Eurobites: Merkel & Huawei Hit Back at US Ambassador

Paul Rainford
3/13/2019
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK sets out plan to curb online giants; Telia Carrier and Telxius combine on capacity; Deutsche Telekom tackles cybersecurity on connected cars.

  • The US ambassador's warning to Germany that US authorities will likely pass on less intelligence if Germany did not impose a ban on Huawei's equipment in forthcoming 5G networks has prompted an understandably disgruntled response from both Germany's Chancellor Merkel and Huawei itself. As Reuters reports, Merkel pointedly told reporters: "Security, particularly when it comes to the expansion of the 5G network, but also elsewhere in the digital area, is a very important concern for the German government, so we are defining our standards for ourselves." Meanwhile, Vincent Pang, Huawei's chief for West Europe, told German business daily Handelsblatt that: "In my opinion, a country should not use its political power to harm a commercial business." (See It's No Huawei or No Intelligence, US Warns Germany – Report.)

  • Faced with the growing power of and tentacle-extending from the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon, the UK's government-linked Digital Competition Expert Panel has called for greater competition in Britain's digital markets, and has proposed a special unit tasked with "securing competition, innovation, and beneficial outcomes for consumers and businesses." It also recommended three specific actions: the creation of a digital platform code of conduct; the pursuit of "personal data mobility" through "open standards"; and the use of data openness as a tool to promote competition. Will the FAANG gang lose any sleep over this? Probably not.

  • Telia Carrier has signed an agreement with subsea cable and towers operator Telxius that will combine Telxius's 6,600km MAREA subsea cable system with Telia Carrier's European backbone network to create what the pair describe as "multi-terabit capacity services." The MAREA system runs from Sopelana in the north of Spain to Virginia Beach in the US.

  • UK phone retailer Dixons Carphone has been fined £29 million (US$38.1 million) for the "mis-selling" of handset insurance. As the BBC reports, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that staff at the stores had been insufficiently trained, resulting in Dixons' Geek Squad insurance being sold to customers who were probably already covered for handset loss under their standard household insurance. Customers who said they thought they might already be insured were advised to buy the Geek Squad insurance and cancel within 14 days if they found it superfluous to their requirements.

  • Deutsche Telekom is taking the issue of cybersecurity in connected cars seriously, and plans to create a special "defense center," integrated into its existing security operations center in Bonn, to help prevent hackers from wreaking havoc in the coming connected-car era.

  • Talking of potential car crashes, the issue of Brexit is giving UK-based operators something to think about when it comes to handling the issue of "roaming like at home" for UK citizens bearing mobile phones in what is left of the European Union. Three UK has committed to continue offering the roaming benefits enshrined in the EU's 2017 legislation, equating this to saving its customers £187 million ($246.1 million) worth of mobile roaming charges if the law changes after Brexit. That's a lot of cost for Three to absorb… so will it lead to an increase in monthly contract costs?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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