open RAN

Eurobites: BT trials hollow-core fiber for 5G RAN and more

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange joins quantum communication consortium; Telecom Italia bags loans from EIB; EQT bids for Telefónica's subsea cable business.

  • BT has begun trials of a hollow-core fiber which it hopes could offer significant benefits for 5G networks and "ultra-secure" communications such as quantum key distribution (QKD). The trials are being carried out with the developer of the fiber, Lumenisity, and open RAN vendor Mavenir, using a 10km-long hollow-core fiber cable at BT's Adastral Park research lab. The hope is that the hollow-core fiber will offer lower latency than traditional, solid optical fiber, as light travels marginally slower inside glass than it does in air. This could, in turn, reduce mobile network costs by allowing more 5G antennas to be served from one exchange or cabinet, says BT.

  • In similar territory, Orange is one of a number of companies that has been chosen by the European Commission to study the design of the proposed European quantum communication network, EuroQCI, which is intended to facilitate ultra-secure communication between critical infrastructures and government institutions across the European Union. The EuroQCI network will integrate quantum technologies and systems into terrestrial fiber networks, and will include a space-based segment to ensure broader coverage across Europe and other continents.

  • The European Investment Bank (EIB) has agreed to offer Telecom Italia (TIM) two loans totalling €350 million (US$427.7 million) to support the operator's plans for its 5G and fixed networks. The financing also partly supports the construction of new data centers in Milan and Turin by Noovle, TIM's cloud and edge computing subsidiary, and in Greece by Sparkle, the group's international operator, as well as the modernization of existing Italian data centers. Taking these latest loans into account, the EIB has financed TIM projects totalling €700 million ($855.6 million) between 2019 and 2021. (See Telecom Italia on track to create single fiber network.)

  • EQT, a Scandinavian private equity firm, has put in a bid of €1.8 billion ($2.2 billion) for Telefónica's subsea cable business, according to a Reuters report (paywall applies) citing Spanish website El Confidencial. Telefónica would make a decision on the deal "by the summer," the report added. (See Telefónica unveils major new strategy, identifies €2B in new revenues.)

  • Prysmian Group, the Italian cable systems company, has settled a patent infringement case with Emtelle. The proceedings were issued in November 2020, with Prysmian claiming that Emtelle's FibreFlow Minicable products infringed two its European patents for fiber-optic cables. Following the settlement, Emtelle will take a royalty-bearing license for the patents in question and will also enter a supply agreement with Prysmian to be able to offer Prysmian products in certain countries.

  • Nokia, working in collaboration with systems integrator NetNordic, has landed the contract to supply energy company Equinor with a "5G-ready" private LTE network. The eight-year agreement includes hardware, software, design, radio planning, implementation and support. Under the terms of the agreement, the network will be installed this summer at Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal windfarms, both located in the UK and operated by Equinor.

  • And more Nokia: The Finnish vendor has signed a deal with Delta Fiber Netherlands committing it to supplying the network and customer premises equipment that will allow Delta to offer 10Gbit/s broadband in the Dutch market. The deployment will combine Nokia's software-defined access network technology with Microsoft Azure cloud-based services. Delta is part of the aforementioned Swedish investment company, EQT.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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