Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Rakuten does deals with Nokia, Kyivstar; United Group completes Bulsatcom acquisition; Orange offloads its banking customers.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

February 27, 2024

3 Min Read
Child looking at smartphone
(Source: Tim Gouw on Unsplash)
  • Vodafone has teamed up with Broadcom-owned VMware to tackle the problem of bandwidth-guzzling, "pre-fetched" short video clips that the likes of TikTok continually serve up to keep their users hooked in an infinite scroll. As Santiago Tenorio, Vodafone's director of network architecture, explains, a "significant portion" of this type of content isn't even watched, so it becomes "wasted traffic that consumes network resources and energy for no purpose." The proof-of-concept developed by the two companies uses a network API (application programming interface) on Vodafone's network, combined with WMware's RAN Intelligent Controller software, offering content providers a real-time view of network conditions so that they can set appropriate parameters. It's a big problem: Vodafone estimates that up to 20% of the traffic flowing through a mobile basestation may be made up of unsolicited video content that no one ever gets to see. The technology is currently being demonstrated on the stands of both Vodafone and VMware at Mobile World Congress.

  • In loosely related matters, unnamed sources have told Reuters that if the rumored tie-up between Vodafone's Italian unit and Swisscom-owned Fastweb goes ahead Vodafone is likely to have a minority stake in the new entity.

  • Nokia has landed an open RAN deal with Japan's Rakuten Mobile. Under the terms of the agreement, Nokia will supply gear from its AirScale product range powered by its ReefShark system-on-chip (SoC) technology, a combination that will support the low 700MHz band that will be used by Rakuten to complement its existing 4G network

  • Also breaking bread with Rakuten is Ukraine's Kyivstar, which has signed a Letter of Intent with the Japanese operator confirming Kyivstar's interest in deploying Rakuten Symphony's open RAN technology in its network. The two parties are currently collaborating to define the scope of their initiative, which will involve both 4G and 5G flavors of open RAN.

  • In Bulgaria, Netherlands-based United Group has completed its acquisition of Bulsatcom, a direct-to-home satellite television and broadband provider. United Group entered the Bulgarian market in 2020 by swallowing Vivacom.

  • Orange has reached an agreement allowing it to offload its banking customers to BNP Paribas, eight months or so after it announced that it was abandoning its unsuccessful foray into financial services. In France, Orange Bank customers will in time find themselves transferred to the jauntily named Hello Bank!, BNP Paribas' digital subsidiary, while in Spain they will become Cetelem customers (Cetelem being BNP Paribas' digital finance brand in Spain).

  • Telenor says it has successfully conducted its first multivendor 5G standalone deployment within a hybrid cloud environment covering both public and private cloud infrastructure. In this case, the public cloud bit was provided by Oracle, while Telenor's data center in Oslo hosted the private part. Within the Oracle segment, Telenor operated control plane components from Oracle and Enea, while technology from Casa Systems, Palo Alto Networks, Red Hat and Nokia was all called upon to make the project work.

  • In other hybrid-cloud fun, Ericsson has deployed its mobile money platform, the Ericsson Wallet Platform, on HPE GreenLake. The Swedish vendor claims that this move will enable enterprises to achieve faster deployment of fintech services and better adapt to seasonal variations in transaction traffic.

  • Deutsche Telekom is promising to offer mobile customers new network-based security products. In what is definitely a contender for Light Reading's Purple Prose of the Month award, the operator's press release says: "If the customer is king, then Deutsche Telekom's mobile network with Magenta Security on Net is his knight." But don't saddle up just yet – the products won't be available until 2025.

  • UK-based EXA is to introduce a new hybrid microwave-fiber route between London and New York. The route will see microwave technology introduced between the Slough-LD4 data center and EXA's cable landing station in Cork, Ireland.

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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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