Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: DOCSIS can score early gigabit goals, says Liberty Global; GoDaddy eyes HEG; Amazon in talks with Souq.com; 700MHz auction crosses Finnish line.
Germany telco Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. claim to have carried out the first demonstration of "autonomous" network slicing on a 5G network. The companies had already demonstrated the use of 5G network slicing but say the "autonomous" capability gives them more flexibility. "With automated network slicing, the development of highly flexible end-to-end network slicing becomes more complete," said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, DT's chief technology officer, in a statement. Network slicing is a technique that allows operators to provide a range of differentiated network services over a single 5G infrastructure. European operators are hoping to introduce commercial 5G technology around 2020, while equipment vendors see the transition from 4G to 5G as the next big growth opportunity in the mobile broadband sector. (See DT, SK Telecom to Trial 'Transcontinental' 5G Network .)
Europe will need to employ a mix of high-speed broadband technologies if it is to achieve its gigabit ambitions, according to new research commissioned from consulting firm Communications Chambers by cable giant Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY). An "overly-prescriptive policy of focusing solely on FTTP [fiber-to-the-premises] risks jeopardizing investment," say the report authors, advising policymakers to consider technologies including DOCSIS, G.fast and 5G when devising broadband plans. Unsurprisingly, given Liberty's focus on DOCSIS technology, the commissioned research also finds that using DOCSIS could help policymakers realize gigabit ambitions by the end of next year and at a lower cost than with FTTP. Under official targets, European authorities want to ensure that gigabit-speed services are available to businesses and public-sector institutions by 2025. Besides publishing the research, Liberty has announced plans to bring gigabit-speed services to the 12 European countries in which it operates under a new GIGAWorld initiative. (See Europe Will Need Broadband Diversity, Finds Study, but Which Tech Wins Out?)
Domain name provider Host Europe Group (HEG) is said to be in exclusive talks with US-based GoDaddy.com Inc. about a sale of its business. According to a report from Reuters, HEG wants to broaden its activities into European and tap into more profitable web-hosting opportunities. HEG could attract a bid valuing it at roughly €1.7 billion ($1.8 billion), according to sources cited by Reuters, and is expected by Deutsche Bank to generate about $1 billion in revenues from domains, $750 million from hosting and $325 million from other services in 2017.
US web giant Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is in discussions to acquire Souq.com, an online retailer based in Dubai, for about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. The company is eyeing a presence in the Middle Eastern market, according to Bloomberg's sources. Souq.com is active in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United Arab Emirates, and is reported to sell more than 1.5 million products online.
Existing mobile operators TeliaSonera, Elisa Corp. and DNA Oy have each been awarded a 2x10MHz license during Finland's 700MHz spectrum auction. Elisa and DNA each paid €22 million ($23.3 million) for the concessions, while TeliaSonera -- a subsidiary of Sweden's Telia Company -- coughed up the slightly higher fee of €22.3 million ($23.6 million). Operators of mobile broadband networks throughout Europe value the low-band spectrum for its ability to cover wide areas and provide coverage inside buildings.