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Eurobites: Italy's 5G Auction Costs Put Regulator on Back Foot

Paul Rainford
10/11/2018
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Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: VEON terminates Jazz, Bangalink offer; MegaFon CEO steps down; San Marino revs its 5G engines; Sigfox strikes deal with Paessler.

  • The head of the Italian telecom regulator, Agcom , has defended the amount operators had to fork out in its recent 5G spectrum auction, saying that whatever someone pays is "never excessive, unless that person has a gun pointed at his temple." As Reuters reports, Marcello Cardani was responding to questions about a possible parliamentary hearing on the matter. The auction, which closed earlier this month after 14 days of bidding, raised €6.55 billion (US$7.6 billion) for the state coffers -- €4 billion ($4.6 billion) more than Italy's government had originally bargained for. (See Italy's $7.6B 5G Bonanza Puts Telcos on the Rack.)

  • VEON , the Amsterdam-headquartered operator that serves around 240 million customers in Russia and elsewhere, has abandoned its offer to acquire the stakes in Pakistan's Jazz and Bangalink in Bangladesh that it doesn't already own from Egyptian firm Global Telecom Holding (GTH). VEON attributed its decision to "recent events surrounding the Pakistani Rupee and the reaction to the offer by GTH minority shareholders."

  • The CEO of Russia's MegaFon has decided to step down before the end of his contract. Sergey Soldatenkov, who has been with MegaFon since its inception 20 years ago, will make way for Gevork Vermishyan, currently the company's executive director.

  • The tiny republic of San Marino has switched on its second 5G antenna, just in time for the start of the "Rally Legend" car race. Telecom Italia (TIM) is using the event as an excuse to showcase to potential of the coming technology, using spectrum for which it paid handsomely in Italy's recent spectrum auction (see above). Special 360-degree cameras have been set up by the race track so that watching petrolheads can experience the action in a more "immersive" way directly from TIM's stands, using virtual reality headsets.

    'Sorry, you can't park there mate.'
    "Sorry, you can't park there mate."


    Home in on the opportunities and challenges facing European cable operators. Join Light Reading for the Cable Next-Gen Europe event in London on November 6. And it's free for everyone!


  • Telia Company has landed another "smart waste" contract -- this time on the Danish island of Bornholm. Waste treatment company Bofa will use Telia's NB-IoT network to gather data on the status of the "connected" trash cans on the island, so that its operatives know when it's time to empty them and plan their route accordingly.

  • Still in IoT territory, French connectivity specialist Sigfox has announced a partnership with Paessler, the German network monitoring firm. Paessler's PRTG Network Monitor offering will now be able to work with data supplied from Sigfox-enabled IT infrastructure sensors, as well as from other devices that are equipped with Sigfox connectivity.

  • France's Orange (NYSE: FTE), one of the heavy-hitters behind the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) initiative, says it has integrated EXFO Inc. (Nasdaq: EXFO; Toronto: EXF)'s passive virtual probes (vProbes) into the Beijing release of the platform. The pair claim that this marks the first integration of a "passive probing virtual network function (VNF)" into the ONAP release.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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