Eurobites: Italian Operators Face Antitrust Probe

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia cuts jobs in Finland; Three Ireland earmarks funds for 5G; Deutsche Telekom extends edge computing R&D.

  • Italy's competition authority, AGCM, has launched an investigation into Telecom Italia (TIM) , Vodafone Italy , Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB), Wind Tre and the Asstel trade association to find out if they have breached regulations by colluding over so-called "28-day billing," which effectively results in the companies issuing a 13th monthly bill every year. Yesterday (Thursday) the authority carried out inspections at the offices of the organizations involved. Proceedings are due to be completed by the end of March.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has announced redundancy talks which are expected to lead to the loss of around 350 jobs at its Networks division in Finland, YLE reports. An additional 75 redundancies also look likely at the Nokia Technologies unit, where layoff negotiations have begun. The job losses form part of a "synergy" program launched when Nokia completed its €15.6 billion (US$17.7 billion) takeover of Alcatel-Lucent in 2016. (See Nokia to Slash Jobs Following AlcaLu Merger.)

  • The CEO of mobile operator Three Ireland says his company will spend "€100 million [$124 million] a year" on the rollout of its 5G network, the Irish Times reports. Robert Finnegan told the newspaper that Three expects to go live with the new technology over the next 12 to 24 months, bringing, he says, "really, really fast broadband in rural areas where people want it."

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is beefing up its research into edge computing with the extension of its Living Edge Lab, a stateside facility described as "an ultra-low latency mobile testbed." The facility now runs to three sites centered on Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa. The project is a collaboration between Deutsche Telekom, infrastructure company Crown Castle International Corp. (NYSE: CCI), vRAN solution vendor Altiostar and Airrays, a German radio vendor specializing in beamforming technology. (See DT & Friends Build Edge Computing Testbed.)

  • Finnish operator Elisa Corp. , with the help of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd , has been testing 5G in a moving car on the streets of Helsinki. A car containing two 5G pre-commercial terminal devices was driven from Elisa's headquarters in Eastern Pasila to Western Pasila, and Elisa claims that, during the journey, 1 Gbit/s mobile broadband speeds were achieved in connecting to Elisa and Huawei's 5G network using 3.5GHz spectrum.

  • The balloon's gone up for Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which has, in conjunction with Boston startup Altaeros, deployed a multi-sector LTE basestation on what it calls a "SuperTower," but what you or I would probably call a balloon or blimp. Whatever we call it, it's getting LTE to hard-to-reach corners of rural Maine in the US. Ericsson says the SuperTower floats at heights six to eight times higher than most cell towers and costs up to 70% less to roll out. Check out the video below for a closer look...

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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