Eurobites: France Flags 5G Auction Delay

Paul Rainford
11/20/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT disconnects Prince Andrew; Orange gets more network visibility with ThousandEyes; EE brings 5G to 14 more towns and cities.

  • France is likely to delay its 5G spectrum auction until at least March 2020 because of uncertainty over which networks are to be used, according to the head of FFT, the French telecom federation. As Reuters reports, the FFT's Arthur Dreyfuss added that the banning of China's Huawei could delay the auction even further. The auction was originally scheduled for December 2019.

  • BT, the UK's incumbent carrier, has become the latest corporate heavyweight to reverse at speed away from any connections to Prince Andrew, the Brit royal family member who, by common consent, made a royal ass of himself in a recent TV interview in which he tried to explain and defend his association with the late, disgraced financier and sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein. As the Guardian reports, BT announced it was reviewing its links to iDEA, an organization linked to the Prince's "[email protected]" entrepreneurial scheme. Earlier in the week, consultancy KPMG revealed that it would not be renewing its sponsorship of the scheme.

  • Orange has teamed up with US-based ThousandEyes to beef up the analytics element of its SD-WAN and related cloud services. The hope is that the combination will give businesses the ability to monitor and manage their customers' digital experience over the public Internet like it is their own private network.

  • EE, the UK mobile operator owned by BT, has switched on 5G in 14 more towns and cities, including Liverpool and Glasgow. The company is also citing the latest figures from RootMetrics, a market-research firm owned by IHS Markit (itself a subsidiary of Light Reading parent company Informa), which show that in London, Birmingham and Cardiff, EE's 5G network achieved the highest average download speed and 5G availability.

  • UK-based Colt Technology Services has put its business Internet offering, IP Access, on its SDN-enabled On Demand platform. Colt's IP Access is supported by the company's IQ Network, which comprises more than 900 data centers and 27,500 on-net buildings globally.

  • Barcelona's city council has signed a letter-of-intent agreement with Huawei which could see the two organizations collaborating on various technological projects related to the city, including 5G, smart-city applications and digital transformation. Barcelona is home to hundreds of technology companies and, of course, the lanyard hell that is Mobile World Congress.

  • The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has been expressing more disgruntlement, this time in relation to draft e-Privacy rules being considered by the European Union member states. ETNO bemoans, among other things, what it sees as the lack of a level playing field for all "digital players" and the "asymmetric regulatory approach" to the use of GPS-derived location data, which is subject to GDPR rules, and mobile-derived location data, which is subject to e-Privacy rules, the latter "affecting the telecoms sector's ability to innovate and compete with providers of apps and mobile operating systems." The organization has teamed up with the GSMA and Cable Europe to express its displeasure.

  • The Financial Times has been collating more industry reaction (paywall applies) to the UK Labour Party's visionary/crackpot (delete according to taste) plan to nationalize parts of BT and offer free full-fiber broadband to every home and business in the country. The boss of one relative broadband minnow, Zen Internet, tells the newspaper that he had to tell staff not to panic, reassuring them that "we'll survive," while the head of another, Voneus, said that his company's internal WhatsApp groups "caught fire," with worried workers wondering if they should be dusting down their resumes. (See Labour Lobs Broadband Bomb Into UK Telecoms Market and Labour's UK Broadband Plan Would Make Lenin Proud.)

  • Russian mobile operator MTS saw third-quarter operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA) rise 5.9% year-on-year to 62.8 billion rubles (US$981 million), on revenue that was up 4.6% to RUB133.9 billion ($2.09 billion). On the strength of the quarter and the two preceding it, MTS has risen its 2019 guidance to 6-7% growth in revenue and 4-5% growth in OIBDA.

    Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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