5G and Beyond

Eurobites: MWC does deal with Spanish government to allow non-EU visitors

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telenor considers Malaysia merger; Nokia expands Wavence microwave range; EE makes progress on 5G rollout.

  • You shall go to the ball. (If it's not cancelled.) Would-be exhibitors and attendees from countries outside the EU will be allowed to travel to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this summer under the terms of a new deal agreed by the event's organizer, the GSMA, with the Spanish government. By classifying all event registrants as "highly qualified workers," the deal circumvents the current general denial of entry to Spain for any national from a country outside the EU. The details of all registrants to MWC21 will be passed to the Spanish authorities to facilitate their entry into the country in June.

  • Norway-based Telenor is in discussions with Axiata regarding the potential merger of their respective Malaysian operations, Digi and Celcom. If it goes ahead, the two parties will each hold stakes of 33.1% in the new venture, which will be called Celcom Digi Berhad. Idham Nawawi has been anointed as CEO of the merged company.

  • Nokia is expanding its Wavence range of packet-microwave mobile transport products, releasing two new compact split-mount offerings for 5G backhaul and a new ultra-compact module called a Networking Interface Module (NIM).

  • EE, the mobile operator owned by UK incumbent operator BT, has switched on 5G in 35 more UK towns and cities, bringing its total 5G location tally to 160. The company claims that demand for the technology is strong, and says it is on course to hit 1 million active 5G customers this month.

  • Also tooting its 5G trumpet is Ireland's Eir, which says that its 5G network now reaches more than 57% of the Irish population, spanning 268 towns and cities across 904 sites. Eir's 4G coverage reaches 99% of the Irish population.

  • UK towers company Arqiva has landed a five-year contract with Northumbrian Water to roll out smart water meters in Essex, which is a long way from Northumberland and is where it operates as Essex & Suffolk Water. Arqiva will build and monitor the fixed-network infrastructure, providing connectivity to up to 11,000 domestic meters.

  • A1 Telekom Austria is rebranding its local Serbian mobile unit, replacing its current name, Vip, with A1. The move, says A1 Telekom Austria, completes the A1 "brand family," its Bulgarian and Croatian subsidiaries having already been brought into the family fold.

  • Jurassic Fiber, an alternative network provider based in the south-west of England, has appointed Steve Garrood as its chief commercial officer. Garrood has more than 20 years' telecom sales experience covering fiber, mobile, OTT and IoT, working for the likes of T-Mobile, Deutsche Telekom and Telefónica.

  • Vodafone has launched a support package for jobseekers in Europe, Turkey, Egypt and South Africa, offering them discounts, cheaper data and free Facebook advertising to help candidates more effectively market themselves to prospective employers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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