Eurobites: Telefónica Sets Up 5G 'Living Labs'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Facebook evangelizes in Europe; Telia Carrier lands Costa Rican contract; Deutsche Telekom takes IoT offer to Brazil.

  • Telefónica says it will convert the Spanish cities of Segovia and Talavera de la Reina into "5G living laboratories" over the next three years, partnering with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) in the former and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) in the latter. The operator is promising wireless download speeds of as much as 10 Gbit/s and latency of between 1 and 5 milliseconds. Initially, says Telefónica, the 5G network will be non-standalone, meaning that it will require a 4G network to support it, but eventually it will become a fully fledged standalone 5G network.

  • Facebook is hoping to appear more caring and sharing in Europe with the opening of three "community skills hubs" in Spain, Poland and Italy. These hubs will offer training in digital skills and online safety to groups, such as the elderly, who are often left behind by the digital revolution. The social media giant -- which, like rival online behemoths, has come under fire for its approach to tax matters in the EU -- is also investing €10 million (US$12.25 million) in France via its artificial intelligence research center.

  • The global fiber backbone of Sweden-based Telia Carrier has been chosen by Costa Rica's state-owned provider, Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE), to serve ICE's customers in Central America. Telia Carrier's backbone -- which the provider claims was the first to be 100G-enabled in both Europe and North America -- connects with the Maya-1 cable system.

  • Colt Technology Services Group Ltd is planning to extend its On Demand SDN service further into the Asia-Pacific region, with launches in Singapore and Hong Kong slated for the second quarter of 2018. The UK-based service provider already offers the service in Japan. (See Colt Extends On Demand SDN Service Across APAC.)

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is extending its IoT service portal to Brazil, where DT's enterprise arm, T-Systems, will hook up with local operator Embratel Participações S/A to commercialize IoT connectivity in the Brazilian market. The partnership will also see T-Systems using Claro's network as mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

  • UK mobile phone and electricals retailer Dixons Carphone is saying goodbye to its chief executive, Sebastian James, who is heading to drugstore chain Boots, the Daily Telegraph reports. The move comes as the retailer admits that tough trading conditions compressed its margins in the run-up to Christmas, though sales were helped by the launch of Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iPhone X. Revenue grew 4% for the ten weeks to January 6, with stand-out performances at its Greek and Nordics divisions.

  • UK consumers could be saving themselves £119 ($165) on their mobile and £176 ($244) on their broadband annually if they chose packages that were more appropriate to their needs. That's the conclusion of a report from Ctrlio, which is a price-comparison service (but you'd guessed that already). Among other findings, the percentage of consumers surveyed by Ctrlio choosing a SIM-only deal rose to 59% in 2017, up from 43% in 2016, while average data usage for those using Ctrilio's online bill analyzer rose to 5.2GB, up from 3GB the previous year.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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