Eurobites: Tele2 ready to roll 5G in Latvia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ofcom bans locked handsets; Hyperoptic takes part in smart-home pilot; Telesign goes public.

  • Tele2 says it now has everything in place to begin a nationwide rollout of 5G and upgrade of 4G in Latvia following its bagging of 2x10MHz in the first part of the country's 700MHz spectrum auction. The operator had previously partnered with Bite to look into the possibility of a shared mobile network and spectrum arrangement in Latvia and Lithuania, but as the partnership was only partially approved by the regulatory authorities, the two companies have decided to end the agreement.

  • From today UK mobile phone companies are banned from selling locked handsets, under new rules laid down by communications regulator Ofcom. The regulator's own research found that more than a third of people who decided against switching networks said having to get a handset unlocked put them off making the move, while almost half of customers who try to unlock their phones run into problems such as long delays or loss of service. The new rules also limit phone and broadband contracts to a maximum of two years.

  • Hyperoptic is taking part in an interesting-sounding pilot scheme, which sees the UK altnet providing a second, low-bandwidth connection to each home on a new social housing development in Wales specifically to support smart-home equipment. By running the applications on a separate line – which cannot be accessed by the tenant – the smart-home service can be managed completely separately by the housing or smart-home technology provider.

  • European Union antitrust authorities are poised to give the green light to Facebook's proposed takeover of Kustomer, the awkwardly named vendor of CRM (customer relationship manager) software, according to anonymous sources cited by Reuters. A final, official decision on the deal is due by January 28.

  • TeleSign, the digital identity specialist that is a subsidiary of Belgium's Proximus, is going public via a merger with North Atlantic Acquisition Corporation (NAAC), a "special-purpose acquisition company" (or blank-check firm, if you prefer). The deal, which is worth $1.3 billion, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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