Eurobites: BT hooks up with OneWeb for wider broadband coverage

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia launches 5G cloud; Eurofiber helps NGN extend German network; BICS opens 5G Lab.

  • BT has struck a deal with OneWeb, the satellite broadband company, to look at ways of providing better coverage to more remote parts of the UK and to people at sea. As the BBC reports, OneWeb already has 218 satellites in low Earth orbit, and is due to launch another 36 this week. It has something of a chequered history, having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March 2020 before being resurrected by a combination of the UK government and Indian businessman Sunil Mittal. (See Eurobites: OneWeb emerges from Chapter 11, hires new CEO and Bharti Global, British government consortium wins OneWeb bid.)

  • Noovle, Telecom Italia's cloud unit, is to collaborate with Google Cloud and Ericsson on what Telecom Italia describes as the first "5G Cloud Network" in Italy. The hope is that the project will lead to the faster deployment of 5G digital applications through the automation of industrial processes and the implementation of services in real time, using edge computing. The 5G Cloud Network will be available close to companies' premises, and be tailored to the customer's specific requirements, in order to ensure the lowest latency possible.

  • NGN has joined forces with Eurofiber to accelerate the expansion of NGN's B2B fiber network in Germany. NGN's metropolitan fiber network already spans 52 cities including Munich, Leipzig, Halle, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Erfurt and Berlin, while Eurofiber's 38,000km network stretches across The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. The proposed partnership is subject to the usual regulatory approvals in Germany.

  • Belgium's BICS has launched a new 5G Lab to enable mobile operators and enterprises to test 5G standalone (SA) applications in a non-commercial environment, troubleshooting potential problems and helping to advance 5G roaming strategies.

  • Dixons Carphone, one of the UK's largest independent phone retailers, has agreed an exclusive multi-year partnership with Vodafone. The deal sees Vodafone become Dixons Carphone's "MNO partner" for the retailer's new mobile service offering, which is being launched later this year. Dixons Carphone's existing MVNO, iD Mobile, will continue to operate alongside the new service.

  • Today sees the opening of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and Deutsche Telekom is getting in the mood with a couple of significant announcements. First, it has teamed up with Ericsson and Samsung to trumpet the "world-first implementation" of multivendor 5G end-to-end network slicing with a commercial 5G device, namely Samsung's Galaxy S21. And second, it wants the world to know it has switched on its "O-RAN Town" deployment in Neubrandenburg, Germany, a multivendor open RAN network that will deliver open RAN based 4G and 5G services across up to 25 sites. Look out for more detail on this later.

  • Nokia says it has successfully completed a trial with Vodafone Turkey, linking Asia and Europe with the first intercontinental terabit clear-channel IP interface. The trial is part of an ongoing spruce-up of the operator's IP architecture, and used Nokia's 7950 XRS routers with terabit interfaces powered by its FP4 chipset.

  • Virgin Media O2 is to make use of the UK government's Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme to help residents in the southern English county of West Sussex get access to zippier broadband speeds. The scheme is aimed at those communities that are not included in any commercial rollout plans. Vouchers worth up to £1,500 (US$2,086) for homes and £3,500 ($4,868) for business are available to help cover the cost of installation.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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