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Eurobites: Three UK backs Colt as its preferred provider of backhaul

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson modernizes Airtel's Kenyan network; Arm exec promises "firewalls" to protect customers' interests after Nvidia takeover; hydrogen fuel cell provides backup for European tower site.

  • Three UK, the smallest of Britain's four mobile networks, has named Colt Technology Services as its "preferred provider" of fiber backhaul connectivity in a deal that forms part of a £2 billion (US$2.6 billion) investment to upgrade Three's network, increasing speeds by "up to 150%" and "delivering the UK's fastest 5G network," according to a Three statement. Three, which has had a fairly disastrous start to the year, says that Colt's technology will provide 20 times more backhaul capacity on the sites where it is being deployed. (See Three UK serves up a first-half shocker.)

  • Ericsson has signed a network modernization deal with Airtel Africa which will enable 4G coverage in Kenya. The deal comes under the umbrella of the Kenyan Digital Economy Blueprint Vision 2030, a state-funded program to provide robust connectivity in rural areas and facilitate e-commerce platforms within the next ten years. The Swedish vendor will be supplying a mix of RAN and packet core products.

  • A top executive at Arm, the UK-based chip design company whose products have found their way into zillions of smartphones, has sought to reassure stakeholders that it will keep "firewalls" in place that will prevent Nvidia accessing confidential information about Arm's customers should Nvidia's proposed takeover of Arm go ahead. As Reuters reports, Arm's president of IP products group, Rene Haas, said that Arm would not "give any early access to Nvidia" if SoftBank's $40 billion sale of Arm happens. Arm co-founder Hermann Hauser has already argued that Nvidia's acquisition of Arm could ultimately threaten the very existence of the UK firm. (See Arm sale to Nvidia a disaster for UK, warns co-founder.)

  • Israel-based GenCell Energy says that a Tier 1 telco has deployed its first GenCell G5 hydrogen fuel cell-based long-duration backup offering at an active cell tower site in Europe. The fuel cell was installed with six cylinders of hydrogen that will keep the solution running for "extended durations" with minimal maintenance or service, says GenCell, while remote management software will provide real-time operational intelligence, allowing engineers at the telecom provider's headquarters to regularly monitor equipment status.

  • Vorboss, a London-based fiber provider, says it has secured six times more space from data center firm Interxion to accelerate the expansion of its network across the UK capital.

  • UK customers of Vodafone, BT Mobile, EE and Plusnet are now able to access their what3words address online for free in emergencies, as these mobile networks have "free-rated" the Find.me what3words mobile website. When dealing with callers who are struggling to describe their location, call handlers can send an SMS to the caller's phone with a link to the what3words Find.Me website, which opens a simple web page displaying three words: the what3words address for the caller's current location. The what3words platform has split the world into 57 trillion squares and assigned a unique three-word address to each square.

    Where am I? The what3words system knows
    Where am I? The what3words system knows

  • Nokia has issued a call for peace, love and understanding on the 5G front, warning that global decisions on the implementation of the technology are "too vast for any single company, industry or government to make or enact alone." Flash forward: Life in 2030 stresses the need for open dialogue, sustainable design choices and much more besides.

  • Back in the here and now, Nokia says, without giving much in the way of specifics, that it has "enhanced" its Altiplano cloud platform and launched Cloud Acceleration Services to help broadband builders and application developers get the most out of SDN.

  • The staff at Light Reading send their sincere condolences to the family of Alun Owen, who died this week after being swept into a river in Wales in the course of his duties as an Openreach engineer. In a statement, Openreach CEO Clive Selley said: "We're extremely shocked and saddened to have lost Alun Owen, one of our Openreach family. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Alun's family and friends. Alun was an extremely popular member of the team and had been working as an engineer in and around north Wales for five years. We're now working closely with the North Wales Police while they carry out their investigation."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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