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Eurobites: Telia explores 'smart battery' technology for network efficiency

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: new TIM boss sets out his stall; Telefónica Tech checks its credentials; BT signs London Underground data center deal.

  • Nordic operator Telia has embarked on a pilot of smart battery energy storage systems with Polarium, a Swedish energy storage specialist. According to Allison Kirkby, Telia's president and CEO, the pilot – which will run over two network sites in Sweden – forms part of a wider plan to "reinvent how networks conserve and consume energy." It is hoped that the use of smart battery systems will facilitate "electricity peak shaving," whereby battery capacity is used when demand and prices for grid supply is high. The potential to feed power back into the grid will also be considered.

  • The new boss of Telecom Italia (TIM), Pietro Labriola, has met with the board of directors to present his vision for the future of the company, which appears to involve a focus on enterprise services such as cloud, IoT and cybersecurity. The board also agreed to give Labriola a "mandate to explore strategic options to maximize shareholder value, with specific reference to the Group's infrastructure assets." Could a fixed-assets spin-off be on the cards?

  • Telefónica Tech, which describes itself as Telefónica's digital business unit, has teamed up with cybersecurity outfit VU to launch an authentication service which is intended to protect organizations from having their corporate credentials stolen or misused. According to its backers, the Access & Authentication service offers an extra layer of security, while keeping things simple through a single sign-on facility. The service allows VU technology to be incorporated into the likes of VPNs, intranets and common collaboration applications such as Office 365.

  • BT has signed a multi-million-pound contract with BAI Communications, under the terms of which BT will supply a core part of BAI's data center needs as it works with Transport for London to enable high-speed mobile and Wi-Fi coverage on the London Underground. The deal follows BAI's announcement that Three and EE, BT's mobile arm, would the first to join its "neutral host" cellular network. BAI landed a 20-year concession with Transport for London. (See Eurobites: Three, EE get onboard London's tube connectivity plan.)

  • In a separate announcement, BT also says it plans to recruit more than 600 apprentices and graduates for its September 2022 intake. The new recruits could end up in any one of a number of areas, such as engineering, customer service, applied research or cybersecurity.

  • London-based altnet Community Fibre has doubled its network rollout target in the capital and now intends to pass 2.2 million homes and business by the end of 2024. Interestingly, Olaf Swantee, late of EE and Sunrise, is executive chairman at Community Fibre, as well as being a strategic advisor at investment firm Warburg Pincus, which, together with Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP), owns a controlling stake in the altnet.

  • It may be nearly February but the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, has just got round to making its predictions for 2022, and it sees a bright future for 5G – "we expect up to 30% of mobile devices in the UK will be able to use 5G by the end of the year" – and open RAN, which it believes will "make further headlines" during the course of the year. It also envisages "smarter charging" for devices in the home, citing the example of a Samsung TV remote that can recharge itself using ambient Wi-Fi radio waves.

  • Also indulging in the vision thing is Vodafone, whose Connected Consumer 2030 report predicts that connectivity and smart technology will "fundamentally transform our experience of the world" within the next decade. The report predicts, among other things, that bathroom mirrors could be fitted with sensors that check for blood flow and abnormal changes in skin color, while smart speakers could automatically request a medical prescription on the detection of tell-tale sounds such coughs and sneezes.

  • Eutelsat has signed a multi-year deal with Africa's Intersat, under the terms of which Intersat will draw on the coverage of the Eutelsat Konnect satellite to provide robust Internet service to customers in Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Senegal who can't be reached via the terrestrial route.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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