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Eurobites: BT and Starlink decide it's good to talk

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Lyca Mobile shuts down in South Africa; Telecom Egypt and Zain combine on digital corridor; UK scrutinizes genAI.

Paul Rainford

January 15, 2024

2 Min Read
BT tower at night
(Source: BT)
  • BT is in discussions with Starlink, the Elon Musk owned satellite connectivity company, over possibly using the service to extend broadband coverage and improve mobile signals in more remote corners of the UK. As Yahoo Finance reports, BT is currently testing Starlink gear at its Adastral R&D facility near Ipswich. This is despite an existing arrangement with OneWeb, the satellite operator (now owned by Eutelsat) in which the UK government has a significant stake. BT has been conducting trials with OneWeb to bring broadband to the Shetland Islands, way up in the north of the UK, and Lundy Island in the southwest.

  • Lyca Mobile, the mobile virtual network operator that specializes in cut-price international calls, has closed down its service in South Africa after six years, saying in a statement that it was "no longer possible" to keep it going. Lyca Mobile launched in South Africa in 2017 on Cell C's network. (See Lyca Mobile shuts down in SA.)

  • ANSSI, France's national cybersecurity agency, has certified ETSI's Consumer Mobile Device Protection Profile, a standard that aims to support mobile device manufacturers in achieving security certification for their new products while also offering evaluators a common methodology for assessing the security of such devices.

  • Telecom Egypt and and Zain Omantel International (ZOI) are joining forces to establish what they describe as a "unique digital corridor" connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Sea and Arabian Gulf.  The subsea section, directly linking Saudi Arabia and Egypt through the Red Sea, will feature a high-capacity, repeaterless cable system.

  • The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has added Adrian Scrase to its team to support the drive toward 6G standardization. Scrase arrives at the GSA from ETSI, where he was chief technical officer. According to the GSA, the first 6G specification is due in 3GPP Release 21 by 2028, with the first 6G systems expected to be commercially launched by 2030.

  • The Information Commissioner's Office, the UK's independent data protection regulator, is launching a consultation on generative AI to examine how data protection law should apply to the development and use of this flavor-of-the-month technology. The ICO is seeking views from a range of people, including developers and users of generative AI, legal advisors, civil society groups and other public bodies with an interest in the technology and its implications for society. (See Generative AI's masters are coming for your network.)

  • Connexin, a broadband provider based in the northern English city of Hull (which has long been a BT-free telecom anomaly), has launched a new range of four broadband packages aimed at small and midsized businesses. Bolstered by software from Calix, the new services offer speeds of up to 2 Gbit/s, says Connexin, along with advanced Wi-Fi management, automatic mobile network failover and robust security.

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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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