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Eurobites: UK Mulls Supersize Mobile Masts

Paul Rainford
8/27/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson combine on campus networks; UK's decision on Huawei due in the fall; it's a Nuuday for Agama Technologies.

  • Could parts of the UK soon become home to supersized mobile masts bristling with more communications equipment than ever before? That's the possibility raised by new UK government proposals that seek to help boost 5G rollout by easing the planning restrictions on the height, footprint and location of mobile infrastructure in England and Wales. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is putting a number of proposals out to consultation, including changing the permitted height (to around double what it is now) of new masts to improve coverage and mast-sharing, allowing existing masts to be strengthened without prior planning approval and deploying radio equipment cabinets on "protected land" without prior planning approval. Expect a lively exchange of views between all parties, not least those who believe 5G isn't good for your health. The consultation closes on November 5, 2019.

  • Linked to the above, but somewhat less controversial, is the announcement of a £30 million (US$36.7 million) UK-wide competition open to rural communities wanting to become 5G testbeds. Up to ten communities will be chosen to run trials of 5G applications.

  • Deutsche Telekom and Ericsson have signed up to a partnership they hope will help them create public/private "campus" networks for industrial sites in Germany. Factory shop floors, logistics centers, airports and harbors are being eyed as sites ripe for the potential benefits offered by such networks. Campus networks combine public and private mobile connectivity to support various enterprise applications, with the private "slice," isolated from the public network, reserved for the enterprise's exclusive use.

  • The UK will reach a decision on whether it will allow Huawei to participate in the rollout of any part of the country's 5G networks by the fall (autumn), according to Digital Secretary Nicky Morgan, in an interview with the BBC. The British government has come under pressure from the Trump administration to completely exclude Huawei from its 5G program but has so far waivered on its way forward. Under former Prime Minister Theresa May, the government had reportedly decided to exclude Huawei from the 5G "core," the intelligent part of the network, but allow it to continue selling 5G radio equipment. Under new PM Boris Johnson, that could change. (See Huawei Decision to Show if BoJo Is Presidential Poodle or British Bulldog.)

  • Agama Technologies, the Swedish video analytics company, has landed a contract with Nuuday, which is part of Denmark's TDC Group. Nuuday will implement the Agama offering in a bid to assure the quality of its video services across all platforms, including OTT, cable and IPTV.

  • Still in the video analytics sphere, UK outfit Synamedia has appointed a new VP and CFO. Former BBC Studios exec Scott Kewley joins as VP for advanced advertising and data products, while Bijal Patel, a one-time IBM staffer, will take over the reins on the bean-counting side.

  • Telekom Austria subsidiary A1 is using the European Forum Alpbach 2019 (a wide-ranging talking-shop in the Tyrol region that this year focuses on "Liberty and Security") to demonstrate how 5G can stream high-resolution 8K video in what the operator claims is an Austrian first.

  • It may be a little late to the party, but the UK public service broadcaster, the BBC, is planning to follow in the footsteps of Amazon, Google, Apple and others and launch a digital voice assistant next year, according to a report from... the BBC!. The device's "wake-word" is, provisionally at least, set to be "Beeb." (As opposed to the BBC's other nickname, "Auntie.")

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Rhodes1
    Rhodes1
    8/27/2019 | 3:56:03 PM
    Supersize?"No, 'normal size'
    Supersize is rather pejorative. It suggests an incongruous, exaggerated scale, and ignores the practicalities that shared sites need additional 5m+ per sharer for antenna heads. The rest of the world typically has taller sites - even in a flat urban environment - and I've visited many tall lattice and guy-stayed masts in Canada, Korea, France, Germany and Turkey - over 90m in rural hilly areas, and typically unshared.
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