Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Africa & Middle East gives Orange a lift in Q4; Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone share networks in gray spots; new faces at Ofcom.
Ericsson, fresh from initiating the "domino effect" that has ultimately led to the cancellation of this year's Mobile World Congress, has been splurging announcements this week. Pick of the bunch, probably, is its claim to have notched up a record speed in millimeter wave (mmWave) 5G New Radio data transfer at its lab in Stockholm. Using a 5G smartphone form factor test device powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System, Ericsson engineers achieved delivery rates of 4.3 Gbit/s.
Away from the lab, Ericsson is rolling out a 5G RAN and core for Polkomtel, which owns the Plus brand in Poland. The deployment – in the 2.6GHz spectrum band TDD (Time Division Duplex) – will initially be implemented across at least 85 sites in five cities, namely Gdańsk, Łódź, Poznań, Szczecin and Wrocław.
And, completing the Ericsson trio of toots on its own trumpet, the vendor has teamed up with T-Mobile Austria and the Stanley Black & Decker, a manufacturer of power tools, industrial tools and more, to help speed up the deployment of the manufacturer's connected equipment and services. Ericsson cites the example of Stanley's farming project in India, the NADI smart solar pump, which is enabling farmers to increase productivity and reduce costs.
Despite a small decline in its home market and in Spain, Orange saw fourth-quarter revenues climb 1.1% to €11.08 billion (US$12.02 billion), while group EBITDA (after leases) rose 1.3% to €3.28 billion ($3.56 billion). The positive trend was driven, says the operator, by the "still very strong momentum" in its Africa & Middle East region, which shot up by 6.2%. Over the full year, group revenues rose 0.6% to €42.23 billion ($45.84 billion). Orange's venture into banking is making steady progress – Orange Bank boasted more than half a million customers by the end of 2019, with 390,000 account holders in France. (See Should Telcos Become Banks?)
Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone are planning a little network sharing at 4,000 selected antenna sites in a bid to eliminate "gray spots" across Germany, which are currently served by a single LTE provider. The project is subject to the approval of Germany's Federal Cartel Office and the Federal Network Agency, but the two companies hope it will launch this year.
A bunch of Conservative MPs opposed to the UK government's decision to allow Huawei into its 5G network have redoubled their efforts to get that decision overturned following a claim from US officials that they have firm evidence of Huawei using its equipment as "backdoor" into areas of national security. As the Telegraph reports, Bob Seely, MP for the Isle of Wight and one of the Huawei "rebels," said: "We really need the Government to say we need a fresh start here. We are effectively going to allow Huawei in our system. This should be ringing alarm bells."
BICS, the international carrier division of Belgium's Proximus, has joined forces with cybersecurity experts from POST Luxembourg to launch a security offering that is intended to help mobile operators secure their network infrastructure against signaling attacks, and safeguard their subscribers and revenues. The offering comprises two elements: first, a network vulnerability assessment of the roaming environment; and, second, an intrusion detection system, designed with "embedded business logic" and supported by a regularly updated threat knowledge-base. The POST Luxembourg team have experience protecting critical infrastructure for major institutions such as the European Parliament and the European Court of Justice.
UK communications regulator Ofcom is undergoing something of refresh: Earlier this week, Dame Melanie Dawes, an experienced civil servant, was appointed as its new CEO, replacing Sharon White, who left last year. And today it's been announced that professor Simon Saunders, previously at Google, has been named director of emerging technology.
Italy's Wind Tre is extending its deployment of Teoco's Helix PM performance management software beyond mobile to included its "converged" offering that blends mobile, fixed-line voice and broadband.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading