Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia cuts jobs in Finland; British MP highlights Huawei 'slave labor'allegations; ECI acquired by Ribbon; 'Fitbit for cows.'
Does the success of 5G depend on network sharing? That's clearly the view of Nordic operators Telenor and Telia, who have teamed up with Nokia to deploy what they claim is "the world's most advanced shared wireless network" supporting a multi-operator core network (MOCN) feature. The 5G MOCN feature was put through its paces on a trial network in Denmark, and included live MOCN capabilities for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G simultaneously.
Further from its Finnish home, Nokia has signed an agreement with Mobily, the Saudi mobile operator brand that is part of Etihad Etisalat, which will see Nokia supporting Mobily's infrastructure with a range of products from its 5G box of tricks, including radio access, IP routing, optical networking and software.
But all the above will be of little comfort to 148 Nokia employees in Finland, who are to lose their jobs this year following redundancy talks, YLE reports. The vendor said that the job cuts would affect all Nokia units in Finland, apart from its 5G product development teams and the Oulu-based production facility.
A British Conservative MP wants BT, the UK incumbent operator, to look into allegations that companies supplying components to Huawei are using slave labor from China's Muslim minority. As the Guardian reports, the question is pertinent because BT uses Huawei gear in its networks, and will be allowed to continue to do so, albeit in a limited way, following a recent decision by the UK government. The MP, Bob Seely, cites a study, Uyghurs For Sale, which was compiled by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and concluded that conditions at some of Huawei's subcontractors "strongly suggest forced labor." (See BT Says Cap on Huawei's UK 5G Role Will Cost It £500M and Tough UK Limits on Huawei's Role in 5G Threaten Telco Plans.)
In related matters, a group of US senators has written a letter to British lawmakers urging them to reconsider their government's decision to allow Huawei equipment into the UK's 5G network. As Reuters reports, the letter puts pressure on MPs to "revisit its [government's] recent decision, take steps to mitigate the risks of Huawei, and work in close partnership" with the US going forward. A group of 42 members of the US House of Representatives sent a similar letter in January.
Less controversially, BT has unveiled a new managed SD-WAN service for UK business customers. One option offers a Cisco SD-WAN powered by Viptela; another sees a Meraki-powered Cisco SD-WAN. According to BT, the service enables secure, high-bandwidth connections across multiple sites using fixed and mobile networks.
ECI, the Israel-based provider of packet-optical offerings, has been acquired by Ribbon as part of Ribbon's plan to expanding into the "service provider 5G data domain with bundled network analytics, intelligence and security products." Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
Tele2 has closed the sale of its Croatian unit to United Group for €220 million (US$242 million). The deal was subject to an investigation by the Croatian competition regulator, but was given the green light in January.
Sky, the UK-based purveyor of pay-TV and broadband, has launched its "Ultimate TV" bundle, which adds Netflix fare to existing content on its Sky Q platform for an initial price of £25 ($32) a month, rising to £29 ($37) a month after the "offer period" expires.
Swiss operator Salt has had the quality of its mobile network rated as "very good" following a crowdsourced test carried out by German magazines PC Magazin and PCgo. The test took more than 3.3 billion measurements in Austria, Germany and Switzerland between August 2019 and January 2020.
Still in Switzerland, Sunrise is playing its part in what Bloomberg describes as a "5G revolution," with what one of the operator's execs calls "Fitbit for cows." The beasts in question eschew the traditional clunking bell around their necks for a connected neck-strap manufactured by Huawei. Apparently, the silent gizmo allows farmers to gain an insight into the health of their livestock from the comfort of their farmhouse.
An unconnected cow
So last year
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading