Eurobites: Italy's 5G Auction Crosses €5B Mark

Paul Rainford
9/26/2018

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Mobolize gets mobilized in Europe; Tele2 trumpets new IoT platform; Deutsche Telekom shares cybersecurity know-how with Germany army.

  • Italy's ongoing 5G auction crossed the €5 billion ($5.9 billion) threshold on Tuesday, double what the Italian government had originally expected to make, as operators continued to battle for airwaves in the 3.6-3.8GHz band. An update from Italy's Ministry of Economic Development revealed that operators including Iliad (Euronext: ILD), Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB), Telecom Italia, Vodafone Italy and Wind Tre have currently bid about €5.2 billion ($6.1 billion) for spectrum. While the sale of 700MHz licenses ended last week, after raising more than €2 billion ($2.4 billion), the 3.6-3.8GHz band had attracted bids worth about €2.9 billion ($3.4 billion) at close of play on Tuesday. Italy is also auctioning spectrum in the much higher 26GHz band, which appears to hold less interest for companies participating in the sale. The high bid levels are a troubling development for Italy's indebted mobile operators, some of which have recently flagged a sharp decline in sales. Telecom Italia (TIM) is looking into a possible sale of non-core assets to offset investments in 5G spectrum. (See Italy 5G Auction Bids Top €4.4B in Worrying Sign for Telcos.)

  • Mobolize, the specialist in "seamless" hand-off between WiFi and cellular connectivity for smartphones, has entered Europe with the launch of a new product, Mobolize Bond. According to the vendor, its technology tackles the problem of "dead zones" whereby devices fail to disconnect from weak WiFi networks to connect with cellular ones. In recent trials, Mobolize says the use of its software meant that the number of WiFi networks accessed by users more than doubled, compared to those who weren't using the software.

  • Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has unveiled a new IoT platform, EnCore, that it says allows its customers to roll out global IoT deployments without the problems caused by proprietary solutions and multiple operators with multiple platforms of their own. EnCore is made up of a cloud-based IoT core network that is based on the Nokia WING platform.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and the German army are to work more closely together on cybersecurity, with joint training of security specialists and regular exchanges of information. The agreement comes within the context of the German government viewing the development of an effective cybersecurity strategy as a "national task" on which close cooperation between state and industry is essential.


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  • As they say in Britain's northern outposts, where there's muck there's brass. And just to prove it, Telensa , a Cambridge, UK-based specialist in smart street lighting and smart city applications, has joined forces with sensor-maker FarSite Communications to integrate FarSite's wireless bin sensors into the Telensa smart city dashboard. The idea is that local authorities will get an "instant snapshot" of the performance of their waste collection operations before irate householders start calling them to complain about plagues of rats and maggot colonies.

  • Last week UK consumer rights organization Citizens Advice shone its spotlight on the lack of transparency in mobile operators' charges for "bundled" handset-plus-airtime deals: Today it's the turn of UK regulator Ofcom , which is setting out proposals that it hopes will ensure fairer prices for mobile customers, particularly those who have passed the end of their contract yet still find themselves forking out for the a handset that they have, in theory at least, already paid for. Ofcom says that it has already been working with mobile operators to try to address the problem, but found that those operators "have not offered sufficient or firm commitments." So the regulator has now decided to consult on two possible options, the first requiring mobile operators to clearly break down the different parts of the mobile bundle a customer is purchasing at the point of sale, and the second requiring operators to automatically introduce "fairer" tariffs at the end of the minimum contract period.

  • Telia has landed itself a happy deal at McDonald's (sorry), taking over the management of the fast-food giant's data network in Sweden. The agreement spans 36 months and includes WAN, LAN and WiFi networks. But surely those healthy, herring-bothering Swedes don't eat at McDonald's, do they? Ah well, another illusion shattered…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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