Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: STC opts for Cisco's Virtualized Packet Core; T-Mobile goes in the Netherlands; AlcaLu signs vRAN deals.
TeliaSonera Norway and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. have demonstrated what they claim is the world's fastest "4.5G" network, achieving speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s on a live, commercial network in Oslo. The experimental network, also dubbed LTE Advanced Pro, uses the same frequencies and radio equipment as the existing 4G network, which the operator introduced six years ago. The necessary gubbins for 1Gbit/s mobile broadband -- carrier aggregation of licensed and unlicensed bands, massive MIMO, 256 QAM modulation -- have been gradually coming on stream in recent months. (See TeliaSonera Norway, Huawei Boast Fastest LTE-A Network and Huawei Promises 4.5G & LTE-M in 2016.)
Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) is to deploy Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO)'s Virtualized Packet Core in an effort to more easily develop and launch further mobile data services. "STC's goal is to maintain its leadership position by continuously innovating to meet the ever-changing customer needs," said STC's SVP for Technology & Operations, Nasser Al Nasser, in an official announcement. "Cisco Virtualized Packet Core solution will give us the flexibility we need to launch new services quickly and seamlessly for our valued customers." STC is also using virtual packet core technology from Affirmed Networks Inc. to develop IoT services. For more on the Saudi communications market, see our latest column from Light Reading's founder and CEO -- Saunders of Arabia. (See STC to Deploy Cisco's Virtualized Packet Core and NFV Made IoT Profitable for STC, Says Affirmed.)
T-Mobile Netherlands is to launch an OTT video service called Knippr in early 2016. The service will be available to anyone, whether a T-Mobile customer or not, over fixed or mobile broadband connections. Prices and TV content details have not yet been announced. Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) has already launched a similar service called KPN Play, while Vodafone Netherlands is also believed to be planning to follow suit.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has signed agreements with the cloud technology companies Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT), Advantech Co. Ltd. and 6WIND to help it deliver commercial virtualized radio access network (vRAN) products more quickly. Specifically, AlcaLu believes that collaborating with these companies will enhance the vendor's vRAN technology working on the CloudBand NFV platform, and it plans to conduct trials in North America, Asia and Europe using this platform in 2016. AlcaLu describes CloudBand as the first carrier-grade carrier grade NFV management and orchestration (MANO) platform purpose-built for service providers, and it featured as one of the NFV infrastructures (NFVis) put through its paces in Light Reading's recent interop evaluation test. (See Alcatel-Lucent Teams With Red Hat, Advantech & 6WIND for vRAN and EXCLUSIVE! NFV Interop Evaluation Results.)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s Openreach access network division has deployed the 10Gbit/s variant of ADVA's FSP 150 Carrier Ethernet demarcation and aggregation device to offer a new point-to-point 10Gbit/s Ethernet Access Direct (EAD) service to UK enterprise users. The key benefit of the new service, according to Kerry Brennan, general manager of Fibre Services at Openreach, is that "EAD 10G delivers 10 times the performance of 1Gbit/s at no more than 2.5 times the price." For more details, see this press release.
Satellite operator SES S.A. (Paris: SESG) has teamed up with sustainable energy provider Solarkiosk to deliver Internet access to underserved areas, initially in Africa. The project will be based around Solarkiosk's E-Hubb structures, which use solar technology to provide electricity to all the relevant equipment, including the satellite dish.
Europe's MEPs have passed a draft resolution that, among other things, calls for the region's digital businesses to put an end to "geo-blocking," or in other words limiting consumers' access to goods and services on the basis of an IP address, postal address, nationality or the country in which a credit card was issued. The resolution will be tabled for a vote in the new year. For more details of Monday night's vote, see this press release.
Will it become illegal in Europe for teenagers to use the likes of Facebook without their parents' express consent? That's the possibility being mooted by a BBC report, which tells of a last-minute amendment to Europe's Data Protection Regulation that is due to be voted on this Thursday. A "furious lobbying effort" to overturn the amendment has now kicked in, apparently.