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Eurobites: ETNO et al rage again over GIA

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone brings 5G to German autobahns; a robot apocalypse is unlikely; Cellnex hires GSMA regulatory hotshot.

Paul Rainford

February 2, 2024

3 Min Read
(Source: Russell Kord/Alamy Stock Photo)
  • The usual-suspect telecom lobby groups have joined forces once again to express their disgruntlement at various proposals contained in the Gigabit Infrastructure Act, a set of regulations currently grinding through the convoluted cogs of the European Commission. Warning of "unintended consequences" if the proposals are implemented in their current form, ECTA, ETNO, GIGAEurope and GSMA claim in their joint statement that the Act risks becoming a measure that "penalises telecoms operators, without producing any real benefit in terms of administrative simplification." One measure they had their hearts set on – and which now looks at risk – is the principle of "tacit approvals," whereby fiber installation would be allowed when construction permits are not granted within "a reasonable timeframe." Concluding their tirade, the lobby supergroup says: "Unless the original spirit of the European Commission proposal is preserved, the EU telecom industry believes that retaining current rules would be less damaging to network roll-out than implementing an ill-conceived Regulation. This risks leaving a damaging legacy on our sector under the remaining EU mandate." (See Eurobites: Telco lobby wants certainty on GIA.)

  • Vodafone has signed a deal with government agency Autobahn GmbH to bring 5G to all German motorways by 2028 at the latest. Autobahn will provide Vodafone with state-owned land for new mast sites, such as rest areas or in motorway maintenance depots. By the end of 2026, Vodafone plans to install 150 additional 5G sites along its 13,200km motorway network. Another 1,000 construction projects will be focused on expanding the capacity of existing sites. Vodafone Germany currently operates more than 6,000 cell sites covering motorway routes and tunnels.

  • "A robot apocalypse is not likely." That, for the short-attention-span world-view of the Eurobites team, is the key takeaway from a report into the growth of AI large language models (LLMs) carried out by the UK's Communications and Digital Committee. In the eyes of this theoretically independent body, the UK government's AI focus to date has "skewed too far towards a narrow view of AI safety." And, the committee adds, if the government fails to "rebalance," the UK will fail to take advantage of the opportunities presented by admittedly scary LLMs, fall behind international competitors and be in the thrall of overseas tech firms for ever more. The UK government now has two months in which to respond to the committee's various thoughts and recommendations.

  • A1 Group has made changes to its management teams in central Europe, prompted by the imminent departure of Jiří Dvorjančanský, current CEO A1 Croatia and A1 Macedonia, who will leave A1 by the end of May 2024. Dejan Turk, currently CEO of A1 Serbia and A1 Slovenia, becomes CEO of A1 Slovenia and A1 Croatia, while Judit Albers will take over the role of CEO for A1 Serbia. Metodija Mirchev, currently executive director for A1 Macedonia, will now directly report to A1 Group as the new CEO of A1 Macedonia.

  • Further south, in Spain, towers giant Cellnex has cannily appointed former GSMA regulatory affairs guru Daniel Pataki as its new director of regulation and European affairs. Pataki will report directly to Cellnex CEO Marco Patuano and will join the company's executive committee.

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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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