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Eurobites: Swisscom Rolls Into Private Blockchain

Paul Rainford
12/6/2018
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Huawei finds solace in Portugal; French fiber pushes on; Colt expands in central and eastern Europe; VEON's new man in Ukraine; Nokia gets busy in China and Brazil.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is teaming up with Swiss Post to build an infrastructure that will allow the pair to operate their own private blockchain services, using distributed ledger technology. As a private blockchain, rather than a public version such as Bitcoin, it can only be used by those who have a "contractual relationship" with the providers of an application, and all the data will be kept within Switzerland.

  • Separately, Swisscom has chosen Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Expert Analytics offering to help it keep tabs on service performance issues for its 5.3 million 4G mobile broadband subscribers.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd may be having a pretty awful week elsewhere but in Portugal it has made friends with Altice , signing a 5G partnership with the operator. At the time of writing, Altice PT is still committed to using Huawei equipment and software for its 5G rollout next year.

  • The number of subscriptions to full-on fiber broadband services in France increased by 50% year-on-year in Q3 2018 to reach 8.4 million, according to Arcep , the country's telecom regulator. Forty-three percent of all premises eligible to subscribe to a "superfast" broadband plan were doing so in Q3 2018, a 5% rise on the equivalent figure a year ago. Rollouts-wise, 2.98 million additional premises have been passed for FTTH over the past four quarters, bringing the number of premises eligible to subscribe to an FTTH service to 12.5 million.

  • Colt Technology Services Group Ltd is expanding its IQ Network in central and eastern Europe, connecting major hubs in the region with 7,000km of new fiber infrastructure. Cities benefiting from the UK firm's expansion include Sofia, Zagreb, Prague, Budapest and Warsaw. Ten data centers will also be connected, using gear from Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN).

  • VEON , the Amsterdam-based but Russia-focused operator, has appointed Aleksandr Komarov as CEO of Kyivstar GSM in Ukraine. Komarov joined VEON five years and since 2015 has been CEO of Beeline Kazakhstan.

  • Finland's Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has teamed up with China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) to develop what they say is an "industry-first" hybrid distributed indoor radio offering that will be able to cope with the 5G connectivity demands inside large and busy buildings such as shopping malls and business campuses. The offering, which its backers claim will reduce deployment costs, uses the Nokia 5G Pico RRH system together with passive DAS antennas and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology.

  • Meanwhile, in Brazil, Nokia has signed a long-term network upgrade agreement with Oi to help ready the operator for the dawning of the 5G era. As part of the agreement, Nokia's AirScale single radio access network will be deployed across the country to support 2G, 3G and 4G services -- and 5G services, when they arrive.

  • The Welsh city of Swansea has been announced as the latest UK metropolis to benefit from Openreach 's "Fibre First" FTTH program. The rollout is aiming to reach 3 million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of 2020. (See Eurobites: UK Fine-Tunes Its Full-Fiber Future.)

  • Switzerland's Kudelski Group has announced a joint initiative with Pepper IoT, an Internet of Things platform and service provider, to protect consumer data on connected devices bought in the US.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s EE is claiming that it will be the first operator in the world to offer the OnePlus 5G smartphone when it "ranges" (ugh) the device in 2019. EE is planning to switch on 5G sites in 16 UK cities in 2019.

    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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