Eurobites: Vodafone and friends go towards the light for chip photonics

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Swedish auction results; UK watchdog gives Microsoft the nod on Activision deal; spectrum up for grabs in French-owned Réunion.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

September 22, 2023

2 Min Read
Vodafone storefront in Southampton, UK
Light Reading/Paul Rainford
  • Vodafone engineers in Madrid are working with UK-based Salience Labs and Spain's iPronics on the testing of the latest silicon photonic chip technology. Silicon photonic chips use light instead of electricity to carry out mathematical operations and the computation time is measured by how long it takes the light to cross the chip. Such chips, says Vodafone, could sit inside its mobile basestations, providing an ultra-low latency, highly programmable and more energy-efficient network that could better cope with the demands of new technologies such as generative AI and quantum computing. AI computation alone is doubling around every three and half months, according to Salience Labs, and is outpacing what standard semiconductor technologies can do.

  • Tele2 and Telenor (through their Net4Mobility joint venture), Telia and Hi3G Access have all landed spectrum in the Swedish government's latest auction. Tele2 and Telenor together acquired licenses consisting of 2x10MHz frequency division duplexing (FDD) in the 900MHz band, 2x20 MHz FDD in the 2100MHz band and 2x30MHz FDD in the 2600MHz band, Telia secured 2x15MHz in the 900MHz band, 2x20MHz in the 2.1GHz band and 2x30MHz in the 2.6GHz band, and Hi3G Access bagged 2x10MHz in the 900MHz band, 2x20MHz in the 2.1GHz band and 2x10MHz and 40MHz time division duplexing (TDD) in the 2.6GHz band. The total auction proceeds amount to 4.23 billion Swedish kronor (US$380 million), which goes to the Swedish treasury.

  • Microsoft's acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard appears to have got the green light from the UK competition watchdog. Earlier this year, the watchdog – the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) – blocked the deal because of concerns that it would harm competition in the UK's cloud gaming sector, and told Microsoft to come up with some "remedies." The remedies Microsoft came up with include a stipulation that it will not purchase the cloud gaming rights held by Activision, which will instead be sold to an independent third party, Ubisoft Entertainment SA (Ubisoft), before the deal is completed. Though these remedies are still to be consulted on, the CMA says in a statement that the restructured deal "makes important changes that substantially address the concerns it set out in relation to the original transaction earlier this year."

  • French communications regulator Arcep is inviting bids for 900MHz spectrum in Réunion, the French overseas territory. Specifically, a 5MHz pair of duplex frequencies is currently available for assignment in the 900MHz band. An additional 30MHz pair of duplex frequencies will become available in this band on May 1, 2025. The deadline for submitting tender documents with Arcep has been set at 12 p.m. Paris time, on December 5, 2023.

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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