Eurobites: Vodafone wheels 5G into West Midlands transport initiative

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: T-Systems focuses on its Brot und Butter; Israel to track COVID-19 victims; Huawei provides Massive MIMO in Johannesburg.

  • Vodafone UK has signed a memorandum of understanding with regional transport authority Transport for West Midlands with a view to exploring how 5G can be used to grease the wheels of the region's mobility strategy. A couple of projects are already up and running, one testing how 5G can make the identification of potential parking spaces easier and another looking at how to use 5G to provide high-resolution video footage in trams, which the authority believes could help with social distancing. Regional industry accelerator West Midlands 5G (WM5G) is also involved in the initiative.

  • Changes to the structure of Deutsche Telekom announced in December have come into effect, with DT's IT services arm, T-Systems, being "repositioned" away from telecom and closer to its core skills of IT and digital services. What were T-Systems' telecom services have been absorbed into Telekom Deutschland's business-to-business unit, and 3,000 T-Systems employees in Germany have been transferred to Telekom Deutschland as a result. Elsewhere, 5,000 additional T-Systems employees are transferring to subsidiaries of Telekom Deutschland.

  • Israel's parliament has voted to allow its intelligence services to access the mobile phone data of those of its citizens diagnosed with COVID-19, the BBC reports. The new law allows for data relating to the location of patients for 14 days before the date of their diagnosis to be gathered.

  • Huawei has outed itself as the provider of Massive MIMO technology that allowed South African operator MTN to launch 5G services in Johannesburg this week. According to Huawei, the technology "guarantees the user experience" for bandwidth-munching services such as 4K video and augmented/virtual reality. MTN launched 5G across 100 sites in South Africa on Tuesday – for more details, see this story on our sister site, Connecting Africa.

  • Sky Germany is hoping to hang on to more customers by offering them greater flexibility when they come to renew their contract. For the first time, Sky customers will be able to choose between re-committing for another yearly subscription or moving onto a monthly subscription model for a "small surcharge."

  • The European Union could be changing its approach to what it perceives as the problem of tech giants such as Google and Apple unfairly squeezing out its smaller rivals. As Reuters reports, the EU may ditch its largely ineffective antitrust lawsuits and instead draw up a set of new rules that it hopes will level the playing field. (See Trump Trashes EU's $5B Google Fine, Eurobites: EU Socks Google With $5B Monster-Fine for Android Control-Freakery and Eurobites: EU Fines Google $2.7B Over Shopping Shenanigans.)

  • In related matters, the UK Competition and Markets Authority is less than happy with the deal struck between Google and Apple, which allows for Google to become the default search engine on Apple's Safari web browser. In a report, the authority described the arrangement as "a significant barrier to entry and expansion" for Google's search rivals.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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