Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Three UK uses carrier aggregation; Swisscom struggles on home turf; Nordic bigwigs get serious about sustainability; US slams UK tax plan.
In a bid to stay ahead of the 5G game, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has contracted Wistron NeWeb Corporation (WNC), a manufacturer based in Taiwan, to supply 5G mobile hotspot devices for use in customer trials starting this month. The device, a mobile data router, is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G chip and will be used for mid-band 5G New Radio (NR) non-standalone (NSA) offerings, while also supporting, says Ericsson, "high-end" LTE access. Last week Ericsson announced it was partnering with Japan's Fujitsu to jointly build 5G networks, echoing a similar deal between Samsung and NEC. (See Eurobites: Ericsson Partners With Fujitsu on 5G and Have We Reached Peak Ericsson?)
Three UK has turned to carrier aggregation technology to boost its 4G mobile Internet speeds by "between 15% and 33%," according to a company statement. More than 2,700 sites in major cities such as London, Cardiff and Glasgow have been upgraded with the technology, which combines Three's 4G spectrum bands. Around half of the devices on Three's network support carrier aggregation technology.
Intense competition on Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM)'s home turf saw its Swiss market revenue decrease by 2.2% year-on-year in the third quarter, though group revenues inched up by 1% to 8.69 billion Swiss francs (US$8.66 billion). Earnings (before tax, depreciation and amortization) fell 3.7% to CHF3.23 billion ($3.22 billion), though this was partly attributable to non-recurring items and exchange rate fluctuations. During the first nine months, Swisscom has shrunk its workforce by 523 full-time employees, which represents a 3% cut. It, it says, "on course" to hit its target of cutting its annual cost base in Switzerland by CHF100 million ($99.7 million).
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CEOs from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) and Telia are among a bunch of Nordic Masters of the Universe who have formed a joint initiative to speed up the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and make the whole program less of a compliance exercise and more of a meaningful collaboration. Today sees a meeting between the group and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who happens to be a co-chair of the UN's Global SDG Advocate group.
The British government's plan to introduce a new 2% digital services tax on the sales racked up by online giants such as Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Facebook in the UK has predictably gone down like a lead balloon in the US, where most of said online giants are based. As the BBC reports, Representative Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas, called the proposal "troubling" and threatened some sort of fiscal retaliation should the new tax come into effect.
NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) has expanded broadband availability in Mossberg, Sweden, through the installation of the iPasolink EX-Advanced radio for Alingsas Energi, a regional energy firm that also does helps to deliver broadband services via a local wireless ISP. According to NEC, this marks the first time that a 10Gbit/s wireless point-to-point link with a millimeter wave frequency band of 80GHz has been deployed in Sweden.
Hackwatch, part 94: Eurostar, the cross-Channel train service between the UK and France, has been the victim of an attempt to break into an unspecified number of customer accounts, the BBC reports. The company said it thought this was "an unauthorised automated attempt to access customer accounts" and claimed payment details had not been harvested by the perpetrators.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading