5G and Beyond

Eurobites: Ericsson's latest 5G conquest comes in Slovenia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Germany's Freenet boosts profitability; UKWISPA shouts about Terragraph; Zain extends 5G footprint.

  • Swedish 5G powerhouse Ericsson has notched up another 5G conquest through a commercial deal with Telekom Slovenije, the Slovenian telecom incumbent. Ericsson is supplying Telekom Slovenije with 5G technology for both the core and radio access networks, it said in a statement. Rollout actually began in late July, a week after the contract was signed, and the operator aims to increase 5G coverage to about a third of the Slovenian population, up from around a quarter today, said Ericsson. Its press release also features a lovely photo (below) of a Slovenian city (presumably Ljubljana) framed by snow-capped mountains, which seem likely to be a 5G-free zone for the foreseeable future. (See Ericsson sets sights on 5G gains in Europe amid Huawei backlash.)

    Somewhere in Slovenia.
    Somewhere in Slovenia.

  • Freenet, a German mobile virtual network operator, said revenues fell 2.2% year-on-year in its second quarter, to about €622 million (US$732 million), despite the addition of nearly 267,000 customers since the same period in 2019. Its earnings were up 2.2%, however, to nearly €110 million ($130 million), while free cash flow rose 9.3%, to €90.8 million ($106.9 million). The operator said cost savings had buoyed earnings and stuck to earlier guidance of stable revenues for the full year and free cash flow of between €240 million ($283 million) and €260 million ($306 million). Separately, Freenet agreed to sell its 24% stake in Swiss mobile operator Sunrise to cable giant Liberty Global, which today made a takeover bid that values Sunrise at about $7.4 billion. (See Liberty Global makes $7.4B bid for Swiss Sunrise.)

  • True to its name, UKWISPA struggles to make its voice heard amid the din of news about 5G and Huawei, but the UK trade association, which represents wireless Internet service providers, is speaking up about the forthcoming launch of Terragraph services. Never heard of Terragraph? Well, it's a high-speed mobile technology pioneered by Facebook, as part of the social network's Telecom Infra Project, designed to bring low-cost Internet services to previously unconnected areas. The big development is that several UKWISPA members, including Radwin, Cambium and Siklu, are due to ship Terragraph products this year and hoping to play a part in a government-backed rollout of gigabit-speed networks. Despite its major backers, which include mobile chips giant Qualcomm, Terragraph seems to have advanced about as quickly as a quadriplegic tortoise since late 2018, when Facebook made a huge deal of the technology at its annual TIP Summit, hosted that year in London. Maybe its time has finally come. (See Terragraph: A WiMax in Facebook Clothing?)

  • Saudi Arabia's Zain KSA is boasting 5G coverage in 35 cities in the Gulf country, according to a Zawya report. The latest cities to benefit from the high-speed mobile technology are Duwadimi, Hawtat Bani Tamim, Hayathim, Muzahimiyah and Quwayiyah, says the report. Operators worldwide hope 5G will unlock new revenue opportunities outside the consumer market, where its value is to boost capacity and speed up connectivity. Critics are unconvinced by the revolutionary claims, arguing it is just an improvement on 4G.

    — Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading

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