Eurobites: BT blasts Vodafone-Three merger plan (again)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson trials live TV over 5G standalone; Telia tests portable basestation in remote areas; Orange gets pat on back from sustainability police.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

June 14, 2024

2 Min Read
BT logo on stand
(Source: BT)
  • Surprising absolutely no one, BT has wholeheartedly slammed the proposed merger between Vodafone UK and Three UK in its response to an "issues statement" published by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month. "The proposed deal," thunders BT in its response statement, "will create a Merged Entity with a disproportionate share of capacity and spectrum, unprecedented in UK and Western European mobile markets, which will substantially lessen competition and deter investment (the Asymmetry Concern)." It also says – again, hardly surprisingly – that it agrees with the CMA's Phase 1 conclusion that the merger will result in "direct harm to BT's ability to compete, through the Merged Entity's participation in MBNL," MBNL being the network-sharing venture jointly owned by EE and Three. (See Eurobites: CMA throws spanner into Vodafone-Three merger works.)

  • By contrast, Ericsson is all for the merger, believing the deal can "foster a more sustainable market structure to secure a return on investment for digital infrastructure and attract increased capital into the network." The economies of scale created by the merger could, believes Ericsson, enable the resulting mobile giant to invest in its services, ultimately leading to better coverage and performance across the UK.

  • As well as sticking its oar into that particular UK debate, Ericsson has in Denmark been trialing a live TV broadcast of a high-profile soccer match over a 5G standalone network, drawing on mmWave technology to do so. The trial, claims Ericsson, was the first of its kind in the country, combining 20MHz of bandwidth in C-band and 800MHz in mmWave. Four 5G broadcast cameras and one drone camera were tested, each demanding 35 Mbit/s and 100% uplink time from the network.

  • Further north, in Norway, Telia has been testing a new portable mobile basestation capable of extending cellular coverage to remote areas where there otherwise wouldn't be any. The test took place during annual exercises for voluntary and public rescue services, in Lom, last month. During the test, Telia demonstrated how such a basestation can be flown into position using a drone, making it much easier to restore connectivity in areas that may have become inaccessible due to landslides or floods. The basestations support 4G, 5G standalone, 5G non-standalone and network slicing, enabling multiple virtual networks to be set up using a single basestation.

  • Telenor, another Nordic operator, has launched a new cybersecurity company, Telenor Cyberdefence. It forms part of the Telenor Amp group of companies and will be headed up by Thomas Kronen. The creation of Telenor Cyberdefence involves the transfer of approximately 50 security staff from Telenor Norway to the new company.

  • Orange's efforts on greenhouse gas emissions have received the stamp of validation from the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi). The France-based group is looking to achieve net zero by 2040, which it says is ten years ahead of the industry-recommended schedule.

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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