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Eurobites: Orange, Proximus Agree to Network Sharing in Belgium

Paul Rainford
7/12/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: SWAN, ZTE claim 5G first in Slovakia; Sparkle moves African hub; France Telecom suicides trial reaches conclusion.

  • Orange and Proximus have signed an agreement paving the way for a network-sharing arrangement in Belgium by the end of the year. Orange, which hopes the arrangement will save it €300 million (US$337 million) over ten years, says that although the two operators will share their mobile access networks, the two companies will retain control over their own spectrum and continue to independently operate their core networks. It is anticipated that the shared network will be built and operated by a 50:50 joint venture, with work starting in earnest on the project in the first quarter of 2020.

  • Mobile operator SWAN Mobile and Chinese vendor ZTE are claiming a Slovakian first with what they claim is the country's first 5G video call. Demos were run on a 5G network based on the 3GPP R15 specification, using ZTE's 5G "end-to-end" offering comprising wireless access and core network technologies, as well as 5G mobile phones.

  • Italy's Sparkle has moved its Djibouti point of presence (PoP) into the Djibouti Data Center, which will now serve as Sparkle's IP hub in Africa. The move, says Sparkle, will allow it to boost the performance of its Tier 1 transit service, Seabone.

  • The trial closed yesterday (Thursday) of three former France Telecom managers, former CEO Didier Lombard among them, who were accused of overseeing a regime of workplace harassment that led, prosecutors say, to the suicides of 35 France Telecom employees in the space of two years. As the BBC reports, Lombard, and his deputy, Louis-Pierre Wenès, and former human resources head Olivier Barbero, could face a year in jail and a €75,000 fine ($84,443). The verdicts are expected on December 20, the report adds. (See Eurobites: Former France Telecom Execs to Stand Trial Over Suicides and France Telecom Under Fire.)

  • Power company E.on has chosen Telia's NB-IoT technology to connect around a million household smart meters in Sweden. As well as recording how much electricity consumers are using, the new smart meters can also record how much electricity those households equipped with solar panels are contributing to the grid.

  • Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, which is establishing a new European headquarters in London, has hired Nick Pollard, a former board member at UK communications regulator Ofcom. As Broadband TV News reports (citing the Financial Times), Ofcom launched an investigation into CGTN after UK citizen Peter Humphrey claimed that it had broadcast a confession that he had made under duress.

  • France has poked back at the US after President Donald Trump ordered an investigation into a planned French tax on (mainly US) tech titans who make a lot of money on French soil but seemingly don't pay a commensurate amount of tax on said earnings. As Reuters reports, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said: "Between allies we can and should solve our disputes not by threats but through other ways … France is sovereign country, its decisions on tax matters are sovereign and will continue to be sovereign." Over to you, America's tweeter-in-chief.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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