February 15, 2021
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange signs renewables agreement with ENGIE; ENET extends Dublin fiber network; STC wins 5G bragging rights.
Mike Rake, the former BT chairman who joined the board of Huawei in April of last year, has relinquished his role with the Chinese vendor, according to a report in the Daily Telegraph. The appointment raised eyebrows at the time, with Huawei already facing accusations that it had connections to the Chinese government and so should not be allowed to play a role in the UK's 5G network. (See Eurobites: Ex-BT big cheese joins Huawei board and Eurobites: UK government rebels prepare to detonate H(uawei)-bomb.)
Orange has signed a 15-year agreement with ENGIE, a French energy company specializing in wind and solar power, which will see ENGIE managing the production of all Orange's renewable electricity contract as well as supplying additional capacity to the operator. The agreement covers the development of two new solar projects in the Alpine region.
Ireland's ENET is investing €1.5 million in expanding its fiber network in Dublin, taking in high-profile areas of the city such as St. Stephen's Green and Merrion Square. Once complete, the expansion will see ENET's Dublin network span some 170km; the operator's nationwide network comprises more 5,400km of fiber infrastructure.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is tooting its own trumpet on the 5G front, having been named in the 2020 Q4 Meqyas report as having the fastest 5G download speeds in the Kingdom, clocking up an average of 342.35 Mbit/s. STC has deployed 5G in more than 47 cities around the Kingdom, and intends to push this number beyond 70 in the next phase of its rollout. Other mobile operators in Saudi Arabia include GO Telecom, Mobily and Zain.
iD Mobile, the MVNO run by UK phone retailer Dixons Carphone, has followed in the footsteps of several other mobile operators by launching a range of initiatives intended to help workers in the National Health Service, the elderly and those struggling with homeschooling during the coronavirus pandemic. NHS workers will get unlimited calls, text and data; those aged over 70 will get unlimited minutes; and the MVNO says it is "working with the Government" to offer unlimited data to disadvantaged children struggling to get connected to their schools' online education.
Azoomee, which describes itself as a kids' media company, has launched an augmented reality (AR) app it developed in response to Austria's 5G Use Case Challenge. Using environment tracking technology from PTC, the app takes a historical building and, in the words of the press release, "magically transforms it into a wonderland of imagination," complete with historical figures bouncing on trampolines, playing soccer and performing skateboard tricks. Like, trippy, man.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
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