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Private Networks

Eurobites: Finland's Elisa extends 5G partnership with Ericsson

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange trials private network with Schneider Electric, launches $30 smartphone in Africa; Proximus reaches Ostend with its fiber rollout; Google still dominates the price-comparison market in Europe.

  • Finnish operator Elisa is extending its existing partnership with Ericsson, adding the Swedish vendor's dual-mode 5G Core offering as well as a number of other Ericsson 5G RAN products to the overall network mix. The new agreement, which allows for a further extension in the future, includes both 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) and 5G standalone (5G SA) products. Elisa, which counts around 2.8 million customers, has long been a 5G pioneer, launching a (very) limited commercial non-standalone 5G service back in 2018. (See Elisa beats US, Asia to 5G Finnish line, Eurobites: Ericsson and Elisa claim Nordic first with 5G SA pilot and Elisa highlights trio of real-world 5G use cases.)

  • Orange is running trials of a private 5G network at the factory of automation company Schneider Electric in Le Vaudreuil, France. The trials are focusing on two specific applications: augmented reality applied to maintenance activities and the implementation of a "telepresence robot" for remote visits. Nokia radio AirScale and core equipment is being used in the trials and the necessary experimental frequencies have been allocated by the French regulatory authority.

  • Away from its home turf, Orange has launched a US$30 Android 4G smartphone for the African market. Called the Sanza Touch, the phone has a 4" screen, 8GB memory and a 1750mAh battery, offering over four hours of battery life while streaming videos. The average cost of an entry-level smartphone in Africa still exceeds 60% of the average monthly wage, according to Orange.

  • Belgium's Proximus has rolled its fiber into the port city of Ostend, and plans to provide coverage to more than 40,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2022. The rollout forms part of the operator's "Fiber for Belgium" program, a multi-billion-euro investment that was announced in 2016. Data released in April by the FTTH Council Europe identified Belgium as the fastest-growing fiber market in Europe in terms of homes passed, ahead of Ireland, Switzerland, the UK and Germany. (See Eurobites: Proximus Invests €3B in Fiber Frenzy, Belgium steams ahead with over 300% increase in full-fiber coverage and Eurobites: Proximus Secures €400M Loan to Further Fiber Rollout.)

  • A study of the market for price-comparison shopping services in 21 European countries has found that measures imposed on Google by the European Union have done little, if anything, to ease the search giant's stranglehold on the market. As Reuters reports, it was three years ago that the EU's antitrust watchdogs ordered Google to stop favoring its own price-comparison search results at the expense of its rivals such as Idealo and Kelkoo. Google responded by allowing competitors to bid for advertising space at the top of a search page which in theory would put more search traffic their way. But, according to report's author, Thomas Hoppner of consultancy Lademann & Associates, Google's response "has further strengthened Google's position on the national markets for comparison shopping services and has entrenched its dominance in general search.

  • Netflix is hoping to make greater inroads into the African market by experimenting with cheaper, mobile-only subscriptions and commissioning more locally produced content, Bloomberg reports (paywall applies). In Nigeria, Netflix is offering a mobile-only service at 1,200 naira ($2.65) a month on a trial basis to gauge demand. It normally charges 2,900 naira ($7.53) a month for its most basic standard account.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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