Eurobites: Orange Slams UK Spectrum Auction

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Brexit twist in Facebook data shenanigans; Telefónica chooses ASSIA for WiFi management; Nokia gets China Mobile gig; Deutsche Telekom rethinks media-buying operations.

  • A top executive at mobile operator Orange (NYSE: FTE) has criticized the format used in the recent UK spectrum auction, saying that it was probably one of the main reasons that the prices paid were considerably higher than their equivalents in other countries. Steve Blythe, vice president of the Group Spectrum Office at Orange, said in a statement: "We would argue that artificially limiting the supply of spectrum, something that Ofcom did in this auction, can have negatives [sic] consequences. It can increase competition in the auction to a level well beyond that which would be expected as operators seek to acquire the spectrum they need to deliver a viable 5G experience whilst trying to protect themselves against the uncertain risks of a subsequent auction for the remaining spectrum." He added that the prices paid and amounts of spectrum won by the various bidders "does not appear to be an optimal result." In the wake of the auction result, one analyst told Light Reading that the high prices paid by the operators are not good for consumers, as they leave operators with less money for long-term investment in their networks and services. (See UK's £1.4B '5G' auction looks bad for industry.)

  • The controversy surrounding the use of Facebook data for political ends has taken a new turn with the news that the social media giant has suspended from its platform a Canadian firm that played a major role in the "Brexit" campaign for Britain to leave the EU. As the BBC reports, AggregateIQ (AIQ) stands accused of having "improperly received" Facebook users' data, and Facebook also suspects that it has links to Cambridge Analytica, the company that faced a media firestorm after revelations about its role in Donald Trump's presidential election campaign. The "Vote Leave" campaign paid AIQ £2.7m ($3.8m) in the run-up to the EU referendum. For its part, AIQ categorically denies being a part of Cambridge Analytica or its parent company, SQL. (See Eurobites: Cambridge Analytica Feels the Heat and Facebook: The Sick Man of Silicon Valley.)

  • Telefónica has chosen Assia Inc. 's CloudCheck product to manage residential WiFi across its Latin American networks. CloudCheck is, as its name suggests, a cloud-based offering that allows Telefónica's call center agents and field technicians to detect and resolve subscriber WiFi issues.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) says China Mobile has "ranked it #1" in a central bid to supply equipment for its regional optical transport network, with the rollout of the network already happening. The new network is intended to improve data center interconnect, consumer broadband services and 4G backhaul, as well as preparing the ground for the arrival of 5G.

    In a separate move, the Finnish vendor has opened its Cloud Collaboration Hub in Singapore, which it hopes will enable operators to better visualize and develop cloud offerings. It is Nokia's third such hub, the other two being in the US and the UK.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has re-jigged its media-buying operations in Europe. Its Media Analytics Services are being farmed out to Neustar Inc. (NYSE: NSR) and Objective Partners, while Emetriq, a wholly owned DT subsidiary, gets the Programmatic Operations gig. For Search Advertising & Affiliate Marketing Services, DT is adopting a strategy of choosing "local best-in-class solutions" rather than plumping for a European-wide supplier.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is preparing to haul three metric tons of basestations, antennas, repeaters and other telecom gear up into the mountains to facilitate coverage of the "Patrouille des Glaciers," which starts on April 17 and is considered by some the world's toughest ski race. Spare a thought for those constructing the network, who will have to climb up ice-bound antenna masts and shovel through many feet of snow to secure the various structures -- and all at around 3,000 meters above sea level, where the air is as thin as hell. Brrrr.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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