Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange renews MVNO agreement with Belgium's Telenet; Microsoft accused of breaking promises in Finland; 4G networks in briefcases and rucksacks.
The EU's data watchdog, the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), has criticized the Privacy Shield agreement governing the transfer of personal data from the EU to the US as "not robust enough to withstand future legal scrutiny," reports the BBC. Privacy Shield was introduced in February after the previous agreement, Safe Harbor, was declared invalid following legal action by data privacy activist Max Schrems over what he saw as Facebook 's cavalier approach to data transfer between its Irish outpost and its US headquarters. Privacy Shield was supposed to be ratified in June, but the comments by EDPS Giovanni Buttarelli may well have put a spanner in the works. (See Eurobites: US Buffs Up Data 'Privacy Shield', Eurobites: EU Approves Rejigged Data Rules, Eurobites: Facebook Faces Privacy Class Action and Eurobites: 'Safe Harbor' Heads for Calmer Waters.)
Orange Belgium and cable operator Telenet have reached agreement on an extension of their MVNO deal, which will see Telenet customers using the Orange network until the end of 2018. Telenet has committed to a minimum payment of €150 million (US$167 million) for the privilege over the three-year period.
Following Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s announcement that it was abandoning the development of new smartphones, the Finnish government has accused the US giant of breaking its promises over its plans for Finland to become a telecom R&D hub, reports Reuters. Finance Minister Alexander Stubb said: "I am disappointed because of the [initial] promises made by Microsoft … One example is that the data center did not materialize despite the company's promise." As website YLE reports, the Finnish government is now seeking EU money to help support the 1,350 Microsoft employees who will be laid off in the latest round of job cuts. (See Eurobites: Microsoft Bails Out of Tampere, Microsoft Buoyed by Cloud, Surface, Burnt by Phones and Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees.)
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has joined forces with Ooredoo Oman to demonstrate 5.7Gbit/s microwave backhaul. Ericsson deployed its Mini-Link 6352 E-band radio in the trial.
Elsewhere on Planet Ericsson, Vodafone UK has begun deploying the vendor's mini-basestation units, in the London borough of Southwark, with a view to rolling out the new system -- which uses carrier aggregation to boost 4G bandwidth -- across the capital and then in other urban areas. The basestations are housed in briefcase-sized radio units…
…whereas Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s new 4G network system, the Nokia Ultra Compact Network, is described by the vendor as a "network in a backpack." It has unveiled the small cell-based system at the Critical Communications World show in Amsterdam, claiming it has a range of 75km for up to 400 users.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading