Eurobites: BT tweaks digital migration strategy

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Elisa offers 5G SA broadband subscriptions over FWA; Telia COO departs; 5G finds its fan base.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

May 20, 2024

3 Min Read
BT engineer at work
(Source: BT)
  • BT has resumed the digital switchover of customers who have not used their landline in the last 12 months and do not "identify as vulnerable," shifting them off the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and onto digital landlines – whether they have asked to be switched over or not. The move follows an industry-wide pause of the digital switchover program in the face of complaints from those customers who didn't appreciate being migrated against their will – some of them customers reliant on telecare devices that were found not to work properly on the new-style digital landlines.

    BT's business unit, meanwhile, is urging all of its customers to "engage early" and to collaborate with the company ahead of making the switch, especially where there may be a requirement to test existing or upgrade to new equipment to ensure compatibility with a digital line.

    The revised approach, hopes BT, will result in a "single switch" for the majority of customers (businesses and consumers) – from copper to fiber – with all customers now expected to have moved off the old analogue PSTN by the end of January 2027.

  • Elisa has launched new 5G standalone (5G SA) network broadband subscriptions in what it claims is the first such move by a Finnish operator. Businesses will initially be offered 5G SA via a fixed wireless access (FWA) setup that operates through an external router and a 5G SA dongle for mobile working. Later, in the fall, businesses will be able to benefit from 5G SA private networks that make use of network slicing technology. Elisa will also be offering 5G SA mobile broadband subscriptions to consumers.

  • Telia's group chief operating officer, Dr. Rainer Deutschmann, is leaving at the end of the month to, in the words of the Telia statement, "pursue opportunities outside the company." Hein Müskens, Telia's group chief information officer, will temporarily take on the COO role in addition to his usual duties until a permanent replacement is found.

  • Vodafone has been testing a new augmented reality app that runs over 5G and is aimed at fans attending large sports events. The app, developed by AR specialist, was put through its paces at an international rugby match over the weekend at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff. Rather worryingly, perhaps, Vodafone says that the app gives every fan "the opportunity to be their own broadcaster," allowing them to track live player stats by simply holding their phones up toward the pitch. The 5G Fan App will be fully live and available to fans (at least those armed with the appropriate phones) at the Principality Stadium for next year's rugby Six Nations Championship.

  • In similar territory, Swedish operator Tele2 has, with the help of Ericsson, upgraded the Friends Arena in Stockholm with 5G. The technology would have had a good workout over the weekend, when around 150,000 fans attended a series of concerts at the arena, 149,999 of them holding their phones aloft to take videos that no one will ever watch.

  • Telefónica Tech has signed a cybersecurity services deal with Microsoft, integrating some of the US giant's cyberchops into its own enterprise offering.

  • The UK AI Safety Institute, launched with much fanfare toward the end of last year, is to open a US office in San Francisco. The British government, which very much has the hots for AI, is hoping that the branch opening will enable the UK to tap into the tech talent of the Bay Area and engage with the world's largest AI labs. The office is expected to open this summer, once a team of crack AI boffins has been assembled to staff it.

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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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