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Eurobites: UK's Mobile Giants Upstaged by MVNO Minnows, Says Report

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia gets virtual with 5G testing; Forsway lands 5G contract with European Space Agency; telematics-based car insurance in the fast lane.

  • The UK's three biggest mobile operators are being eclipsed by their smaller, often "virtual" rivals when it comes to customer service, support and value for money, according to new research from Which?, the influential consumer rights organization. Vodafone was rated the worst network in the country, with one in five of its customers telling Which? that the operator offered poor customer service and poor value for money. EE and O2 didn't perform much better. On the other side of the equation, mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Giffgaff seems to be getting it right: 95% of its customers said the MVNO offered good or excellent value, while 97% said they would recommend the network to friends and family.

  • Nokia is trumpeting the effectiveness of its 5G virtual testing lab in Oulu, Finland, which combines physical over-the-air testing with virtual reality to test and verify the best site locations for operators. The lab simulates a number of different environments to improve the performance of 5G massive MIMO beamforming technology in "real world" conditions. Among those operators currently making use of the lab is Telia.

  • Forsway, a Swedish provider of hybrid satellite routers (which combine satellite technologies with existing terrestrial ones), has landed a 5G development contract with the European Space Agency. The project will set out to integrate the Forsway Xtend Hub with 5G/NFV architecture, thus helping service providers to accelerate slow networks by using satellite services.

  • New research from IoT analyst firm Berg Insight reveals that the number of insurance telematics policies -- policies that offer safe-driving discounts on the cost of insurance through the use of (usually) hardwired aftermarket black boxes in vehicles that provide feedback on how vehicles are being driven -- reached 10.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. This number is expected to reach 47.9 million by 2023.

  • Virgin Media, the UK-based cable operator, is to integrate the Amazon Prime Video app into its TV platform this summer, becoming the first Liberty Global unit to do so, Broadband TV News reports. Virgin's pay-TV rival in the UK, BT, already offers the Amazon Prime Video app on its platform, says the report.

  • If you work in IT for a large Belgian firm, be afraid: A new report from insurance company Hiscox, which surveyed private and public sector organizations in the US, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, found that Belgian firms were the most likely to be targeted by a cyber attack. Overall, 61% of companies surveyed experienced a cyber incident in the past year, up from 45% in the previous year's report.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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