Eurobites: UK providers accused of driving 'greedflation'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Lyca Mobile ditches O2, goes with EE; Nokia, Telefónica target Latin American opportunities; nobody's heard of altnets.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 28, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: UK providers accused of driving 'greedflation'
Have the UK's broadband and mobile companies been caught with their snouts in the trough? (Source: Manor Photography/Alamy Stock Photo)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Lyca Mobile ditches O2, goes with EE; Nokia, Telefónica target Latin American opportunities; nobody's heard of altnets.

The UK's broadband and mobile companies are under fire again for fuelling "greedflation," in other words, exacerbating inflation by using the already high inflation rate as an excuse to unfairly jack up prices for consumers even further. The disquiet centers on mid-contract price rises, and specifically the practice of adding a largely unexplained extra 3.9% on top of inflation rate-linked increases – a practice that six of the major providers have adopted. As the Guardian reports, UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is today meeting with regulators, Ofcom among them, to put pressure on them to up their game when it comes to monitoring what the companies are up to with what appears to be a suspiciously cartel-like approach to pricing. Ofcom has looked at the issue earlier in the year, but the government and others clearly feel that it needs to look a bit harder – and possibly take action.

  • Lyca Mobile, the UK-based mobile virtual network operator that specializes in cut-price international calling, has ditched O2 and plumped for BT-owned EE as its network of choice. Richard Schäfer, Lyca's newly appointed CEO, thanked O2 for its service, saying that without its support it could "not have grown into the thriving business we are today." Which probably won't be of much comfort to O2.

  • Nokia and Telefónica are joining forces to target enterprise private network opportunities in Latin America, with a particular focus on Industry 4.0 applications in the ports, mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.

  • The European Parliament has reached agreement with EU member states on the European Data Act, which is intended to "unlock" industrial data and foster a competitive cloud market within the EU, among other aspirations. The proposals agreed upon include mechanisms that allow public sector bodies to access and use data held by the private sector in cases of public emergencies such as floods or wildfires as well as new rules that give customers the freedom to switch between different cloud data-processing service providers, thus avoiding the much discussed and widely dreaded "vendor lock-in." The agreement between Parliament and the member states is now subject to formal approval before the Data Act becomes law.

  • Ericsson has landed the contract to upgrade Jersey Telecom's mobile network, bringing, it is hoped, improved voice quality, faster speeds and better security to customers of the government-owned operator. The project will begin this year and is due for completion in 2026.

  • BT is adding server energy consumption to its "carbon network dashboard" to give its customers a more complete view of the carbon emissions generated by their digital processes. As an example, BT says the dashboard could look at network traffic over a 24-hour period and identify opportunities for server devices to be placed into deep sleep, depending on the way the workloads and apps are run. According to figures from the IEA, data centers and their associated networks account for 0.9% of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

  • A new study commissioned by Vodafone concludes that 5G-enabled technologies could, among other benefits, save the UK's National Health Service almost £1 billion a year through the greater use of remote check-ups and real-time patient monitoring via IoT technology. However, the study found skepticism about 5G, particularly amongst older people, with less than a third of 55-to-64-year-olds seeing how the technology has the potential to improve their day-to-day lives.

  • Another study, from price-comparison website Uswitch.com, has found that 85% of UK broadband users have never heard of altnets, the alternative fiber network providers attempting to challenge the broadband dominance of BT. More encouragingly for the altnets, 60% of broadband customers say they would like to see more variety and choice in broadband delivery.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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