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Eurobites: Italy to Hold 5G Auction in September

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: 5G goes to the museum; MTS suffers drop in subscribers; KCOM virtualizes with Metaswitch; Swisscom's one-SIM offer.

  • Italy is to auction its 5G frequencies in September, communications regulator Agcom has announced. As Reuters reports, Agcom is hoping the auction will raise at least €2.5 billion ($2.9 billion). If European Commission stats are to be believed, Italy needs to up its game massively on the digital front: The 2018 Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), published earlier this week, ranked Italy 25th out the 28 EU member states in terms of connectivity, online skills development and the digitization of businesses/public services.

  • Meanwhile, in the 5G here and now, Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Russia's Rostelecom have together launched a 5G trial network at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, which is one of the largest cultural museums in the world. As part of the launch, two new 5G applications were demonstrated using a mix of virtual reality, haptic (touch-related) technology and robotics: in the first, an art object was restored with the help of a remote-controlled robotic arm; and in the other an art expert used similar technology to show precision techniques for restoring works of art.

  • Still in Russia, Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has reported a 23.4% year-on-year rise in first-quarter operating profit, to 26.8 billion Russian rubles (US$436.5 million), on revenue that rose 3.1% to RUB107.9 billion ($1.75 billion). However, mobile subscriptions fell in several of its territories, with customer numbers on its home turf down 1.1% year-on-year, to 79 million.

  • Network operator KCOM Group plc , which offers voice, broadband and related services to residential and business customers mainly in the north of England, has turned to Metaswitch Networks for help migrating to a "next-generation" virtualized infrastructure.

  • Exponential-e Ltd. , the UK cloud and network provider, has launched its Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC), targeting midsized companies with a service that it says offers such organizations a "real-time view of their [security] compliance status." This is one of a number of product launches that in part addresses concerns associated with tomorrow's (yes, tomorrow!) introduction of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is looking to make it easier for its customers to fully embrace the Internet of Things, introducing a new service, inOne Mobile, that makes it easier for them to add additional devices to their existing mobile subscription using the same SIM card. The tariff is tiered according the type of device being added to the account: A tracker or a sensor costs 3 Swiss francs ($3) per month; smart watches cost CHF5 per month; and tablets and additional smartphones cost CHF10 per month.

  • UK quad-player TalkTalk saw its customer base grow by 192,000 over the course of its fiscal 2018, a marked contract to its loss of 49,000 customers during 2017. However, it recorded a pre-tax loss of £73 million ($97.7 million), which it attributes largely to reorganization costs. In its earnings statement TalkTalk also revealed that it has agreed to sell its direct B2B business to The Daisy Group for £175 million ($234.3 million).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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