July 13, 2021
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone Spain and Ericsson work on 5G SA core; O2 offers retailers spatial awareness; Orange, Nokia extend 5G foray with SNCF.
A court in Rome has annulled multi-million-euro fines slapped on the big four Italian operators last year by Italy's antitrust authority after it was deemed that the authority had failed to show that the operators were not acting within their rights. As Reuters reports (paywall applies), a total of €228 million (US$270 million) in fines were levied on Telecom Italia, Vodafone, Wind Tre and Fastweb by the authority for collectively agreeing to raise their prices after they were told to abandon a billing system based on 28 days rather than a full calendar month.
Vodafone has called on Ericsson to help it deploy what the vendor says is the first pre-commercial 5G standalone (SA) core network in Spain. Ericsson's dual-mode 5G core will allow Vodafone Spain to develop and test new "use cases" that exploit the potential of 5G SA technology.
The business arm of UK operator O2 is piloting new technology that combines video analytics with artificial intelligence to get a better idea of how customers are moving around retail spaces. Called Spatial Insights, the software has been developed with Aura Vision and delivers anonymized, encrypted data that helps retailers with issues such as store management, staffing levels and marketing. O2 is keen to stress that the video analytics does not use facial recognition and is fully GDPR compliant. Figure 1: O2's Spatial Insights: Either this is some sort of customer 'heat map' or they need to get the mop out.
A "5G Living Lab" that was set up in Rennes by Orange, Nokia and the French national railway operator, SNCF, is to be extended to cover more industrial aspects of SNCF's operations. Planned workshops will consider such aspects as real-time connectivity for process control and remotely controlled logistics as well as real-time video analysis to improve operational efficiency.
France's antitrust authority has fined Google €500 million ($592 million) for what it says is the tech giant's failure to satisfactorily conduct negotiations with the country's news publishers relating to Google's "News Showcase" feature, which is supposed to provide compensation to publishers for news stories that appear in Google's search results. As Reuters reports, Google has been told it has two months to come up with proposals on how it will adequately compensate news agencies for their material: If it fails to do so, it would face additional fines of up to €900,000 ($1.06 million) per day.
A new report from Italy's Prysmian Group claims that the deployment of optical fiber networks that use eco-friendly materials will enable operators to reduce energy consumption and cut out unnecessary emissions across the supply chain. "The entire ecosystem must come together to make sustainable networks a reality," says Prysmian's Philippe Vanhille, in a statement.
UK altnet Hyperoptic is cutting the price of its full-fiber broadband packages for the summer in a move that its boss soppily describes as a "ray of sunshine." The biggest saving can be found on its 1-Gig tier, which comes down from £60 ($83) to £35 ($48) a month.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
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