5G and Beyond

Eurobites: UK government rebels prepare to detonate H(uawei)-bomb

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson pushes eSIM tech; Vodacom slashes price of data in South Africa; Orange invests in digital verification startup.

  • As a group of rebel lawmakers from the UK's ruling Conservative Party prepares today to try to overturn the government's decision to allow Huawei to continue to play a part in the country's developing 5G network, a former chairman of BT who is now an adviser to Huawei has stuck his oar in. Sir Mike Rake has written an open letter warning that any attempt to bar the Chinese vendor from the UK's 5G network "will not only incur very significant costs, but prejudice trade relationships with China and … significantly set back the Government's broadband ambitions." As the BBC reports, up to 30 "backbench" lawmakers could back an amendment to the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, effectively removing Huawei from the 5G picture, but the government's majority of 80 means that it is still unlikely to suffer a defeat in the deciding vote. (See Tough UK limits on Huawei's role in 5G threaten telco plans.)

  • Ericsson is hoping to make it easier for savvy smartphone users to remotely manage their mobile subscription through the introduction of what it calls "an industry-first entitlement server solution" for on-device eSIM subscription activation. The first two handsets that can access the offering are the Samsung Galaxy S20 and Galaxy z Fliip. With an eSIM, which does away with the need for a physical SIM card, consumers can manage new subscriptions – or transfer existing ones – to eSIM-enabled devices in a matter of seconds, without having to visit a store. (See Switching Wireless Carriers Might Soon Get a Lot Easier.)

  • South Africa's Vodacom has bowed to pressure from the country's Competition Commission and agreed to cut data prices by between 30% and 40% from April 1. In December 2019, the Commission released a report which, among other things, recommended that Vodacom and rival MTN reach an agreement within two months with the Commission to reduce data prices by between 30% and 50%. For more details, see this story on our sister site, Connecting Africa.

  • Orange Digital Ventures is leading a $1.5 million investment round in Youverify, a Nigerian startup whose technology automates identity and background verification processes, and is aimed primarily at financial and telecom service providers.

  • Belgium's Proximus needs a new chief financial officer as the incumbent in the role, Sandrine Dufour, has decided to leave the carrier to take up an equivalent role at biopharmaceutical company UCB.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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