Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: the smell of 5G; augmenting the grim reality of Michael Bublé; Ericsson and Qualcomm claim 28GHz band breakthrough.
Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has declared its nationwide 4G NB-IoT network in Norway officially open for business. The operator has already been working with a number of Norwegian companies that are looking to use the network, including Posten, a Nordic postal service, and Agdir, a "smart farming" startup.
5Geee what's that smell? Mobile operators Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) and Three UK have signed up to use part of London's Victorian sewer system as a conduit for fiber, replacing connections provided by BT-linked Openreach. As the Telegraph reports, the pair have done a deal with the telecom arm of utility supplier SSE Telecoms in the hope that using the 19th-century infrastructure will make them more 5G-ready. Around 100 masts in the Soho and Mayfair districts of central London will be connected to the fiber, which will be installed by SSE.
But maybe not if you're the one laying the fiber...
And in a separate major industry announcement, O2 is allowing fans of Michael Bublé to download an augmented reality version of the Sinatra-lite crooner to their smartphones so that they can take selfies and videos with a 3D avatar of the twinkly warbler. To enable this cutting-edge win-win scenario, O2 staged a "hi-tech film shoot" of Bublé using "volumetric 3D capture technology" that used an array of 106 resolution and infrafred cameras to record his every move.
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Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM)
are claiming another 5G milestone with the completion of a standards-based, over-the-air, non-standalone (NSA) 5G NR data call on the 28GHz band at the Swedish vendor's Kista Lab, using Ericsson's commercially available 5G hardware together with a test device powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem.
Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has completed the new line-up of its top brass in anticipation of its imminent merger with Com Hem. Following on from four positions announced in August, the latest (and final) names to be anointed are as follows: Tom Craig, EVP, Sweden Business; Guillaume van Gaver, EVP, International Markets; Jon James, EVP, CEO Tele2 Netherlands; Fredrik Stenberg, EVP, Transformation & Operational Excellence; Joel Westin, EVP, Strategy & Business Development; Viktor Wallström, EVP, Communications; Thomas Björklund, EVP, Technology Mobile; Thomas Helbo, Executive Vice President, Technology Fixed; and Joss Delissen, EVP, IT.
Citizen's Advice, the UK consumer rights watchdog, has communications service providers in its sights again, lodging a "super-complaint" with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) about how consumers are being effectively penalized for their loyalty to providers of broadband and mobile services, as well as those companies supplying financial services such as home insurance, mortgages and savings. The watchdog estimates that the average "loyalty penalty" -- paid by those who fail to shop around or question the price of their contract renewal -- is a staggering £877 (US$1,114) per year. In a strongly worded statement, Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: "It beggars belief that companies in regulated markets can get away with routinely punishing their customers simply for being loyal. As a result of this super-complaint, the CMA should come up with concrete measures to end this systematic scam."