Eurobites: Ericsson Claims LTE-A First

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT gets Sky Sports channels onto YouView boxes; Netflix rolls into Belgium; Ofcom's new boss.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) are claiming a successful completion of what they say is the world's first live LTE-Advanced FDD trial in the 3.4-3.6GHz band. After an initial phase at the Orange Labs in Paris, the trial moved to the French city of Bordeaux, where a peak performance of 150 Mbit/s at a distance of up to 700 meters was achieved in the 3.5GHz band when used alone, and speeds of 300 Mbit/s were attained when the 3.5GHz band was used in aggregation with the 2.6GHz band.

  • While all the talk in the UK business media is of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s exclusive talks with mobile operator EE over a possible $19.5 billion acquisition, the UK incumbent is also celebrating the launch of Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 channels on its YouView pay-TV platform following a successful application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Premium sports content has become a battleground for BT, with Sky as its principal enemy, and it will be interesting to see its strategy for the forthcoming English Premier League soccer TV rights auction in the spring. (See BT Offers $19.5B to Buy EE and BT's Got Balls.)

  • In other pay-TV news, OTT streaming giant Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) is now available on Proximus TV, Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG)'s multiscreen offering. The service will cost €7.99 (US$10) per month on standard-definition screens and €8.99 per month to watch the content on two HD-quality screens simultaneously. (See HBO Braces to Battle Netflix in Europe and Eurobites: Could Netflix Crash Europe's Networks?)

  • Nokia Networks has appointed Bernard Najm to lead its business operations in Middle East and Africa. Najm, who will be based in Dubai in his new role, is currently running the show in Nokia's SKIL (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Levant) region.

  • UK regulator Ofcom is getting a new chief executive in the shape of Sharon White, who is currently a high-flier in the UK government's Treasury department. She replaces Ed Richards, who led the regulator for eight years. White will receive an annual salary of £275,000 ($433,000).

  • The Conseil d'Etat, France's highest administrative court, has rejected a request from Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s Free to suspend publication of regulator Arcep 's first "scorecard" on the quality of fixed Internet services. Presumably Free is concerned that its score might not be one of the highest...

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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