5G and Beyond

Eurobites: France says 'oui' to Huawei

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT boss catches COVID-19; Ofcom sets out spectrum auction rules; Orange lands Google cable in France.

  • French cybersecurity agency ANSSI is set to tell operators that they can use Huawei gear in their networks – as long as they keep it out of the "core" bits. This is according to Reuters, which cites two anonymous sources. The decision clearly flies in the face of advice from the Trump administration in the US, which sees Huawei as a conduit for Chinese state-sponsored espionage, and has for months been applying pressure on European countries to exclude the Chinese vendor from their respective communications infrastructures. (See For Huawei, US Purgatory Is the New Norm and For Trump's Attack Dogs, There's No Stopping Huawei.)

  • The chief executive of BT, Philip Jansen, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now "self-isolating" in accordance with advice from the UK authorities. The operator is now embarking on a "full deep clean" of potentially affected parts of its headquarters, and intends to make sure that those employees who have been in close contact with Jansen are "appropriately advised." The exec added that "there will be no disruption to the business."

  • Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has published the rules for its forthcoming spectrum auction covering the 700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz frequency bands. As in the 2018 auction, this year's will involve two stages: a "principal stage," in which companies first bid for airwaves in separate lots to determine how much spectrum each company wins; and an "assignment stage," a round of bidding to determine the specific frequencies that winning bidders will be allocated. And to give operators the chance to create more continuous blocks of 5G-ready spectrum, the assignment stage allows winners of 3.6-3.8GHz spectrum to negotiate their placements within the band among themselves.

  • Orange has announced the landing of Google's transatlantic Dunant cable in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, in the Vendée region of France. The 6,600km cable, made up of from two pairs of optical fibers with a capacity of up to 30 Tbit/s each, links the US to France and is intended to help meet the explosion in demand for bandwidth from Orange and Google customers.

  • Telefónica has signed a global agreement with Idrica, a company specializing in technology for the management of the "integral water cycle," where water is collected, sanitized and reused. The agreement includes the development of applications using IoT technologies such as NB-IoT and LTE-M.

  • Telefónica UK, the mobile operator that trades under the O2 brand, has teamed up utility firm SSE Business Energy to launch a new service that allows O2 suppliers and business partners in the UK to buy renewable electricity from SSE at a discounted rate.

  • What will the coronavirus-forced suspension of so much top-level professional sport mean for the likes of Sky and BT, who pay a fortune for the rights to screen it? Will subscribers be clamoring for refunds? Will they be "cutting the cord"? Will live soccer be replaced by Escape to Victory on repeat? The possibilities are endless, and a bit scary.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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