Services/apps mobile

Eurobites: Telefónica Told to Play Nice With Transatel

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nuage Networks sells SD-WAN with e-Qual; UK jobs lost as Facebook downs its drone project; Uber gets a second chance in London.

  • German telecom regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) has ordered Telefónica Deutschland GmbH to offer MVNO and IoT specialist Transatel a wholesale roaming services contract, drawing a line under a dispute that has been rumbling on for 18 months between the two companies. Telefónica had earlier refused Transatel's request for a draft wholesale roaming agreement on the grounds that the French company issued SIM cards to identify its customers that, in part, also included special numbers (901 IMSI) assigned by ITU, which were deemed to fall outside the scope of application of the European Union's roaming regulation.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) 's Nuage Networks has teamed up with e-Qual, a French "hybrid" network services provider, to sell SD-WAN services in more than 60 countries worldwide. Key to the combination is Nuage's Virtualized Network Services (VNS) offering, which provides e-Qual's customers with a managed SD-WAN service that incorporates a self-service VPN portal to securely connect branch employees with central cloud-based applications and services.

  • There's some bad news for the UK-based team of drone specialists that were working on Facebook 's drone-enabled Internet program: The social media giant has decided to abandon the Aquila program, closing its drone R&D facility in Bridgwater, Somerset. In a company blog, Facebook's Yael Maguire said that Facebook had decided to throw in its lot with aerospace companies, such as Airbus, that were investing in drone development, rather than do its own thing. Facebook acquired Bridgwater-based Ascenta, which specialized in solar-powered drones, in 2014. Its Aquila drone was described by Facebook as a "solar-powered aeroplane that can be used to bring affordable internet to hundreds of millions of people in the hardest-to-reach places." However, as the Guardian reported, its test flight did not go well, with Facebook acknowledging a "structural failure" just before landing. (See Facebook Gets Its Drone On.)

    Facebook's Aquila drone, in happier times.
    Facebook's Aquila drone, in happier times.

  • Sky Deutschland Fernsehen GmbH & Co. KG is to drop three pay-TV channels -- RTL Crime, RTL Passion and RTL Living -- from its line-up in July, Broadband TV News reports. RTL said it was unable to reach a commercial agreement with Sky for continuing distribution of the channels.

  • Uber, the company behind the eponymous cab-hailing app, has been granted a short-term license to renew its operations in London, the BBC reports, though it is effectively "on probation" for 15 months. Transport for London, the organization that regulates the city's public transport, refused to renew Uber's license when it expired in September, saying that it considered the company to be not a "fit and proper" operator. Uber has more than 40,000 drivers operating in the city.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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