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4G/3G/WiFi

Eurobites: O2 fortifies London's 4G network

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Enea touts network data layer breakthrough; Inmarsat moves billing to the cloud with CSG; Cambridge Consultants takes to the skies.

  • Taking a break from talking up 5G, Telefónica UK (O2) is tooting its own trumpet on the 4G front today, claiming it has increased 4G network capacity in more than 33,000 London postcodes since April. And the operator says that its claims are backed up by third-party crowdsourced user data from Tutela, which has shown an increase in network speeds in residential areas of London throughout September.

  • Sweden's Enea says that a Tier 1 North American mobile operator has deployed its 5G network data layer (NDL) offering, Stratum, to create what it describes as the industry's first 3GPP Release 6 interoperability interface in a 5G standalone (5GSA) environment. The interface will allow the operator to bring together all network and subscriber data from across its 4G and 5G networks.

  • Inmarsat, the UK-based satellite company that is heavily invested in the mobile broadband sphere, is moving its billing and revenue management operations to a cloud-based managed services model developed by Colorado's CSG. This represents a tweak of an existing, long-standing relationship between the two companies.

  • Another UK firm with its head in the clouds is Cambridge Consultants, which has gone public on its role in the airborne antenna project covered in these pages a couple of weeks ago. It turns out the company worked with Stratospheric Platforms Limited (SPL) on the wireless antenna, which produces 480 individual, steerable beams, creating patterns that can be "painted" onto the ground to cover specific areas such as roads, railway lines or shipping lanes. The ability to produce hundreds of beams enables the antenna to reuse spectrum ensuring fast and even coverage across the entire covered area, says the company.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has appointed Nick Dunn as its new chief financial officer, effective January 2021. Dunn joins CityFibre from Gatwick Airport, where he spent the last ten years as CFO. He's also got more than ten years' experience in investment banking, working on a number of acquisitions, IPOs and the like. Could this be a sign that CityFibre is planning to swallow up one or two more of its rivals? In March of this year CityFibre completed its acquisition of FibreNation from TalkTalk. Dunn succeeds Terry Hart, who stepped down as CFO in July after nine years with the company. (See CityFibre expands UK empire with £200M acquisition.)

  • MLL Telecom has connected 253 schools in Cambridgeshire, UK, to a full-fiber wide-area network, with the hope of ensuring more reliable bandwidth for cloud-based learning programs. In England (but not Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), a month-long national lockdown starts tomorrow, though the high schools are remaining open for the time being. If this changes, more schools might be looking to hook up to fiber to boost their remote-learning capabilities as the coronavirus pandemic tightens its grip.

  • Talking of which, Telecom Italia (TIM) says it has joined forces with Italian universities to support remote learning. The operator has signed more than 20 agreements with a range of educational establishments, committing to supplying, "under favourable conditions," more than 200,000 SIMs with differentiated gigabit data profiles and as many LTE/Wi-Fi modems, which universities will allocate free of charge to students.

  • Openreach, the semi-autonomous network access arm of BT, has brought FTTP technology to the rural hamlets of Raisbeck and Sunbiggin in Cumbria's Eden Valley, one of northern England's most beauteous locations. To reduce costs, the community – which comprises just 18 properties and was laboring under downlink speeds of less than 1 Mbit/s – decided to do some of the digging themselves, with the help of a local farmer's mole plough.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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