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August 6, 2021
By Paul Rainford
Also in today’s EMEA regional round-up: Paramount+ streaming service heading for Sky platforms; Saudi Telecom Company’s Q2 impresses; Virgin Media slide-tackles BT and Sky over TV soccer coverage.
Telecom Italia (TIM) and its international services arm, Sparkle, have been carrying out what they say is the first public demonstration of an “international quantum connection”. The demo took place at the G20 summit and used a system of (here comes the science part…) quantum cryptography to allow participants in Trieste (in Italy), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Rijeka (Croatia) to watch a video call and a live concert of three musical quartets. The test was carried out through three network nodes situated in the three countries involved, with fibre connections provided by TIM and Sparkle. The University of Trieste and the National Institute of Optics of the National Research Council (CNR) were also involved in the project. TIM clearly sees quantum technology as a potential growth area: earlier this week, Telsy, a cybersecurity company owned by TIM, completed its purchase of a minority stake in Quantum Telecommunications Italy (QTI), a start-up that operates in the quantum communications sector.
Paramount+, the streaming service owned by US media giant ViacomCBS, is to launch on all Sky platforms in the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria in 2022 as part of a new multi-year distribution agreement that also includes the extended carriage of ViacomCBS’ assortment of pay-TV channels and the renewal of Sky as an ad sales partner in select markets. Once Paramount+ launches on Sky, subscribers to Sky Cinema will get Paramount+ included at no additional cost.
Revenues at Saudi Telecom Company (STC) grew 6.56% year-on-year in the second quarter, to SR 15.89 billion ($4.24 billion), while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) reached SR 5.62 billion ($1.5 billion) – an increase of 5.34% compared to the corresponding quarter last year. The operator’s Enterprise unit was the chief contributor to STC’s growth, with revenues rising an impressive 29.3% year-on-year.
As England’s football season hoves inevitably into view (it starts on August 13), UK cable operator Virgin Media is modestly calling itself “the true home of televised football”, claiming that its football-hungry subscribers are able to make a saving of up to £319 over 18 months compared to equivalent bundles offered by pay-TV rivals Sky and BT. Virgin’s ‘Bigger + Sport’ bundle with Sky Sports channels in HD, priced at £76 per month, allows viewers to watch all Sky Sports and BT Sport channels – including the latter’s dedicated 4K BT Sport Ultimate channel – on Virgin’s V6 set top box or latest Virgin TV 360 service.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
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