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Eurobites: Vodafone & Huawei Enter LAA Land

Paul Rainford
2/16/2017
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Virgin adds RGUs; Deutsche Telekom hooks up with Amazon's Alexa; BT extends Asda MVNO contract.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) have been jointly working on a project in Turkey to create what they say is the world's first network that is ready to use Licensed-Assisted Access (LAA) technology, based on the 3GPP R13 standard. The network was tested using a Huawei Lampsite basestation in Vodafone's Arena Store in Istanbul. It uses 40MHz of unlicensed spectrum in 5GHz and 15MHz licensed spectrum in 2.6GHz for three-carrier aggregation.

  • UK-based cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is claiming to have had its best year for RGU (revenue-generating unit) net additions since 2009, adding 304,000 of them in 2016, a 39% increase on 2015. Customer churn rose slightly in the fourth quarter, however, up from 14.3% in the year-earlier period to 14.8% this time round. It reported revenue growth of 3% for the full year 2016 to £4,806 million ($6 billion), "driven primarily by growth in cable subscription revenue," it noted. On the mobile front, Virgin's subscription revenue declined by £44 million ($55 million) in 2016 and by £11 million ($13.7 million) in Q4, a slide attributed to the introduction of its Freestyle contract offer, which allowed customers to buy their handsets upfront. Project Lightning, the operator's fiber rollout, continues apace, with 465,000 new premises added during the year to take the total to 718,000. (See Virgin Media Plots £3B Invasion of BT Turf.)

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has done a deal with Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) that will see the German giant integrate Amazon's Alexa voice-controlled assistant into its Qivicon smart home platform, allowing DT's Magenta SmartHome platform to be controlled via Amazon's Echo speaker.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)-owned EE has extended its MVNO contract with Asda, the UK supermarket chain that forms part of the Walmart empire. The new deal, which runs until 2020, will include access to 4G for the first time for Asda Mobile's customers. And on the TV front, BT is claiming a first with its live broadcast of two top European soccer matches in Dolby Atmos sound -- a "surroundsound" technology aimed at home cinema scenarios.

  • Net Insight AB (Stockholm: NETI-B), the Swedish media delivery specialist, saw net sales in the fourth quarter rise 20.3% year-on-year, to 133 million Swedish kroner ($14.9 million), while operating earnings were also up, from a loss of SEK1.4 million ($157,000) in the year-earlier period to a profit of SEK13.7 million ($1.53 million) this time round.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    PaulERainford
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    PaulERainford,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    2/17/2017 | 4:32:26 AM
    Re: Alexa/Magenta
    Yes, I hear the likes of Alexa have a tendency to respond to stuff that's playing on the radio or TV, rather than actual humans in the room. Probably not that helpful.
    Kelsey Ziser
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    Kelsey Ziser,
    User Rank: Blogger
    2/16/2017 | 5:13:05 PM
    Alexa/Magenta
    Ah, Alexa. I have a family member with one and they said that they're constantly yelling "I'm not talking to you!" to Alexa because it often thinks it's being summoned when no one has addressed it. This article is from last fall, but sounds like DT has some ambitious plans for the Magenta SmartHome Platform. I like the idea of the fake dog barking security measure from the inclusion of Sonos but could this turn into another "I'm not talking to you!" situation? Curious to know more about what triggers the fake barks (see paragraph 2 of the article I linked to).
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