Also in today's roundup: France sets date for 700MHz auction; Norway's Homenet trials G.fast; SDN and NFV investments.
South Africa's Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) has spun off its wholesale access network division into a separate unit called Openserve in a move aimed at improving its focus on customers and establishing clearer lines of accountability. Openserve will remain a part of the Telkom Group, making this an example of "functional" rather than "structural" separation, with the latter entailing the creation of an entirely new company. Telkom appears to believe the transition to a more open environment -- whereby all broadband retailers will be able to rent services from Openserve on fair and equal terms -- will boost broadband adoption in South Africa.
In a Twitter update, French telecom regulator Arcep named 16 November as the date for the start of France's 700MHz auction but did not provide further details. All four mobile network operators in France have applied to participate in the latest sale of frequencies for use with mobile broadband services, although French authorities have yet to confirm whether all those applications have been successful. Under reserve prices previously announced, the French government is set to generate at least €2.5 billion ($2.85 billion) from the 700MHz auction. (See Eurobites: French 700MHz Auction Kicks Off.)
Norwegian operator Homenet was reported to be running a pilot of G.fast services in Oslo with a view to carrying out a commercial launch of the technology next year. According to a report from Norwegian publication Inside Telecom (in Norwegian only and requiring subscription), the operator -- a subsidiary of Broadnet Norge AS -- plans to target housing associations with competitively priced broadband services but has indicated that its fiber network must pass close to customer premises for G.fast to be effective. The technology boosts the capability of last-mile copper connections by extending the range of frequencies over which the broadband signals travel, and is typically used when fiber has been deployed as far as distribution points close to homes and businesses. UK fixed-line incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is also conducting trials of G.fast but hopes that forthcoming improvements will allow it to provide the technology from street cabinets, located some distance from customers, rather than distribution points. (See BT Gets G.fast Confidence Boost From Trials.)
Carriers will spend $30 billion on SDN and NFV technologies in 2019, but only $6 billion of this will represent "new" capital expenditure, according to Michael Howard, a senior research director with Infonetics Research Inc. . Speaking at this week's SDN & OpenFlow World Congress in Dusseldorf, Howard told attendees that he expects the bulk of capex to be from the existing SDN hardware and VNF segments of the market, with operators stumping up $4.7 billion on SDN orchestration and controllers, SDN network apps and SDN outsourced services, and another $1.2 billion on NFV MANO and NFV outsourced services.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading