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Eurobites: Vodafone launches first live open RAN site in UKEurobites: Vodafone launches first live open RAN site in UK

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TikTok plans data center in Ireland; MTN has a decent first half; Ericsson takes 5G to Latin America.

Paul Rainford

August 6, 2020

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Vodafone launches first live open RAN site in UK

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TikTok plans data center in Ireland; MTN has a decent first half; Ericsson takes 5G to Latin America.

Vodafone has created what it says is the first live open RAN 4G site in the UK. It's a limited network, designed to connect Vodafone customers visiting and possibly showing their prize sheep at the Royal Welsh Showground in Powys, Wales. The move is not entirely unexpected: In recent months Vodafone has been carrying out open RAN trials with Mavenir in the UK and Parallel Wireless in Ireland. In theory, open RAN allows equipment from different vendors to be combined at the same site, preventing so-called "vendor lock-in." Just as significantly, perhaps, the technology also offers service providers an alternative to the likes of Ericsson, Nokia and Huawei – the latter increasingly becoming a procurement non-starter since the UK government executed a volte-face and decided to bring in a ban on the Chinese vendor as far as its 5G networks were concerned. (See Vodafone CEO Read targets 'urban' open RAN in 2022 and Vodafone eyes open RAN overhaul at 100K sites, may swap existing suppliers for 5G.) As its existence in the US looks increasingly under threat, TikTok, the Chinese company behind the app that has millions of children and adults who should know better broadcasting impromptu dance routines and more to a global audience, has announced plans to build a US$500 million data center in Ireland. The facility will be used to store the videos, messages and other associated data generated by European users of the app. The precise location of the data center has yet to be disclosed, but the company did say it will swing into operation in 18 to 24 months' time. South Africa's MTN saw its first-half EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rise 33.1% year on year, to 41.78 billion South African Rand ($2.37 billion), on revenue that was up 15.9%, to SAR84.07 billion ($4.77 billion). In a statement, outgoing CEO Rob Shuter (he's off to BT Enterprise next year) said: "MTN delivered strong results for the period against the backdrop of difficult trading conditions, exacerbated by the unprecedented socio and macroeconomic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic." Ericsson says it has helped switch on the first 5G network to Latin America, in partnership with operator Claro Brasil. The Swedish vendor has brought its dynamic spectrum-sharing technology to the party, allowing the operator to make the most of its existing spectrum assets. The 5G services are being rolled out initially across 12 areas in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Forty-five percent of Brits are unlikely to heed government calls for a return to the office, according to research carried out by O2 in partnership with ICM, YouGov and Cenex. Despite the stubborn refusal of the coronavirus to lie down and die, Boris Johnson's UK government has made it clear it thinks the time is ripe for office wage slaves to resume their traditional commute, mainly, it seems, to help prop up the shops, pubs and sandwich bars that surround their former workplaces. Still in the COVID-19 ballpark, BT has been revealing how its Global Research and Innovation Programme (GRIP), created to connect BT's research and innovation centers with international universities and research institutions, has changed tack since the onset of the pandemic, with researchers from Australia, China, UAE, India, US and the UK participating in discussions on how the likes of BT can limit the impact of the pandemic on individuals, communities and businesses. Telefónica has been burnishing its green credentials, revalidating its presence in the FTSE4Good sustainability index and joining the Moody's-owned Euronext Vigeo-Eiris Europe 120, both of which specialize in evaluating the performance of companies in terms of sustainability. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins, Paul has worked as a copy editor and sometime writer since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the nougthies he took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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