Eurobites: Vodafone Goes Dutch With NB-IoT

In today's regional roundup: UK broadband providers propose less-generous compensation for poor service; Italian officials want Telecom Italia-Mediaset combo; and Ericsson tests licensed assisted access (LAA) technology in Russia.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) now claims to have launched NB-IoT services in the Netherlands and says it's on track for a commercial launch in the Republic of Ireland before the end of the year, according to an update from the Mobile World Live website. The UK-headquartered operator had originally intended to launch commercial NB-IoT services in both markets by the end of March but, as was reported by Light Reading earlier this year, missed that target. Besides flagging the availability of NB-IoT in nine Dutch cities, Vodafone is also said to have activated 1,000 base stations in the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Malaga, Santander, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza. In Germany, where the operator had also aimed for an end-of-March launch, Vodafone says it is now carrying out customer trials. NB-IoT is one of several low-power, wide-area network technologies designed to provide connectivity for smart meters and other tracking and monitoring devices. (See Vodafone to Miss NB-IoT Launch Targets.)

  • UK broadband customers could be at least £52 million ($67 million) worse off under a compensation scheme proposed by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and Sky , according to charity organization Citizens Advice. The three operators have approached regulatory authority Ofcom with a proposal under which they would decide when customers should be compensated for poor service and how much those customers should receive. Citizens Advice says the voluntary minimum payment the operators have proposed is £10 ($12.90) less for a missed appointment than Ofcom has suggested. It also highlights other disparities and says consumers would lose out by at least £52 million ($67 million) under the industry scheme.

  • A deal combining Telecom Italia's distribution network with Mediaset's content would be "desirable," according to an Italian government official quoted in a Reuters report over the weekend. Communications undersecretary Antonello Giacomelli is reported to have told La Stampa newspaper that an agreement allowing both Telecom Italia (TIM) and Mediaset S.p.A. to grow would be welcome. The telco and broadcaster are currently linked through French media giant Vivendi, which is Telecom Italia's biggest shareholder, with a 23.9% stake, and Mediaset's second largest, with 29%. Italian authorities have previously lashed out at Vivendi over its growing influence in the country's telecom and broadcasting sectors. (See Vivendi's Genish Gets GM Job at Telecom Italia.)

  • Swedish vendor Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) says it has carried out small cell trials of licensed assisted access (LAA) technology in Russia in partnership with local mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) and chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM). LAA technology aims to boost connection speeds by combining licensed and unlicensed frequencies and could figure more prominently in telco plans as data traffic continues to build up on mobile networks. Ericsson says the trials used one of its Pico RBS 6402 small cells in conjunction with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE mobile test device.

    — Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

  • varunarora 8/24/2017 | 2:37:02 AM
    Claims...??? "claims to have launched" - interesting choice of words. What's the driver?

    iotman 8/22/2017 | 9:02:38 PM
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