Eurobites: Fastweb & Wind Tre Join Forces on 5G in Italy

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sparkle begins work on photonic backbone; Openet nabs more Ericsson talent; EU probes Broadcom; Huawei hits the road.

  • Swisscom-owned Fastweb has entered into a 5G network-sharing agreement in Italy with Wind Tre, which is part of the CK Hutchison empire. The shared network will include Wind Tre and Fastweb macro and small cells, connected by Fastweb's dark fiber. The plan is to cover 90% of the population by 2026, with Wind Tre carrying out the day-to-day management of the network. Under the terms of the ten-year agreement, Wind Tre will provide Fastweb with roaming services on Wind Tre's existing network, while Fastweb will provide Wind Tre with wholesale access to Fastweb's FTTH and FTTC network. For Wind Tre, the hook-up provides a possible route back to financial health: Iliad's entry into the Italian market market last year bit a big hole in Wind Tre's balance sheet. (See Eurobites: Open Fiber, Fastweb Extend Fiber Network in Italy and Eurobites: Wind Tre Socked by Iliad's Entry Into Italy.)

  • Still in Italy, Sparkle, the international services arm of Telecom Italia, has begun work on Nibble, the curiously named ultra-long-haul photonic backbone linking Sicily with the major points of presence (PoPs) and data centers in Europe. The first link -- due to go live this summer -- will connect Sparkle's Sicily Hub in Palermo with the Milan Caldera open data center, and work on the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

  • Irish BSS specialist Openet is tapping into more (former) Ericssson talent, appointing Per Borgklint, until recently a big cheese at Ericsson Silicon Valley, to its board of directors. Last December Jan Frykhammar, previously the chief financial officer at Ericsson, was made Openet's chairman, after he had joined the Openet board in April 2018.

  • The European Commission has opened an investigation into US chipmaker Broadcom, reports Reuters, with the probe focusing on whether the company uses "exclusivity restrictions" to block its rivals. Broadcom is already up against it, with the US government's anti-Huawei measures already hitting demand for the chipmaker's wares.

  • Huawei, however, isn't planning to curl up and die anytime soon. No sir-ee. On the contrary, it is planning a "5G Experiential" tour of the UK, complete with the "Huawei 5G truck" housing several consumer-related 5G-related demo zones. The first stop will be London's Great Exhibition Road Festival, which takes place next weekend. Expect Huawei operatives to be well briefed on the "but will your 5G smartphones have Android?" queries. (See Google & Tech Giants Cut Huawei Adrift.)

  • Kenya's Safaricom is launching voice and video calls over its 4G LTE network for those with an appropriate device and SIM card. The VoLTE calls will be offered at no additional cost to standard calls.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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