Private Networks

Eurobites: Cellnex, Ferrovial combine on 5G private networks and open RAN

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia touts apps for network automation; TIM/Open Fiber latest; Ericsson on enterprise resilience.

  • The UK arm of Spanish towers company Cellnex has teamed up with construction firm Ferrovial to explore how 5G private networks and the principles of open RAN can be harnessed to streamline the construction and transport industries. The way Ferrovial sees it, open RAN is key to the provision of network access to the many and varied user groups on construction sites, the numerous IoT devices requiring access and the possibility of "network slicing" to meet users' differing bandwidth requirements. The partnership believes the 5G/open RAN combo could pave the way to future building projects that will combine IoT, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and robotics.

  • Nokia has launched what it describes as a "marketplace" for broadband network automation applications, initially offering seven apps that fall into one of three categories: Network Support, Network Insights and Network Automation. More are due to follow next year. Alongside this Altiplano Application Marketplace, the vendor is opening up a portal which provides a software development kit (SDK) and virtual lab environment for developers to build and test apps, with the addition of third-party apps to the marketplace beginning in 2023, it is hoped.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM)'s plan to combine its fixed assets with those of state-backed rival Open Fiber grinds on. There's no white smoke up the chimney yet; instead, TIM says that potential stakeholders CDP Equity, Macquarie and Open Fiber have requested an extension of the original timeline for evaluating the deal. (See TIM soldiers on amid political turmoil and TIM closes in on Open Fiber merger deal.)

  • Ericsson's reports department has been in overdrive for the last couple of months, and its latest emission delves into how enterprises can stay resilient in the face of disruption such as climate-related natural disasters or global conflict. The Future of Enterprises report finds that 42% of decision-makers at large companies believe that they will face disruptions of the sort described above in the near future; more encouragingly, 49% of these people say their company has a well defined strategy to handle them, thanks largely to the benefits provided by digitalization and automation.

  • France-based provider SmartCIC has expanded its fixed-line connectivity and field service offerings across 32 African countries. The company has also launched satellite services connecting all of the 54 countries that make up Africa.

  • Commsworld and Netomnia are teaming up to build a 130km full-fiber network covering around 90,000 homes in Scotland's North Lanarkshire region. The contract, which sees the two companies sharing duct-and-pole infrastructure, is worth "up to" £62 million (US$68 million).

  • Qatari-based operator Ooredoo is offering fans attending the soccer World Cup, which (controversially and bizarrely, say many commentators) kicks off in Qatar next month, free SIM cards offering 2022 local minutes, 2022 local SMS and 2022MB of data, with the line valid for three days, either as a physical SIM card or an eSIM.

  • New research by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, has revealed that a third of children aged between eight and 17 with a social media profile have an adult user age after signing up with a false date of birth. This means that, for example, an eight-year-old boy who uses a false date of birth to make him 13 in order to get a social media account will be receiving content deemed suitable for 18-year-olds and over by the time he reaches 13. Not good. The research is being published as the UK government's Online Safety Bill, which, among other things, is intended to address the issue of online content wreaking havoc with young people's minds, has become mired in delays.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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