Eurobites: Telefónica Ushers ZTE Into 5G Tent

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia Sparkle takes AWS Direct Connect to Israel; BSS transformation goes bite-sized; CityFibre does deal with Level 3.

  • The 5G speed-dating continues apace: In the same week that it cemented its 5G relationship with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , Telefónica has signed a 5G development agreement with that other Chinese heavyweight, ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763). According to a ZTE statement, the agreement will encourage cooperation across such 5G-related areas as the Internet of Things, network virtualization architectures and the cloud. (See CEO Chat With ZTE's Jane Chen.)

  • Telecom Italia Sparkle has extended its connectivity service to Amazon Web Services, AWS Direct Connect, to Israel, via the MedNautilus backbone. AWS Direct Connect serves AWS resellers and enterprise customers such as financial and academic institutions that handle large amounts of data.

  • Irish BSS vendor Openet Telecom Ltd. says its survey of more than 100 operators has revealed that operators are now taking a more cautious approach to transforming their BSS strategies, tackling smaller projects with shorter timescales and less risk than before. According to Openet, such transformation projects have traditionally taken a long time, incurred much expense and had a high failure rate.

  • CityFibre , the UK fiber infrastructure company, has struck a master services agreement with Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), which sets out standard terms and pricing under which Level 3 can procure fiber from CityFibre's network. The first call-off under the agreement is a dark fiber metro ring on CityFibre's Edinburgh network, to which Level 3 will connect local customer sites.

  • US cable giant Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) is creating a European network of WiFi hotspots, and customers of Belgian operator Telenet will be the first to benefit, according to a Broadband TV News report. Telenet subscribers will be able to access free WiFi hotspots in a number of other European countries served by Liberty Global networks, including Ziggo in the Netherlands and UPC networks in Switzerland, Austria, Czech, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has completed its acquisition of Airtel in the West African state of Burkina Faso. Airtel is the second-largest mobile operator in the country, with close to 4.6 million customers. Following this acquisition, Orange now has a presence in 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. (See Orange Buys Airtel Ops in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone.)

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told an economics conference that the production of computer chips should be excluded from EU rules on state aid, reports Reuters. She said that such an exception was necessary to maintain Europe's pre-eminence in the field in the face of competition from the US and China.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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