Eurobites: Tele2 & Telenor Extend 5G Collaboration, Bag 700MHz Spectrum

In today's EMEA regional roundup: Tele2 and Telenor go big on 5G in Sweden; Vodafone takes its 5G network to the street level; Liquid Telecom attracts $180 million investment; and more.

  • Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) and Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN)'s 5G collaboration continues apace, with the pair signing an agreement for the expansion of a joint, nationwide 5G network in Sweden. Under the new plan, the shared mobile network will be expanded by more than 50%, with thousands of new basestations sprouting across Sweden. The two operators are aiming to provide the first customers with access to 5G services by 2020.

    With an eye to their 5G futures, both operators have secured frequencies in Sweden's 700MHz spectrum, boosting their existing 4G network and preparing them for the deployment of the next generation of mobile connectivity.

  • In the UK, Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is also preparing for the 5G era, and in a novel twist it is trialing the use of manhole covers to install small antennas below street level to improve 4G coverage now and boost 5G coverage in the future. According to Vodafone, the manhole cover antennas can be installed with minimal disruption -- there's no digging required, for a start. Two types of mobile-enable manhole covers have been trialed at Vodafone's Newbury headquarters, one a purpose-built, reinforced unit similar in size to a water butt sunk into the ground, and the other using an existing cast iron manhole cover from the Victorian era.

    A purpose-built manhole-cover antenna unit is being trialed at Vodafone's Newbury HQ.
    A purpose-built manhole-cover antenna unit is being trialed at Vodafone's Newbury HQ.

  • CDC Group, a UK government-backed development finance institution, has agreed to invest US$180 million in African network operator Liquid Telecom , which is majority-owned by diversified communications company Econet Group . Liquid Telecom has been investing in transport network infrastructure and data center facilities in multiple markets across Africa and recently completed a 'Cairo to Cape' backbone link running from the north of the continent to the south.

  • Dubai-based Majid Al Futtaim Retail, which builds shopping malls and holds the exclusive franchise rights to operate French supermarket brand Carrefour in 38 markets across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has plumped for SD-WAN from Orange Business Services to connect its more than 250 stores in the region.

  • From today, subscribers to Telefónica 's Movistar service in Spain will be able to access Netflix as part of their chosen package. Movistar customers who are also Netflix customers already will just have to migrate their Netflix account to one of the Movistar Fusión packages that includes this content. Telefónica and Netflix first announced their intention to collaborate on content in May of this year.

  • The UK's Competition Appeal Tribunal has ruled in favor of regulator Ofcom's authorization of Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT)'s complementary ground component (CGC) forming part of its European Aviation Network (EAN). Earlier this year, rival satellite operator ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq: VSAT) had challenged the authorization. The EAN is a pan-European project aimed at making a range of broadband services available to passengers flying over Europe.

  • Globalstar Europe Satellite Services, a Dublin-based subsidiary of US parent Globalstar Inc. (Nasdaq: GSAT), has been chosen by NATO to supply IoT satellite technology for oceanography research. Data gathered by the research will help NATO measure and understand sea currents with the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of the changing sea environment and to inform NATO's operational planning.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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