Eurobites: Vodafone Uses 4G to Track Drones

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia targets the smart city; more 5G claims; BT sells cable-making business; new boss-in-waiting for Ireland's eir.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is to carry out trials of its own 4G-based drone-tracking technology in Spain and Germany to help combat the potential dangers posed by commercial civilian drones that are too small to be tracked by conventional radar. The trials build on a preliminary test carried out late last year, which used Vodafone's 4G network to control a 1.3 metre wingspan, 2 kilogram X-UAV drone. The radio positioning system (RPS) uses a 4G modem and SIM card embedded within each drone, allowing the drone to be tracked by its owner and the authorities to override a drone operator's control in case of an emergency. Vodafone hopes that, if this year's trials prove successful, the drone tracking software will be available for commercial use from 2019.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is targeting the "smart city" with three offerings that set out to help operators and systems integrators make money from this much-hyped concept. IoT for Smart Cities is a framework that helps orchestrate smart city operations such as lighting and waste management; Sensing as a Service provides provides real-time environmental data and intelligent analytics from existing basestation sites; and S-MVNO (Secure Mobile Virtual Network Operator) for Public Safety enables operators to use their commercial LTE networks to offer mission-critical broadband services to public safety agencies.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd are claiming a world first with what they say was the successful test of 5G interoperability based on the 3GPP R15 standard with a commercial basestation in an operator lab environment. The trial took place in Bonn, and follows a similar workout of the technology in Huawei's Shanghai labs.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is putting its cable-making business up for sale, the Daily Telegraph reports. BT Cables, which is part of BT Wholesale and supplies Openreach with fiber-optic and copper cables, became part of BT in 2012 when BT bought it out of administration.

  • Carolan Lennon is to become the new CEO of Irish incumbent eir , replacing Richard Moat, who had previously announced he was to step down. The appointment will take effect after completion of the acquisition of a majority shareholding in eir by a consortium led by NJJ Telecom Europe, probably in the first half of 2018. Lennon joined eir in 2010 and is currently the managing director of eir's networks and wholesale division. (See Iliad's Owner Swoops on Ireland's eir.)

  • With the critical communications market starting to open up to commercial operators, Telia has joined the The Critical Communications Association (TCCA), which "represents all standard mobile critical communications technologies and complementary applications." For more, see this press release.

  • Crnogorski Telekom, Deutsche Telekom's Montenegro subsidiary, has signed a ten-year energy infrastructure management agreement with Ericsson. The Ericsson system, which is the fruit of a collaboration with Panasonic announced about a year ago, uses big data analytics, energy management software, and lithium-ion batteries for energy storage. (See Ericsson & Panasonic Join to Deliver Smart, Sustainable Energy Solutions.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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