5G and Beyond

Eurobites: Telecom Italia Konnects with Eutelsat for 'ultrabroadband' boost

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT seeks quantum 5G leap, taps Ciena's Blue Planet; Deutsche Telekom tackles 5G-powered soccer-streaming trial; MTS sees revenue rise, despite everything.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has agreed to buy the entire transmission capacity of Eutelsat's two latest satellite launches – Konnect and Konnect VHTS – in order to expand its offer of "ultrabroadband" services to the most remote areas of Italy. The satellite ultrabroadband service, to be launched in early 2021, will complement TIM's existing high-speed connectivity offerings that make use of FTTH, FTTC and FWA networks.

  • BT is teaming up with Cambridge University spin-out Nu Quantum and a number of other startups and research organizations to take part in what the operator claims is a "world-first" trial of end-to-end quantum-secured communications for 5G and connected cars. The trial centers on using QKD (quantum key distribution) technology, a technique for sharing encryption keys between locations using a stream of single photons that BT describes as "essentially un-hackable." (The phrase "hostage to fortune" springs to mind.) The trial will run for three years and is funded by £7.7 million (US$10.2 million) of UK government money.

  • In other UK-incumbent-operator news, BT has chosen automation software from Ciena's Blue Planet to help it provide its multinational enterprise customers with quicker and more reliable access to cloud-based collaboration tools, such as file sharing and messaging applications.

  • Deutsche Telekom has joined forces with media company SportTotal and regional German soccer club Bonner SC to trial the streaming of soccer matches over 5G. In the pilot project, SportTotal's AI-based 180-degree camera will be equipped with a Telekom 5G module, following the action automatically and streaming it live to the sporttotal.tv website. Mobile routers from Cradlepoint also play a part. More than 750 German soccer clubs already stream match matches on sporttotal.tv without the help of 5G.

  • Growth in non-traditional segments such as fintech and cloud helped Russia's MTS offset the harm done to its roaming revenue by the coronavirus pandemic in its third-quarter results, with operating profit up 1.8% year-on-year on revenue that was up 4.9%, to 129 billion rubles ($1.69 billion). During the quarter the operator's stores resumed "mostly normal" operations and its MTS Bank unit returned to profitability. All this has led to MTS upgrading its full-year guidance to revenue growth of at least +3% (from flat to 3%) and flat to 2% growth in adjusted OIBDA (from -2% to flat), while maintaining its cash capex guidance of around RUB90 billion ($1.18 billion) for the year.

  • Telefónica has chipped in an unspecified amount as part of a €10 million ($11.8 million) investment round in Smart Protection, a Spanish startup that aims to protect brands against online piracy by automatically detecting copycat products. Founded in 2015, Smart Protection has customers in more than 25 countries and obtains more than 75% of its revenues outside Spain.

  • The UK's big four mobile operators – EE, O2, Three and Vodafone – have come together to launch Number Verify, a new tool that they hope will help in the fight against fraud by verifying the identity of customers through matching phone numbers used in a web or app session to ensure the details being provided are the same as those registered on the customer's account. It will, for example, allow businesses with mobile apps such as financial services and "gig economy platforms" to enable their consumers to prove their identity when completing transactions on their smartphones.

  • Growth in broadband, managed/data services, postpaid and bundling was offset by reduced traffic, content and prepaid revenues at Ireland's Eir, which saw fiscal first-quarter revenue fall 2% year-on-year, to €298 million ($353 million), though EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) climbed 1%, to €142 million ($168 million). Full-year outlook is for low single-digit EBITDA growth and capex of between 21%-23% of revenue.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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