Eurobites: BT & Huawei Join Forces on 5G

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson job-cutting ahead of schedule; Fastweb plans to roll out gigabit service; BBC trials 4K HDR video.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has thrown in its lot with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on 5G, the two companies agreeing to conduct joint research on the embryonic technology at BT's laboratories in Ipswich and elsewhere in the UK. Specific areas earmarked for investigation include: a new air interface between devices and basestations; so-called "network slicing"; IoT applications; and security technologies. BT and Huawei have a history of working together: Recently the two companies announced trials of 3Tbit/s data transfer over BT's core network. Back in August BT revealed that it had signed a similar 5G partnership with Nokia. (See Eurobites: BT, Nokia Buddy Up on 5G.)

  • It seems Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is ahead of schedule on its job-cutting program, with 1,600 employees in Sweden agreeing to voluntary redundancy as from the end of the year. The earlier-than-expected redundancies mean that restructuring costs for Ericsson's 2016 financial year are greater than anticipated, running at 5.5-6.5 billion Swedish kronor (US$607-718 million), compared to the previous estimate of SEK4-5 billion ($441-552 million). This figure assumes that the job-cutting program goes to plan elsewhere. It was in October that Ericsson announced its intention to cut 3,000 jobs in Sweden as part of the company's wider "efficiency program," which was launched in response to a series of disappointing financial results. (See Cost Cutting Must Continue, Says Ericsson's New CEO.)

  • Italian broadband provider Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) is planning to take its gigabit service beyond Milan to 29 other cities, starting in 2017. As part of this drive, in January the company will launch its new FastGate router, which will allow 1-Gig broadband via WiFi. Earlier this week Fastweb announced it had agreed to buy Tiscali Business for €45 million ($48.3 million). See this story from our UBB2020 sister site for more details of how Fastweb's gigabit drive relates to its 5G ambitions.

  • The BBC has invited users of its popular iPlayer over-the-top catch-up service to take part in a trial of 4K high dynamic range (HDR) video. The test screens four minutes of footage from its Planet Earth II wildlife series, involving, erm, an exotic frog, though the BBC report points out that only Panasonic's latest TVs support the test's underlying technology, hybrid log-gamma (HLG).

  • France's Altice has struck a couple of content deals to bolster the TV offer of its SFR subsidiary. The first, with Discovery Communications, brings two new channels, Investigation Discovery and Discovery Family, to SFR , while the second, with NBCU, will in time give SFR exclusive distribution of three channel brands in metropolitan France as well as a number of movies.

  • Telekom Austria Group has agreed to acquire a controlling stake in Croatian fixed provider Metronet via its VIPnet subsidiary. Metronet offers data, voice, managed IT and cloud services to its approximately 4,300 corporate customers, and it generated revenues of €28 million ($30.2 million) in 2015. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is claiming that it's the first operator in Europe to offer a service that can automatically configure Samsung devices belonging to business customers directly from the cloud -- so-called "mobile enrollment." DT's service draws on mobile enrollment software from Knox, and forms part of the German incumbent's Enterprise Mobility Management service.

  • UK broadband provider TalkTalk has been admonished by a leading cybersecurity expert for the advice it offered to customers following the malware attack on their home routers last weekend, the BBC reports. TalkTalk told its customers that there was no need to change their routers' settings, advice that the University of Surrey's Prof Alan Woodward described as "frankly, astonishing." A flaw in TalkTalk's DSL-3780 router rendered it vulnerable to an attack by a variant of the Mirai "worm."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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