Eurobites: 5G Arrives at UK's Birmingham New Street Station

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telia's Lithuanian arm axes jobs; Sunrise launches FWA for 5G early adopters; Ofcom probes BT over Irish fiber deal.

  • Vodafone UK claims to have set up Britain's "first 5G train station," conducting trials of the technology at Birmingham New Street with passengers who are interested enough to have a play with a 5G router. The move is part of Vodafone's program to roll out 5G to a number of busy commuter locations across the UK during 2019, with plans to switch on the new network in 19 towns and cities by the end of the year. (See Vodafone UK: We'll Be Ready to Launch 5G in Mid-2019.)

    Vodafone Brings Out the Big Guns for 5G
    Extravagantly muscled Vodafone operative runs Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, through the benefits of 5G at Birmingham New Street Station.
    Extravagantly muscled Vodafone operative runs Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, through the benefits of 5G at Birmingham New Street Station.

  • In other Vodafone news, the group's Indian arm, Vodafone Idea, is collaborating with Cisco on an NFV-based multicloud network across the country to better serve the operator's retail and enterprise customers.

  • Telia's Lithuanian unit, Telia Lietuva, is axing 285 jobs -- 12% of its workforce -- to "increase efficiency." Some of those clearing their desks will be offered positions at Telia Global Services in Vilnius, which is currently expanding its operations.

  • Switzerland's Sunrise is launching a fixed wireless access (FWA) service to 5G early adopters, using Huawei network products and terminals. The service will cover both residential and business customers. Later in the year, the operator also plans to launch 5G smartphone and 5G HD IPTV services.

  • UK communications regulator Ofcom is investigating whether BT offered eir fair access to its network when the latter won a €58 million (US$65.1 million) public sector connectivity deal in Northern Ireland in 2018. As the Irish Times reports, Irish operator eir lodged the complaint, accusing BT's quasi-autonomous network access division, Openreach, of failing to provide access on the same terms to Eir that it offered to its parent company. (See BT's Jansen: We Need to Talk About Openreach.)

  • Sweden's Ericsson is basking in reflected 5G glory this week, having helped SK Telecom and KT launch 5G services in South Korea and Verizon do the same in the US. (See South Korea Stutters Towards a National 5G Launch on Friday and Verizon's Mobile 5G Network Goes Live in 2 Cities at 'Typical' 450Mbit/s Speeds.)

  • The Norwegian government has said that it will allow operators to postpone payments for mobile phone spectrum in return for commitments on network investment, Reuters reports. Norway is holding two spectrum auctions in June, and will allow operators to delay payments of up to 90% of fees for two years to spur network rollout.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has denied speculation in the Italian press that its chairman, Fulvio Conti, could be moving on to the chairmanship of Open Fiber, the wholly owned subsidiary of Italian energy company Enel. In a statement, TIM said: "The positive outcome of TIM’s AGM on 29 March strengthens the Company’s present Board of Directors and clearly its Chairman in their actions in TIM’s interest for the entire duration of the mandate."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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