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Eurobites: Deutsche Telekom, BMW Try to Steer German Govt Away From Connected-Car WiFi

Paul Rainford
4/16/2019
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: German auction latest; US takes 'softer' approach on Huawei front; how the Notre-Dame fire confused YouTube's algorithm.

  • Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Hoettges has teamed up with BMW boss Harald Krueger to pen a letter warning the German government that opting to use WiFi technology in connected cars is a bad idea that will leave Europe trailing in the wake of rivals such as China. As Reuters reports, the European Commission has recently nailed its colors to the WiFi mast for the development of connected-car technology, though the European Parliament's transport committee has already rejected the Commission's proposal.

  • Bidding in Germany's 5G spectrum auction stood at €5.3 billion ($6 billion) after 200 rounds on Tuesday morning as four companies continue to battle for the frequency licenses to support next-generation mobile services. Existing network operators Deutsche Telekom, Telefónica and Vodafone have been joined in the contest by 1&1 Drillisch, a broadband operator that aims to build a fourth mobile network. The bidding amounts have now exceeded analyst and government expectations and prompted criticism from Timotheus Höttges, the aforementioned CEO of Deutsche Telekom, about the impact on network rollout. Germany is selling licenses for spectrum in both the 2GHz and 3.5GHz band. While pricing for the latter is still far below the levels seen during Italy's 5G auction last year, the 2GHz band has made up some of the difference, as 1&1 bids aggressively for the spectrum it would need to build a nationwide network.

  • A meeting in Prague next month between the US and its allies will be used by the US to put pressure on the other countries to adopt security measures that will effectively shut out Huawei from the development of their 5G networks, according to a Reuters report. A US official quoted in the report said that the Prague meeting marks a shift to a "softer" approach by the US to the whole issue of Huawei's role in communications networks. (See Where Huawei Fears to Tread.)

  • However, it seems that the US might be wasting its breath on Belgium: According to another Reuters report, Belgium's center for cybersecurity has found no evidence that equipment supplied by Huawei could be used as a "backdoor" for state-sponsored espionage. Proximus, Orange Belgium and Telenet all use Huawei gear, says the report.

  • French communications regulator Arcep is to make available the 2.6GHz TDD band specifically for use in professional mobile radio (PMR) networks, which are local networks designed to meet the connectivity needs of certain vertical industries, and are often called upon in emergency situations. Currently, says Arcep, these are based on 2G technologies, and upgrading them to 4G or (ultimately) 5G would offer features like real-time video transmission over those networks.

  • Brexit schmexit: T-Systems, the IT services arm of Deutsche Telekom, says it is demonstrating its faith in the UK at a time of political uncertainty by opening two new British offices, one in London and the other in Milton Keynes. The new London headquarters will demonstrate new digital and cloud technologies and Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities.

  • SD-WAN purveyor Aryaka has taken an order from HMSHost International, part of Italian catering giant Autogrill. The plan is to replace its complex smorgasbord of local MPLS contracts with a super-sized dollop of SD-WAN over the next five years. Hmmmm! (See Autogrill Unit Snacks on Aryaka's SD-WAN.)

  • Vivendi, the French media conglomerate that owns a major stake in Telecom Italia, saw first-quarter revenue rise 5.7% year-on-year to €3.46 billion ($3.91 billion), Bloomberg reports, surpassing analysts' expectations. Its Universal Music Group unit was the standout performer, growing 19% year-on-year in revenue terms.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has appointed Aideen Sadler to lead the delivery of a £30 million ($39.2 million) network project in the Essex town of Southend-on-Sea. Sadler, a Southend resident for more than ten years, joins CityFibre from the University of Essex. When complete, the network will put every home and business in the town within reach of full-fiber broadband. (See Eurobites: UK's CityFibre Announces $2.5B FTTH Investment Plan.)

  • The terrible fire that destroyed the roof and more of Paris's Notre-Dame cathedral yesterday also managed to confuse the algorithms driving YouTube, which saw the smoke rising from the building in uploaded videos of the incident, decided it must be footage of the 9/11 attacks in New York, and proceeded to append some explanatory text about said attacks. This Bloomberg report explains all.

    Not 9/11
    Photo by Remi Mathi, under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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