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Eurobites: Also-RAN Ericsson bags KPN's core

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange cozies up to OPPO, provides connectivity for seniors' devices; Nokia draws on analytics for COVID-19 temperature testing; come friendly fiber, fall on Slough.

  • Dutch incumbent KPN is renewing its 5G core with Ericsson, with technical implementation expected to begin before the end of the year, after which the current core will be phased out. The agreement between the two companies runs for five years, with Ericsson deploying dual-mode 5G core software with what Ericsson describes as "full support services." Unusually for a European operator in the current climate, KPN is switching to Huawei in the radio network, having given Ericsson the elbow in that department: KPN's view is that as long as the Chinese vendor is kept out of its core, all is well. (See Ericsson the unready loses KPN to Huawei and Europe is showing Huawei the exit.)

  • Orange has teamed up with OPPO to help bring its services to the Chinese device-maker's smartphones and IoT devices across Orange's European footprint. Orange plans to use OPPO's over-the-air provisioning service to load its services to the devices, such as My Orange/Orange et Moi or Orange TV, giving customers easier access to key services. OPPO has already launched several key IoT products beyond smartphones, such as the OPPO Watch.

  • Orange's Belgian unit is to provide its managed connectivity service for use with GrandPad tablets, devices which are designed with older people in mind, providing straightforward video-calling, photo-sharing, voice, text and email. GrandPad users in the UK and Ireland will be the first to benefit from Orange's service, which is underpinned by Ericsson's IoT Accelerator software.

  • Nokia has launched an analytics-based automated temperature detection system which is intended to help spot potential COVID-19 infections at crowded venues, such as airports, schools and factories. The system is already in use at Nokia's plant in Chennai, India.

  • MLL Telecom, a provider of secure managed network services to the UK public sector, has been awarded the contract to extend the EastNet full-fiber WAN service used by local authorities and healthcare organizations across Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes. The extension follows a joint initiative by East Northamptonshire Council and Borough Council of Wellingborough to join the EastNet partnership.

  • The Greek subsidiary of Sparkle, the international services arm of Telecom Italia, has been certified for the use of renewable energy at its data centers in Metamorfosis (Athens), Koropi and Chania. The certification attests that from May 2020 100% of the electricity used by Sparkle and colocation customers is obtained from renewable sources with zero carbon emissions.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has begun work on extending the fiber network in Slough, the southern English town made famous by the poet John Betjeman and the opening credits of The Office. The latest chunk of work represents part of a £24 million (US$31 million) private investment from CityFibre.

  • The European Union's antitrust regulators are considering a change of tack with Amazon over what they suspect are the online retail giant's market abuses in order to speed up its investigation of the company. According to Reuters, the regulators may narrow the focus of its investigation, looking solely at whether Amazon's dual role as a marketplace for retailers and as a retailer itself, often selling the exact same products, gives it an unfair advantage. As things stand, the probe is considering the role of data in the choice of Amazon's "By Box" winners, but this element may be shelved for the time being to streamline the judicial process.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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