Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telia Norway switches on 5G in Oslo; Nokia teams up with Microsoft on data center OS; UK broadband networks standing up to COVID-19, says Ofcom.
Orange has begun reopening its retail stores in France. More than 170 have already been opened since the start of the week, and the aim is to have "almost all" of its 580-plus outlets serving customers by the end of May. In order to limit the amount of time customers need to spend in the stores, the operator has set up an appointment booking system, which can be accessed online or by phone. All staff will be equipped with protective masks, floor markings will be used to help enforce physical distancing and hand sanitizer will be available to all who require it.
Telia Norway has turned on its commercial 5G services in a couple of districts in the greater Oslo region, with the help of Ericsson. The network will be extended to other parts of Oslo, and later to the cities of Trondheim and Bergen. The Swedish vendor was announced as Telia Norway's sole 5G supplier last year, despite concern about such single-vendor contracts. Telia Norway aims to cover half of the Norwegian population with 5G by the end of 2021, and achieve nationwide 5G coverage in 2023.
Nokia is collaborating with Microsoft as part of the SONiC (Software for Open Networking in the Cloud) initiative, an open source network operating system based on Linux that has seen service in the data centers of some of the biggest cloud services providers. Nokia says it has developed a "chassis-based SONiC implementation" that draws on its experience in building large IP networks.
Average UK broadband speeds are holding up well despite the extra burdens being placed on networks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the conclusion of a new report from communications regulator Ofcom, which found that, among other things, download and upload speeds have fallen by only 2% and 1% respectively during lockdown. Other snippets: Some providers have reported an increase in weekday daytime traffic of between 35% and 60%, and Netflix download speeds fell by 3%.
Ireland's Openet has extended its BSS contract with C Spire, a US mobile operator focused on the Deep South and Florida. Openet will supply C Spire with its Policy Manager and Evolved Charging Suite offerings.
UK cable operator Virgin Media has agreed a deal with 8x8, allowing Virgin to offer 8x8's cloud-based unified communications platform to its business customers.
Pelle Bourn is stepping down as CFO at Net Insight, the Stockholm-based media transport company. Joakim Schedvins, currently CFO of Cramo AB, will take the reins in November. Bourns will stick around until Schedvins takes over.
Sky has had its knuckles rapped by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for an ad it ran in January which, according to the ASA's star chamber, suggested that the pay-TV giant laid claim to the "UK's lowest-priced superfast broadband," without demonstrating that this was indeed the case. The ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its original format.
Germany's Witcom is using ADVA's ADVA's Ensemble Connector and 6WIND's Turbo IPsec vRouter as key components of its new edge cloud platform. The open multivendor offering, says ADVA, enables Witcom to power its smart city initiative with network functions virtualization (NFV) and universal customer premises equipment (uCPE).
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading