5G and Beyond

Eurobites: UK Considers Huawei Halfway House

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica and CK Hutchison hook up for the enterprise; Ericsson and Nokia stabilize their market share, report shows; BT lands "smart water" deal.

  • UK authorities are considering measures that would restrict Huawei's presence in the market to 50% of any service provider's network, according to reports in the mainstream media that cite sources close to the matter. Such rules seem unlikely to cause much disruption for any of the country's network operators because none of them has pursued a "single vendor" strategy. Australia has taken a much tougher line against the Chinese vendor, banning it from the entirety of the 5G market, while a US government warning has stopped the main US service providers from considering the use of either Huawei or ZTE, a smaller Chinese equipment vendor, since 2012. Opponents of the Chinese vendors say they are a security threat because of their close links to the Chinese government, arguing it could use spyware in network products to monitor other countries. The US is understood to have put pressure on other governments to exclude Huawei and ZTE. It is also pursuing criminal charges against Huawei in North America, alleging it covered up business deals in Iran and stole US technology. Any half measures by the UK risk a backlash from the US because both countries share critical intelligence as part of the "Five Eyes" alliance, which also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand. (See Huawei Ban Risk Is a Profit Worry for Telcos, Says BICS VP and Vodafone CEO: Huawei Ban Equals Two-Year 5G Delay.)

  • Telefónica has hooked up with Hong Kong based CK Hutchison to offer fixed, mobile and other unspecified communications services to large enterprises and multinationals. As part of the deal, Hutchison's 3 Group Europe will join ten other operators in Telefónica's Partners Program, and the collaborative offerings will initially be deployed in Italy through Wind Tre, followed by the 3 Group's operations in Austria, Denmark, Ireland and Sweden. However, the two companies will not be teaming up in the UK, where they compete in the mobile market.

  • A new report from Dell'Oro reveals that since 2013 Ericsson and Nokia both saw their respective shares of the worldwide telecom equipment market fall by 1% annually by revenue until 2018, when both vendors stabilized their slice of their pie. By contrast, Huawei saw its revenue share gain about two percentage points annually in each of the past five years -- though the way things are looking for the Chinese vendor, that may well change…

  • BT has landed a "smart water" contract with UK utility company Northumbrian Water, which will see BT provide the LoRaWAN (low-power, long-range, wide-area network) and data intended to help the water company address issues such as leaks and water quality.

  • French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire is to present a draft law to cabinet this week that proposes to impose a 3% tax on the revenues of online giants such as Amazon and Google. As Reuters reports, Le Maire estimates such a tax could yield €500 million (US$566 million) for French government coffers.

  • The Vodafone Foundation is to take its app for those affected by domestic violence and abuse beyond the UK, launching it in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Romania. The app, Bright Sky, allows victims to log incidents of domestic abuse on their smartphones without any content being saved on the device itself. It also connects them to local support services. Reflecting its involvement in this area, Vodafone Group is also revising its human resources policy so that its employees worldwide suffering from domestic abuse can access support and specialist counselling, and take up to ten days' additional leave if required.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

    Additional material by Iain Morris.

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