5G and Beyond

Eurobites: Swisscom & Ericsson Flip the 5G Switch

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone ad bends the giga-truth; Nokia and Nordic Telecom get mission-critical with LTE; Orange teams up on cyberdefense; Amazon hits trouble in Italy.

  • Swisscom and Ericsson have together flipped the switch on what they claim is Europe's first large-scale commercial 5G network that supports commercially available smartphones. The final piece in Swisscom's 5G jigsaw was the securing of a commercial license, and the network was able to go live straight after midnight, where Tuesday tumbled into Wednesday. The 5G network, and related services, are now available in 54 cities, including the major centers of population such as Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Basel, Lausanne and Lucerne. Swisscom hopes to have its 5G network covering the whole country -- and close to 90% population coverage -- by the end of 2019, and will use Ericsson Spectrum Sharing software to help achieve this aim. (See Eurobites: Swisscom Edges Closer to Europe's First Major 5G Launch.)

  • Be careful with your giga-speak, people: Virgin Media has had a complaint about a Vodafone UK website advertisement detailing what the latter called its "Vodafone Gigafast" broadband service upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority. The promotional text on the site offered a "range of average speeds from 100Mbps to 900Mbps," and the Authority concluded that a "a significant proportion of consumers would have sufficient knowledge of broadband terminology to understand Gigafast Broadband as a reference to a service capable of providing speeds of 1 Gbps (1000Mbps)." The way the pricing structure was presented was also criticized as misleading. Vodafone was told not to run the online ad again, and not to imply that customers could get a gigabit service for £23 (US$30) a month.

  • Nokia and confusingly named Czech operator Nordic Telecom have launched what they describe as the world's first "Mission Critical Communication (MCC)-ready" LTE network in the recently opened up 410-430 MHz band. The use of LTE for such networks allows first-responders to access new features, such as real-time video, to get a better idea of what they are up against.

  • Orange's Cyberdefense unit has teamed up with intrusion detection software specialist Gatewatcher to sign a partnership agreement with the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI). Orange plans to integrate Gatewatcher's Trackwatch probes into its monitoring services in its ten security operations centers (SOCs) around the world.

  • Orange is also, as you might expect, playing its part in the aftermath of the fire which destroyed the roof and spire of Paris's Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday. As well as offering technical assistance to the Heritage Foundation dealing with fire-related enquiries from around the world, Orange is launching an SMS-based donation collection platform and a virtual reality portal which people will be able to use to follow the progress of the cathedral's restoration.

  • Ireland's Openet has announced the availability of its Openet Policy Controller (OPC) for 5G. The business support systems (BSS) vendor says that the OPC, which contains working use cases or "blueprints" that can be deployed as they are or tweaked to fit, enables the development and launch of more services in a shorter timescale than was previously possible.

  • Italy's antitrust authority has launched an investigation into five Amazon companies over suspected abuse of their dominant market positions in e-commerce and logistics. According to Reuters, the company withheld certain benefits to third-party sellers if they didn't sign up to Amazon's logistical services.

  • UK mobile operator O2 has finally brought its 4G service to 24 villages and hamlets in the Welsh counties of Clwyd, Dyfed, Gwent, Gwynedd and West Glamorgan. That will be welcome news for the residents of Babel, Botwnnog, Pantglas and 21 other marvelously named rural spots.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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