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Eurobites: Orange Pushes On With LoRa

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: 3 fined for emergency services failing; Nokia wins Polish fiber deal; VR gets a call-up for Finnish soccer broadcast.

  • Continuing to stake out its territory within the Internet of Things, Orange (NYSE: FTE) is planning to cover the whole of France with its LoRa network by the end of the year -- as well as testing the interconnection of its LoRa network with that of another European operator in December within the framework of the LoRa Alliance. The operator says that more than 100 customers of its business services division has opted for its LoRaWAN offering in a range of industry sectors, including healthcare, "smart homes" and agriculture. This week Orange revealed that it is planning to add NB-IoT technology to its IoT mix, particularly in those markets that have a "Chinese infrastructure." (See Orange Plots NB-IoT Launch Outside France.)

  • UK mobile operator Three UK has been fined £1.9 million (US$2.4 million) by regulator Ofcom for failings in its emergency call service. After the operator notified Ofcom of a temporary loss of service, Ofcom found that emergency calls from customers in the affected areas of south-east England had to pass through a single data center in order to connect with the emergency services -- which meant there was single point of failure. In theory, 3's network should have been able to automatically divert emergency calls via backup routes in the event of a local outage, but, says Ofcom, these backup routes would also have failed because they were all directed through this one, vulnerable point. Responding in a statement to the fine, 3 acknowledged that it was at fault, but added that "this vulnerability has not had any impact on our customers and only relates to a potential point of failure in Three's network."

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and its joint venture partner, Infracapital, have been named collectively as the preferred bidder for a contract to build and operate a €300 million ($335 million) fiber broadband network in Poland. The deal is part of the EU-backed Digital Poland program, the core aim of which is to roll out fiber broadband across the country by 2020.

  • The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) and UNI Europa ICTS have joined forces to voice their disquiet over the European Electronic Communications Code, which forms a key element of the European Union's Digital Single Market strategy. In their statement, the pair say they are "concerned that that the relationship between this legislation and the creation of more employment and growth is not currently at the heart of the discussions," adding that in the "current [European] parliamentary debate, there is no relevant reference to the key objective of creating and defending European jobs in the telecoms sector and in the broader digital ecosystem." UNI Europa ICTS is part of the UNI Global Union, which represents more than 3 million telecom and ICT workers around the world.

  • Spain's Telefónica has teamed up with Chinese equipment giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd to open a research center devoted to NB-IoT. The NB-IoT Open Lab, in Chile, will begin operations in the next few months and is intended to allow vendors, service providers and others to deploy their services and applications over Telefónica's networks more easily and more quickly.

  • Spotify , the market-leading music streaming service, now boasts 140 million active monthly users, but only 48 million of them are paying to use it. As the BBC reports, the Swedish company's revenues climbed by around 50% last year, to more than €2.9 billion ($3.2 billion), but it made a net loss of €539.2 million ($601.8 million), more than double the loss recorded in 2015. The rival Apple Music service has 27 million paying subscribers.

  • Finnish soccer got the virtual reality treatment yesterday when Nokia's OZO cameras were used on the touchline to film the game between Helsinki and Jyväskylä, which was then streamed live over Telia 's mobile network and viewed by fans willing to don the appropriate VR glasses. It should help with those all-important offside decisions, if nothing else.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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