Eurobites: KPN taps Ericsson for 5G test drive

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Hyperoptic raises £250 million for fiber expansion; Arcep gets tough on 4G; new economics wonk at Ofcom; Amazon's little tax miracle.

  • Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) has chosen Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) to help it test the use of 5G technology for self-driving cars, with a view to increasing traffic safety. The trials will be based at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, Netherlands, but KPN will also implement the latest technologies in its commercial network along the A270 highway between the cities of Eindhoven and Tilburg. The hope is that 5G's low latency and other characteristics will enable vehicles to communicate with each other and with traffic lights and matrix signs in near real time. The collaboration forms part of the pan-European Concorda project, which has been set up to prepare the motorways of Europe for automated driving and the scary-sounding "high density truck platooning."

  • UK altnet Hyperoptic has raised £250 million ($325.8 million) from a group of eight international banks to help fund its rollout of gigabit broadband across 50 town and cities across the country by 2019. The company, which currently reaches nearly half a million homes with its 1Gbit/s service, claims that this is the largest single investment made in the UK in a "full fiber" network provider. Hyperoptic is one of a group of alternative providers who voiced their displeasure at the likes of Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) using the term "fiber" in the promotion of their hybrid broadband offerings. (See Eurobites: UK UBB Providers Cry Foul Over 'Phony Fiber'.)

  • French telecom regulator Arcep has amended the conditions of the 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2.1GHz band licenses to make the 4G coverage commitments made by Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR at the start of this year legally binding. Any failure to comply could result in penalties.

  • UK regulator Ofcom has appointed Dr. Luisa Affuso as its new chief economist, succeeding Peter Culham, who is retiring. Affuso joins from PwC, where she was a director in the economics group.

  • The ten-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is planning to forge a cybersecurity agreement with Russia, according to a Reuters report. In July, Singapore suffered its worst cyber attack to date, when hackers stole the personal data of around 1.5 million people from a government health database.

  • And here's a good news story for a Friday: As the BBC reports, Amazon Services UK has managed to shrink its tax bill down to £1.7 million ($2.2 million), from £7.4 million ($9.6 million) a year earlier. Its operating profits rose to £80 million ($104 million), from £48 million ($62.5 million). Well, it's not as though the UK needs the money is it?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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