character-driven narratives" where the player becomes "the protagonist," influencing the relevant storyline.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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