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Eurobites: Telia, Ericsson combine on 5G carrier aggregation in Norway

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: SFR plans job cuts; device maker OPPO sees Europe as land of opportunity; Slovenia's BeeIN eyes M2M.

  • Telia and Ericsson have embarked on what they claim is the first trial of 5G carrier aggregation in the Nordics. Carrier aggregation lets mobile operators combine separate channels to increase bandwidth and provide faster speeds than could be achieved with just a single channel. The trial, which is taking place in Lillestrøm, a town near Oslo, enables Telia to get more out of its existing spectrum and extend coverage by more than 50% in the midband frequencies (3.6GHz), thereby boosting capacity and increasing peak throughput. Telia is aiming to bring nationwide 5G coverage to Norway by 2023.

  • Telia and Ericsson are also very much involved – along with several other companies – in the 5G Ride project, which is exploring the use of self-driving 5G-connected vehicles in the in Royal Djurgården district of Stockholm. The next phase of the project, which has been granted more funding, aims to further develop connectivity between the control tower and the vehicle fleet.

    5G Ride moves up a gear.
    5G Ride moves up a gear.

  • SFR, the French mobile operator owned by Altice, plans to cut up to 1,700 jobs in France this year. According to Reuters, this equates to about 11% of total staff numbers. Some of the job cuts – which SFR says will be voluntary redundancies – relate to a change in customers' buying habits, which sees them less likely to purchase a new phone in-store.

  • Chinese phone maker OPPO says it plans to become one of the "top smart device manufacturers" in Europe within the next three years. During 2020, OPPO expanded into four new European markets, namely Portugal, Belgium, Ireland and Germany. According to OPPO's own figures, its shipments of devices in Western Europe overall grew by 200% in 2020.

  • Slovenia's BeeIN plans to use frequencies in the 700MHz band it acquired at public auction to accelerate M2M communications by building a network covering at least 75% of Slovenia, with the focus on the sort of business-critical infrastructure found in the energy industry, logistics and on smart campuses.

  • Telefónica Germany has chosen cloud-based charging software from Matrixx for both its consumer and enterprise services.

  • Just to rub salt into the wounds of Britain's high streets, which had already been decimated by the rise of online shopping in recent years before the coronavirus pandemic more or less finished off the job, Amazon has opened its first brick-and-mortar UK store, in west London. The Amazon Fresh food store does away with the need for pesky checkouts and checkout operatives – customers just need scan a smartphone app when they enter the premises. As the BBC reports, Silkie Carlo, from Big Brother Watch, offers this ringing endorsement: "[It] offers a dystopian, total-surveillance shopping experience." That's the advertising tagline sorted.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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