Eurobites: BT/Openreach will strangle competition if left unchecked, warns CityFibre

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Israel wants more 5G for smarter cities; Vodafone appoints head for healthcare hub; Turkcell vs. MTN rumbles on.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has filed a complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Ofcom against BT and Openreach over what CityFibre describes as BT/Openreach's "aggressive strategy to foreclose infrastructure competition in the UK fibre broadband market." It's a strategy, says CityFibre, that "exploits the dependency" of its wholesale Internet service provider customers, deterring them from placing orders with alternative providers. In a statement, CityFibre CEO Greg Mesch said: "If left unchecked, BT Openreach will strangle competition and threaten the pace of the UK's full fibre roll out – all at the same time as BT Consumer is imposing broadband price rises on millions of households far above the rate of inflation." BT has been in talks with Ofcom about introducing something called Equinox 2, which would essentially cut the wholesale rates Openreach charges for its full-fiber services, making it more attracting to Internet service providers. (See BT accused of 'choking off' altnets as fiber splurge sparks worry.)

    (Source: Ian Georgeson/Alamy Stock Photo)
    (Source: Ian Georgeson/Alamy Stock Photo)

  • The head of Israel's communications ministry has called on the country's mobile operators to help drive the development of smart-city applications such as connected traffic lights and remote healthcare by deploying more 5G. As Reuters reports, Liran Avisar Ben Horin was speaking ahead of an auction of frequencies in the 26GHz range. Israel held its first 5G auction in 2019.

  • Vodafone has appointed hyper-hyphenated former Oracle bigwig Anne-Marie Vine-Lott to the newly created role of head of the operator's Centre for Health, a sort of virtual healthcare hub for the UK market that it set up last year in collaboration with Deloitte. Vine-Lott's career also includes a stint at Britain's beleaguered National Health Service, which should help.

  • Nokia has landed a data center interconnect gig in South Korea with KINX (Korea Internet Neutral eXchange), a data center and international/domestic transit service provider. The vendor says its ROADM offering will help KINX reduce its operational spend by automating complex tasks that previously required costly manual intervention.

  • Turkcell is to appeal against the Iranian courts' recent decision in favor of MTN (which was just the latest twist in a legal dispute that has been running since 2013), arguing that South African law should have applied as MTN's headquarters are undeniably in South Africa. The dispute centers on allegations of "impropriety" relating to the award of the first private mobile license in Iran. Turkcell and its EAC subsidiary had been seeking $4.2 billion in damages.

  • Telia's IoT connectivity is playing a part in making driving safer by linking up wireless road sensors – which can very accurately monitor weather and road surface conditions – to a forecasting engine operated by Vaisala, a company specializing in weather, environmental and industrial measurements.

  • UK mobile operator EE has done a deal with cybersecurity firm Norton, and is now offering a range of cybersecurity add-ons for its postpaid customers, albeit for a minimum of £2 ($2.43) extra per month.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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