Eurobites: Brussels bristles at Viasat/Inmarsat deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange goes 5G standalone Spain; Nokia and Kyndryl extend deal; KPN connects medical drones trial.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

February 14, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Brussels bristles at Viasat/Inmarsat deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange goes 5G standalone Spain; Nokia and Kyndryl extend deal; KPN connects medical drones trial.

  • The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the proposed acquisition of Inmarsat by Viasat, fearing the $7.3 billion deal, if it goes ahead, may reduce competition in the in-flight broadband connectivity sector. Viasat owns and operates four geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellites while Inmarsat boasts 15 such birds. Both companies, says the Commission, are "close competitors" and rely on capacity from their own GEO satellites to provide services in the in-flight broadband market in the European market and beyond. The are currently few alternative suppliers, the Commission adds. Figure 1: (Source: Andrey Kuzmin/Alamy Stock Photo) (Source: Andrey Kuzmin/Alamy Stock Photo)

    • Orange is launching a 5G standalone network in Spain, initially covering the cities of Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville. Branding the service as "5G+", Orange claims that the network – the first of its kind within the wider Orange Group – will offer better indoor coverage, lower latency and a longer handset battery life. Ericsson, Nokia and Oracle were the core network providers for the deployment. Orange has invested a total of €531 million (US$571 million) in the acquisition of 5G frequencies in all bands throughout the various auctions in which it has taken part, from 2016 to the most recent one in December 2022.

    • Nokia and Kyndryl have agreed a three-year extension of their network and edge computing partnership, which was first announced in February of last year. Going forward, the focus, says Nokia, will be on "developing and delivering industry-leading LTE and 5G private wireless services and Industry 4.0 solutions" to enterprise customers worldwide. As part of the beefed-up collaboration, Nokia and Kyndryl have teamed up with Palo Alto Networks to launch a joint lab in Raleigh, North Carolina to broaden their connectivity offer for industrial networks.

    • UK-based TTP is developing a 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN) testbed with tools from Keysight Technologies that, says TTP, will allow it to offer a complete 5G NTN digital twin modelling, emulation and validation system that satellite operators, device manufacturers, app developers, MNOs and network infrastructure providers can use to establish how their products and services will interoperate with the NTN network.

    • KPN has teamed up with Dutch air traffic control and ANWB Medical Air Assistance to trial the use of drones for the urgent transport of blood, medicines, and diagnostic samples between two hospitals in the Netherlands along what they call a "digital drone corridor." KPN is providing connectivity and other digital services, such as data for the drone route planner.

    • Middle Eastern operator Ooredoo saw full-year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fall 2% to 9.1 billion Qatari riyals ($2.5 billion) on revenue that rose by 4% to QAR22.7 billion ($6.2 billion). The drop in earnings was a result, says Ooredoo, of the higher cost of sales and opex at its Iraqi unit as well as higher staff costs at group level. The company's credit rating has been upgraded by S&P Global to "A/A-1 with stable outlook."

    • Enea, the Sweden-based deep packet inspection (DPI) specialist, has been chosen by Exium to provide the network traffic intelligence element of its "Intelligent Cybersecurity Mesh" secure access service edge (SASE) platform. The result, claims Enea, is a "true 5G SASE solution" that can operate securely over multi-mode networks (4G, 5G, Wi-Fi, fiber/cable, and satellites) from a range of providers, including mobile operators and cloud hyperscalers.

    • Amphenol Antenna Solutions is next month opening what it claims is Europe's first test center for open RAN active antennas at its European R&D headquarters in Amboise, France. Operators, says Amphenol, will be able to benchmark antennas from different manufacturers, see 3D radiation patterns, check compatibility with backbone networks, run over-the-air end-to-end tests, and see the volume of traffic handled and electricity used.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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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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