Eurobites: Tele2 upgrades to 'real 5G'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Virgin/O2 merger under scrutiny; Beeline extends 4G coverage in Moscow; UK telcos' COVID-19 assistance measured.

  • After successfully bagging spectrum in this week's delayed Swedish spectrum auction, Tele2 is upgrading its 5G services in 30 Swedish locations to what it calls "real 5G," offering downlink speeds of more than 1 Gbit/s. Those with Tele2 subscriptions of 25GB, 50GB or Unlimited, or Tele2 Business subscriptions, and a 5G compatible phone from Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Sony or Huawei, can use Tele2's 5G network at no extra cost. Tele2 acquired its new spectrum via its Net4Mobility join venture with Telenor. (See Sweden's 5G auction back on.)

  • Tele2 is also launching a new "sustainability strategy," which will focus on four key areas: the environmental impact of its supply chain; diversity in the workplace; the development of products and services that increase efficiency; and the implementation of technical offerings that help protect children online.

  • The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has published an "Issues statement" setting out the scope of its inquiry into the proposed merger of Virgin Media, which is part of the Liberty Global empire, and Telefónica's O2. The crux of the matter, as you would expect from a competition authority, is whether the merger "may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition (SLC) within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services." The CMA will focus particularly on the "vertical relationships" in play – in other words, O2's supply of wholesale mobile services to MVNOs and Virgin's supply of wholesale leased lines to mobile network operators to enable these operators to connect key parts of their network. (See Eurobites: Virgin Media, O2 merger faces in-depth review.)

  • Beeline, the domestic arm of Russian operator VEON, has expanded its 4G coverage in Moscow and increased mobile Internet speeds by up to 30% by redistributing the 2100MHz frequency range from 3G to 4G and expanding the frequency used in the 4G network from 30MHz to 45MHz. The project involved the installation of more than 2,300 new LTE-2100 basestations and 800 new 3G basestations in Moscow.

  • Researchers at Assembly have estimated that UK telcos have in effect offered £940 million (US$1.3 billion) of support to the British population in terms of additional allowances of texts, calls and data, free access to healthcare information, and more recently zero-rated access to education resources. However, the researchers not that the UK telcos are by no means alone in this: They have tracked initiatives from 40 operators in nearly 20 other countries and found them to be broadly similar to the UK telcos' efforts.

  • Ahead of its full-year results, which are due be announced on January 29, Telia has announced that its operational cash flow exceeded the outlook given in its third-quarter earnings report, reaching 12.1 billion Swedish kronor ($1.4 billion) for the year, comfortably above the predicted "reaching the upper end of SEK9.5-10.5 billion." Telia also says in its statement that it "generated an adjusted fourth quarter EBITDA broadly in line with the stated outlook in the third quarter report (around SEK 30.5 billion for the full year)."

  • Purebroadband, an Internet service provider based in the northern English county of Yorkshire, has bought space on CityFibre's network to deliver "ultrafast" broadband services to the denizens of Rotherham, Barnsley, Bradford, Sheffield, Halifax, Batley, Dewsbury, Leeds and Huddersfield.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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