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Security

Eurobites: UK spy chief says Huaweigate is just the start of it

Also in today's EMEA regional rollout: Ericsson, ATU tackle spectrum issues in Africa; UK's mobile minnows put big fish to shame; Proximus' 5G innovation platform is up and running.

  • The head of the UK's intelligence agency has warned that the West faces being outflanked by China in key technologies and ultimately a "moment of reckoning" on matters of national security. As the BBC reports, GCHQ boss Jeremy Fleming said that there are lessons to be learned from the furore over Huawei's involvement in the construction of 5G networks, and that there is a risk that "the technology is implemented in a way in which we can't assure its security." He cited the example of so-called smart cities, which hoover up personal data to, for example, help traffic move more smoothly, as a case in point. According to the spy chief, the "conversation about 5G was really lost a decade ago, when Western nations decided that they weren't going to invest in the underpinning infrastructures." (See Eurobites: Huaweigate Triggers Political Earthquake in UK.)

  • Ericsson has teamed up with the African Telecommunications Union to issue a series of recommendations on spectrum that they hope will enable governments and regulators to accelerate the provision of better connectivity across the continent. Recommendations include: awarding radio spectrum in a timely, cost-effective fashion; the provision of technology-neutral licensing; enabling spectrum sharing by giving licensees the right to share voluntarily through means such as trading and national roaming agreements; and a licensing approach aimed at promoting the right mix of low, mid and highband spectrum.

  • The UK's mobile minnows are outshining the big-fish operators, according to the latest annual customer satisfaction survey from Which? – the influential consumer rights organization. Giffgaff, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile – MVNOs that all piggyback on O2's network – left O2 standing in terms of approval ratings, with Giffgaff coming in first place and Tesco Mobile in joint second place with Sky Mobile and Smarty (the latter owned by Three). Of the big four providers, O2 scored the highest, earning joint fifth place out of 15 providers alongside Utility Warehouse.

  • Belgium's Proximus has welcomed the first enterprise customer onto its 5G innovation platform, which provides a space where companies can test and validate potential 5G applications without forking out a fortune. The quirkily named Mr. Watts has signed up to test a system based on HoloLens mixed-reality technology that aims to provide construction companies with a "state-of-the art building visualization experience."

  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC) saw its first-quarter revenues increase 12.6% year-on-year, to 15.69 billion Saudi Arabian riyals (US$4.18 billion), while EBITDA rose 9.5%, to SR5.84 billion ($1.55 billion). FTTH was a happy place for the operator during the quarter, with fiber-related revenues growing 26%.

  • Telecom Italia has signed an agreement with ALIS, an Italian transport association, which will seek to encourage the "digitization" of more than 1,500 companies operating in the sector. Areas such as IoT, big data, cloud and cybersecurity will fall within the scope of the agreement.

  • UK fiber provider Hyperoptic has signed a partnership deal with the London borough of Hackney to roll out FTTH across its social housing stock. The company already has a strong presence in the borough, with more than 11,000 homes having access to Hyperoptic's service, but this partnership will see that footprint extend to 30% of homes in the borough.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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