Private Networks

Eurobites: Telia teams with Nokia, Digita for private networks push

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT launches "unbreakable" Wi-Fi; Sparkle supplies voice services to EU satnav agency; Mobily extends billing deal with CSG.

  • Telia has teamed up with Nokia and business connectivity company Digita to jointly launch a range of new private mobile network services to enterprises and non-commercial organizations across Finland. Mines, ports, factories and hospitals are all being targeted. According to Telia, the first such 5G standalone private networks are currently being tested, while Telia and Digita are already building a private 5G network for cargo-handling company Kalmar.

  • BT is boldly promising "unbreakable" Wi-Fi with its new "converged" Halo 3+ offering. Halo 3+ uses a new Hybrid Connect device, which automatically connects to EE's mobile network (BT owns EE) as backup if the customer's fixed-line broadband connection goes down. Peace of mind doesn't come cheap, though: BT is asking £65.99 (US$89.99) a month for this service. Commenting on the launch, independent analyst Paolo Pescatore said: "The eagerly anticipated hybrid box is timely. All users are demanding robust, reliable connections throughout the home. However, making users aware of the vast merits of Halo still represents a monumental challenge. Lack of 5G is noticeable for a premium service that relies on offering the best connectivity. When available, it will further strengthen the converged offering."

  • Sparkle, the international arm of Telecom Italia, has landed a VoIP deal with the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency (GSA), covering its offices in France, the Netherlands and Spain. GSA is the European Union agency responsible for the operations and service provision of Galileo and EGNOS, Europe's satellite navigation systems. Sparkle's corporate voice offering is cloud-based and features encryption for added security.

  • Saudi Arabia's Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) has announced a multi-year extension to its partnership with billing and customer management software company CSG. The CSG offering will shift Mobily’s billing and revenue management operations to a managed services model, replacing existing legacy systems.

  • UK communications regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation process on its proposals to introduce a "one touch" approach to consumers' switching of broadband providers. As things stand, customers switching between different networks or technologies – for example, moving from an Openreach network to a CityFibre one – have to contact both their existing and new provider to coordinate the switch and make sure they are not left without broadband for any substantial amount of time. The new proposals put the onus on the new provider to manage the change. Interested parties have until March 31 to respond to consultation.

  • VEON is expanding its collaboration with Mastercard to boost digital financial services in some of the operator's core markets – namely Russia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Bangladesh. The two companies first worked together in May 2020, when Mastercard partnered with Mobilink Microfinance Bank, VEON's financial services provider in Pakistan, to broaden financial inclusion there.

  • German car giant Volkswagen is resisting the siren call of Google and others and planning instead to go it alone when it comes to creating software for autonomous cars. According to Reuters, Markus Duesmann, the head of VW's luxury Audi brand, said that VW would "make the bulk of the software on our own in the future." The carmaker has already set up its own unit, Car.Software.Org, to develop the VW.OS operating system.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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