Eurobites: BT Transfers 31K Workers to Openreach

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Huawei helps Monaco go 'nationwide' with 5G; Vodafone brings gigabit broadband to Bavaria; Deutsche Telekom beefs up LTE coverage in Hesse.

  • It's a red-letter day for BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) as 31,000 of its employees are officially transferred to Openreach , the operator's quasi-autonomous network access unit, as part of a plan to make Openreach a "legally separate business" and thereby silence, or at least muffle, those who complained that the cozy, nay, incestuous relationship between BT and Openreach created an uneven playing field for UK broadband providers. According to Openreach, the move is believed to be the largest single people transfer in UK corporate history carried out under the TUPE regulations, which are intended to preserve the conditions, pay and benefits of workers when they are transferred over to a new company. (See Eurobites: BT Shareholders Warm to Openreach Spin-Off – Report, Eurobites: BT Still Has Work to Do on Openreach Separation, Vodafone UK Boss Slams Openreach 'Stranglehold', Only BT's Dismemberment Will Sate Rivals.)

  • Can a 5G network be called "nationwide" when the nation in question is less than a square mile in size? Discuss. Well, whatever the answer to that question, that's what Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd is calling the 5G network it is setting up for Monaco Telecom , the operator serving those in the teeny-tiny city-state on the French Riviera. The first antennas have already been installed in the pilot area of Port Hercule -- to coincide with the Monaco Yacht Show -- and the network is due to be completed "in the coming months."

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  • Vodafone Germany has begun rolling out DOCSIS-powered high-speed -- in this case "up to" 1 Gbit/s -- broadband in the Bavarian towns of Nuremberg and Landshut. As Broadband TV News reports, the operator hopes that around 5 million people in Bavaria will be able to sign up for the speedy service by the end of the year.

  • Still in Germany, but further north, Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) says it plans to build 530 new basestations by late 2020 in the west-central region of Hesse as part of its "#LTEüberall" program. By the end of 2021, says DT, its LTE network will cover 99.4% of households in the region, which includes Frankfurt-am-Main, the major financial center.

  • UK operator Virgin Mobile Telecoms Ltd. has introduced a feature that allows its customers to set caps on what they spend outside of their monthly call, text and data allowance. The caps can be set from £0-100 ($0-130), and customers will be sent an SMS alert when they approach their spending cap and again if the limit is reached.

  • Sky , the pay-TV giant that looks set to become part of US cable colossus Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), has done a deal with non-profit Common Sense Media to help provide more accurate information about content in a bid to prevent children seeing material they shouldn't. As well as protecting them from the nasty stuff, Common Sense's rating system is intended to allow parents to choose content that will help inspire children to "engage with the world around them." Good luck with that!

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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