Eurobites: Go on my SON, Orange tells Nokia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Belgium's Telenet opts for Ericsson's 5G RAN; union warns that BT is heading for a strike ballot; Vodafone fires up the virtual cooking experience.

  • Nokia has landed a 5G network optimization contract with Orange, rolling out its Self-Organizing Networks (SON) technology across the French group's operations worldwide, beginning in France and Spain. According to a Nokia press release, SON "operates on top of any vendor's radio technology, enabling Orange to optimize its live commercial networks regardless of who built them." It will, says Nokia, allow Orange to automate radio network configuration and optimization processes, as well as improve network performance and efficiency.

  • On a somewhat smaller scale, Nokia has also notched a three-year deal to deploy industrial-grade 5G standalone (SA) private wireless networking at the University for Business and Technology (UBT) in Pristina, Kosovo. UBT envisages the technology being used to develop 5G-based research and testing for a number of use cases driven by IoT and AI technologies.

  • In Belgium, Telenet has chosen Ericsson as its 5G radio access network (RAN) provider, though the contract also includes the modernization of the operator's existing 2G/3G/4G RAN. This deal brings Ericsson's tally of commercial 5G agreements and contracts to 132, according to the vendor.

  • The Communication Workers Union, which represents 45,000 BT Group staff in the UK, has warned that it is moving toward national industrial action over what it calls "an unprecedented and sustained assault on job security and hard won terms & conditions." In a strongly worded statement, the CWU said: "Barring a dramatic eleventh-hour about-turn by a belligerent new senior management team which has now spent more than a year pursuing a brutal and needlessly confrontational agenda – despite incessant union appeals for meaningful talks to avert a full-scale industrial relations meltdown – that ballot will cover every part of BT, Openreach and EE where the CWU is recognised for collectively bargaining purposes."

  • Vodafone Germany thinks it has spied a 5G-driven "augmented reality" opportunity with clueless cooks who have trouble finding and following recipes. In partnership with smart glasses company Nreal and a celebrity TV chef called Steffen Henssler, the operator has launched Giga AR, a "virtual reality cooking experience" that allows begoggled meal-manglers to follow instructions from a professional chef projected in front of their eyes. Using "integrated eye control," wannabe cooks can choose to pause, skip or repeat instructions just through their gaze.

    A taste of AR: Vodafone whisks up an augmented reality cooking experience.
    A taste of AR: Vodafone whisks up an augmented reality cooking experience.

  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has formed a partnership with Cubic Telecom in a bid to accelerate the introduction of car-connectivity options in the kingdom. Cubic Telecom, based in Dublin, Ireland, provides connectivity software offerings in more than 4 million vehicles and devices in more than 90 countries.

  • Eurofiber, which operates a 38,000km fiber optic network stretching across the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, has appointed Christoph Klein as managing director of its German arm. In this new role, Klein will lead Eurofiber's expansion in Germany as part of a wider European growth strategy. Klein was most recently group CEO of BTV Multimedia Group, a provider of hardware and services in the broadband industry.

  • T-Systems, the IT services subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, has successfully persuaded Deutsche Post DHL Group (DPDHL) to renew its framework agreement covering IT, voice and data networks, including mobile communications and the Internet of Things. The contract is in the "high three-digit million range" and will run through 2027.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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