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5G

Eurobites: We're falling behind on 5G, says ETNO

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange ends network-sharing talks with Free; fiber's greener than copper, say its backers; STC, Huawei combine on 5G for the oil and gas industry.

  • Europe is falling behind on 5G, and a renewed focus on investment in the technology is needed to stop the rot, according to new research commissioned by the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO). The report, State of Digital Communications, which was prepared by Analysys Mason, reveals that the proportion of European citizens covered by at least one 5G network grew from 12.9% in 2019 to 24.4% in Q3 2020, compared to 76% of citizens in the US and 93% in South Korea. The average mobile revenue per user (ARPU) is also lower in Europe: €14.9 (US$18) as opposed to €36.9 in the US and €28.1 in Japan. ETNO appears to put some of the blame for the lag on the fragmented nature of the European telecom market and what it calls the "high levels of regulatory restraints."

  • Orange says it has ended discussions with rival Free over a potential network-sharing agreement. In a short statement, the operator said: "Given a divergence in deployment strategy, Orange has decided to end these discussions. For Orange, the quality of its networks is a priority."

  • A new report from BREKO, a German broadband trade association, produced in concert with the FTTH Council Europe and Europacable, seeks to underline the green credentials of fiber networks, claiming that copper-based networks consume up to 17 times more electricity than their fiber equivalents. The report, "Towards & Greener Europe with Full Fibre," concludes that full-fiber networks "are the only ones that can cope with future data rate requirements without a need to adapt or upgrade their primary passive infrastructure."

  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has signed an agreement with Huawei and Saudi Aramco to launch a joint innovation program focusing on the use of 5G in the oil and gas industry. It is envisaged that technologies such as network slicing, multi-access edge computing and massive IoT will all play a part in a private 5G network controlling Aramco's upstream, middle and downstream production services.

  • Telefónica Germany has chosen Seattle-based Opanga Networks as its RAN optimization partner. Opanga's software draws on machine-learning techniques to help improve the user experience and help the network run faster.

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic is to roll out full-fiber broadband to 8,000 homes in Poplar, east London, in a project with the HARCA housing association. The homes predominantly belong to low-income families: Hyperoptic is currently working with the housing association to identify families without a reliable broadband connection who might be eligible for its free broadband offer. Those qualifying for the offer can order a free 50Mbit/s service from Hyperoptic, which run until the end of the current academic year.

  • BT's consumer division boss, Marc Allera, has been reflecting on how the "reshoring" of call center workers – which was completed a year ago – has helped the company keep up with customers' demands during the pandemic. Says Allera: "With 100% of our frontline people based across many sites in the UK and Ireland, we have been able to maintain resilience in the face of the Coronavirus crisis where others have not."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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