Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Three struts its 5G stuff on London catwalks; Virgin Media's Q4; Telekom Slovenije and Iskratel target Industry 4.0.
Nokia has landed another major 5G contract in Europe, giving Iliad the tools to roll out the technology to its 17 million subscribers in France and Italy. Iliad will install Nokia's AirScale radio access gear to create a "non-standalone" environment that will support both 4G/LTE and 5G. The move isn't a huge surprise: Nokia and Iliad have been working together in France since 2012 and in Italy since 2018.
UK mobile operator Three fires the starting pistol on its 5G rollout today, which should see the launch of "next generation" services in a number of cities by the end of the month, including London, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester. The news is being marked by a demonstration of what 5G can do at a London Fashion Week catwalk show, featuring "spatial audio, haptic feedback, a 46 metre projection the length of the runway, and an array of aromas," which sounds a lot like Eurobites Towers after a heavy weekend. The finale, it says here, will culminate in an empty catwalk down which a "digital model"/hologram of big-name model Aboah will virtually sashay, visible in all her glory only to those equipped with 5G smartphones.
Fourth-quarter operating income at UK cable operator Virgin Media more than halved, to £35.2 million (US35.2 million), from £71.4 million ($93 million) in the year-ago period, on revenue that was up 1.3% year on year, to £1.33 billion ($1.73 billion). Monthly cable ARPU was up 1.6%, to £52.44 ($68.33), though Virgin suffered a 9,000 customer loss in the fourth quarter, as growth in new-build areas was offset by increased competition in areas not covered by the operator's Project Lightning footprint.
Telekom Slovenije is collaborating with Iskratel on the development of 4G/5G hybrid public-private networks aimed at so-called "smart industry," or Industry 4.0.
Telia Company has divested its interest in Moldavian operator Moldcell, selling its 100% holding to CG Cell Technologies DAC for $31.5 million.
T-Systems, the IT services division of Deutsche Telekom, has joined forces with startup Ottopia to develop a system that allows a truck to be remotely driven by someone sitting not in the vehicle but thousands of miles away. A recent demo of the system, which has just won an award from the Startup Autobahn innovation platform, saw a driver sitting in Stuttgart perform a trailer maneuver at a test track in Tel Aviv via an LTE network. Ottopia's technology uses artificial intelligence to predict the quality of the mobile network in the next few seconds. Based on these forecasts, Ottopia adjusts data rate and compression to achieve the highest video quality with the least delay.
5G-fueled fashion, courtesy of Three
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will deliver a speech tomorrow (Saturday) in Munich in which he accepts that his company may need to pay more tax in Europe and elsewhere. According to the Telegraph, Zuckerberg will say: "We also want tax reform and I'm glad the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] is looking at this … We want the OECD process to succeed so that we have a stable and reliable system going forward." The UK and France, among others, have been itching to get Facebook and similar US-based tech titans to cough up more tax in recent years, with little success. (See Eurobites: EU Wants 3% of the Tech Titans.)
Ori Gold steers a truck in Tel Aviv while sitting in Stuttgart.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading