Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom, O2 to tackle 'gray spots' through network sharing

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson helps manage Voi e-scooters; Orange's new subsea routes; Salt offers FWA in Switzerland; Telenor Norway turns to Hiya for scam-call protection.

  • Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica/O2 have signed a letter of intent on a 4G network-sharing agreement intended to address the issue of 4G coverage "gray spots." Under the terms of the proposed deal, the partners will share active network technology at the sites in question and, unlike previous joint projects of this kind, no separate wireless technology or additional antennas need to be installed. The two operators are currently in talks with the Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office) and Bundesnetzagentur (Federal Network Agency) regarding the planned collaboration. Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica /O2 and Vodafone have already put their rivalries aside to develop areas with no coverage at all ("white spots"): In 2019, the three operators signed a general agreement covering just under 6,000 new sites.

  • Orange is adding two new subsea cables on its route between France and the East Coast of the US. The Dunant cable, a Google project announced back in March 2020, is now ready for service for its wholesale and business customers, while the AMITIÉ cable, between Massachusetts and le Porge, is expected to be ready for service at the beginning of 2022. (See Eurobites: Orange Goes Subsea With Google.)

  • Ericsson has joined forces with Arkessa, a UK-based IoT specialist, to provide a connectivity offering for Voi (company motto: "get magic wheels") e-scooters. Arkessa is providing the global SIMs, while Ericsson is delivering its IoT Accelerator platform. Voi, a Swedish company, was founded in 2018 to offer e-scooter sharing in partnership with cities and local communities.

  • Swiss operator Salt has made its "Salt Home" broadband offering available via a fixed wireless access set-up it is calling "the Gigabox." According to Salt, the Gigabox, which combines an outdoor 4G/5G antenna with a Wi-Fi 6 router, provides an alternative to fiber using the operator's 5G and 4G+ network. The service starts from 39.95 Swiss francs (US$45) a month for Salt Mobile customers.

  • Ekinops, the France-based optical transport company, has agreed a new distribution partnership with Canada's Nexicom to help meet what it says is the growing demand for edge technologies and optical transport offerings in the Great White North.

  • Telenor Norway has turned to Hiya's security software in a bid to protect its subscribers from fraud and nuisance calls. Hiya's service is integrated with Telenor's Se Hvem app on iOS and Android, and flags up suspicious-looking calls. Earlier this month Norway fell victim to a wave of 200,000 fraud calls from North Korea: Telenor and Hiya claim that their collaboration protected Telenor subscribers from this particular attack.

  • Orange International Carriers has signed a deal with Côte Ouest Audiovisuel to supply its content delivery offering in West Africa. This means that Côte Ouest Audiovisuel can now distribute its content to all its subscribers via Orange's CDN, replacing the satellite delivery system it previously used.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has begun work on its latest full-fiber project, in the southern English town of Reading. The build, which will be carried out by Instalcom on CityFibre's behalf, represents a £58 million ($79 million) private investment from CityFibre.

  • BT is offering another helping hand to struggling homeschoolers with the zero rating of content from Oak National Academy, a UK-wide provider of educational content. The scheme, which applies to customers of BT Mobile, EE and Plusnet, will end as schools reopen across the UK.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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