Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ZTE loses out in German patents battle; TeliaSonera buys fiber; Etisalat bolsters BSS; brass-monkeys backhaul in Russia.
What's that coming over the hill? Is it a monster? Almost right: it's 5G. The European Commission has forged a pact with key players in the telecom industry to create a 5G public-private partnership that will develop standards for the embryonic technology, with a view to it being deployed sometime in the next decade. A number of vendors are already in on the 5G act, not least Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., and Ericsson AB. (See EC, Industry Forge 5G Pact, Huawei CEO Pledges 5G R&D Investment, Ericsson Explores New Way to 5G, and NSN Takes a Step Towards 5G.)
A German court has ruled that certain, optional, parts of ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763)'s SDR basestations deployed by E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG infringe a patent owned by Vringo and must be withdrawn from sale in Germany, reports Cellular News. In a statement, ZTE said that it would appeal the decision, which it says "does not affect ZTE's ability to offer the products without the optional function." On its website, Vringo describes itself as being "engaged in the innovation, development and monetization of intellectual property and mobile technologies." (See ZTE to Appeal German Patent Ruling .)
Nordic operator Telia Company has acquired a group of fiber networks in Sweden. Its acquisition of Zitius also brings Quadracom Networks and service provider Riksnet under its wing. The deal is subject to the approval of the Swedish Competition Authority. (See TeliaSonera Buys Fiber Networks.)
Etisalat has completed the first phase of an upgrade of its business support systems (BSS) in tandem with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). To date, Etisalat has migrated its postpaid customers to its new BSCS iX convergent billing system and integrated other third-party software components. The next phase of the transformation program will focus more on Etisalat's enterprise customers. (See Etisalat Transforms BSS With Ericsson.)
Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has chosen NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701)'s iPasolink system for its backhaul needs in Russia, partly, it says, for the equipment's ability to cope with the sorts of temperatures that make massive furry hats de rigueur in that part of the world. (See MTS Backhauls With NEC's iPasolink .)
Zain Group , a mobile giant in the Middle East and North Africa, has opted for WeDo Technologies 's revenue assurance systems for its operations in Kuwait, Jordan, and Iraq. WeDo started life in Portugal in 2001, and has since spread its SPIT tentacles far and wide. (See Zain Picks WeDo for Revenue Assurance, WeDo Seeks APAC Takeover Targets, and EuroProfile: WeDo Technologies.)
Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is trumpeting the fact that it has now brought 4G to 100 Norwegian municipalities, a stat that translates to more than half of the country's population coming within range of 4G services. Telenor claims to have almost half a million active 4G customers on its network. (See Telenor Updates on 4G.)
The smartphone as a work of art? Or maybe just a freakshow? UK mobile operator EE is putting on display -- but not yet selling -- the new, curvy LG G Flex smartphone at selected stores from December 20, prior to its actual launch in February of next year. The handsets, as well as being frankly bent, feature "self-healing technology," it says here, which means that the elastic back coating can absorb minor scratches.
It's flexy and it knows it.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading