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Eurobites: Vodafone & Three Face Net Neutrality Probe

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia and Orange spread 4G across Africa; smartening up a vertical city; spectrum sharing in Egypt; part-time apprenticeships.

  • Mobile operators Three UK and Vodafone UK are being investigated by regulator Ofcom on suspicion of contravening net neutrality rules by manipulating data flows for certain customers on certain services. As the Daily Telegraph reports, both companies could face a fine equivalent to 10% of their annual turnover if found guilty of the charges.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) are planning one of Africa's largest ever 4G rollouts, upgrading Orange's radio access network across seven countries to improve mobile broadband for more than 60 million subscribers. Around 11,000 radio sites will be modernized in the project, which has already seen the setting up of a West and Central Africa Support Center to oversee its progress.

  • Orange is also getting active in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, where its Business Services arm has signed a smart city consulting agreement with the developer behind the construction of what is set to be the world's tallest building, Jeddah Tower. The French operator will help design ICT infrastructure and smart services for the 1km-high "vertical city," which is due for completion in 2020.

    Industry vertical: Jeddah Tower is due to be completed in 2020.
    Industry vertical: Jeddah Tower is due to be completed in 2020.

  • Still in the Middle East, Etisalat Misr has combined with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd to carry out what they say is the world's first verification of the CloudAIR GL15MHz spectrum dynamic sharing software on the operator's 1800MHz network in Cairo. The software enables spectrum sharing between GSM and LTE. Etisalat Misr launched 4G services in November 2016 and currently serves 3.4 million LTE users, most of them in Egypt.

  • Doing its bit to address the much-discussed UK "skills gap," cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) believes it is the first private UK company to launch a part-time apprenticeship scheme. Since Virgin began awarding apprenticeships some ten years ago, the areas covered by the scheme have spread beyond technical and engineering-based roles to encompass HR, legal, finance and data analytics.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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