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Private Networks

Eurobites: O2, Microsoft aim to give 5G private networks the edge

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Three Ireland signs up to Ericsson's 5G Startup program; the Proximus Doktr will see you now; Virgin Media shakes up wholesale offer.

  • Telefónica UK (O2) has teamed up with Microsoft for a proof-of-concept trial of the potential benefits of on-premises mobile edge computing (MEC) capabilities with a private 5G network. O2 will provide the 5G network capabilities and a range of Industry 4.0 applications, Microsoft Azure's "Private Edge Zones" will supply computing power, storage and intelligence to the edge where data is created. Despite the use of the Azure public cloud in the mix, the overall aim of the exercise is more secure data management, with confidential information staying on premises at all times. According to O2, this will represent the first use of the Azure platform to run a UK private 5G network in the UK.

  • Three Ireland has become the first communications service provider to sign up to Ericsson's Startup 5G program, which aims to introduce service providers to technology innovation partners in the cause of 5G furtherance. The operator will be able to tap into Ericsson's ConsumerLab data, and gain access to a worldwide network of 5G startups.

  • Belgium's Proximus is responding to the current crisis in everyday healthcare brought on by the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic by launching a new e-health platform, Doktr. For those with the requisite tech skills and devices, Doktr will make it possible to initiate a video call with a qualified doctor from any location. Upon explicit consent of the patient, the doctor can get access to the patient's medical file or report back to his or her general practitioner if needed. The application will be available before the summer on iOS and Android and is open to Proximus customers as well as non-customers who are registered with a Belgian health insurance fund.

  • Virgin Media is making its wholesale connectivity contracts more flexible, allowing customers to take wholesale Ethernet, leased line and high-capacity services (HCS) on a cancel-anytime basis. The changes, says Virgin, will allow its wholesale customers to reduce capital expenditure and better manage cashflow. The new arrangements, which have been introduced in response to customer requests for more flexibility after the uncertainties of the past year, come into force next month.

  • The Federal Cartel Office, Germany's antitrust authority, is using its new powers to take a closer look at whether Amazon has abused its dominant market position in the country, the BBC reports. New German legislation allows regulators to clamp down on what they see as anti-competitive behavior at an earlier stage.

  • Swisscom is increasing download speeds at no additional cost for some of its residential and business customers in response to the trend toward remote working. Those currently on Swisscom's inOne home Internet S tier will find their download speeds doubled from 50 Mbit/s to 100 Mbit/s, while those on the inOne home Internet M tier rise from 200 Mbit/s to 300 Mbit/s.

  • UK full-fiber rollout update, part 94: Giganet announces plans to connect more than 300,000 UK homes and business and employ 200 new staff as it begins work on its own network in southern England; CityFibre starts work in Middlesbrough; Zzoomm commences operations in Cannock and Crewe; Jurassic Fiber enters Exmouth.

  • A new report from Irish operator Eir finds that more than a fifth of organizations asked plan to give up on the traditional office-based work model completely, while a further 39% believe that a hybrid model – with some time in the office and some time at home – is where the future lies. The full report is available here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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