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Eurobites: O2 fined £10.5M for shocking final bills

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Brits turn to mobile data to survive lockdown logjam; Ericsson deploys private network with Cosmote; Proximus signs up One Bill Global as MVNO.

  • UK mobile operator O2 has been fined £10.5 million (US$14.4 million) by regulator Ofcom for overcharging customers who were leaving the company between 2011 and 2019. More than 250,000 departing customers were affected by the systems balls-up, which resulted in many of them being billed for the same charges twice. O2 has already refunded the customers affected in full for the charges incorrectly levied, plus an additional 4% by way of compensation. For those customers that O2 has been unable to track down, the operator is donating an equivalent amount to charity. Now £10.5 million may sound like a decent wedge but, as the Eurobites Statistical Department points out, this is equivalent to a someone on the average UK salary (£38,600) being fined £62. Which is more or less a parking ticket.

  • In other O2-related news, the operator has been carrying out research which found that more than a third (36%) of Brits working from home are dodging the Wi-Fi and switching to mobile data to stay online in lockdown. Not surprisingly, as homeschooling continues its reign of terror in the UK, those with children in the household are particularly likely to resort to mobile data to stay connected. The research, carried out in partnership with YouGov, also found that old-school voice calls have been making a comeback as "Zoom fatigue" sets in and the novelty of shouting "you're on mute!" at people begins to wear off.

  • Ericsson has clocked up another 4G/LTE private network, this time in partnership with Greek operator Cosmote for Calpak, a manufacturer of solar water heaters. As part of the project, Gizelis Robotics is providing connected robotic arms while PTC's Industrial IoT (IIoT) and augmented reality (AR) platforms have also been integrated into the campus network. Machine learning and data analytics are being used to collect data from the robotic arms in near-real time to help develop innovative applications.

  • Belgium's Proximus has signed an MVNO agreement with One Bill Global (OBG), a company that offers a range of utility services – including a rental model for solar panels – on an automated, interactive platform.

  • Crowdsourcing company nPerf has rated EE top dog when it comes to mobile Internet performance in 2020. In its Barometer, which was based on tests performed by 11,350 UK users, EE scored 78,297 overall points (based on download speed, upload speed, latency, streaming and browsing), compared to the 70,641 notched up by its nearest rival, Vodafone.

  • As all you telecom lovebirds are surely aware, it's Valentine's Day on Sunday, and Deutsche Telekom is using the occasion to test out a new display technology, making the giant "T" of its company logo on top of its Bonn HQ go all floral. The 5 meter tall T has been covered in a wafer-thin magenta-colored video display made up of individually controllable pixels, which can be controlled by via a content management system, turning the logo's surface in an LED wall capable of showing both still images and video.

    T-light: Deutsche Telekom goes floral for Valentine's Day
    T-light: Deutsche Telekom goes floral for Valentine's Day

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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