Eurobites: BT taps into pandemic broadband paranoia with second-line offering

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange revamps executive committee; Enea signs cloud contract with German Tier 1 operator; Proximus cozies up to local bank.

  • In what looks like a shrewd move given the current constrained COVID-19 circumstances, BT has launched a new "Dedicated Connection" service for UK consumers – a second broadband line intended to offer a sense of reassurance and extra bandwidth as vastly increased numbers of people work and receive their education at home. The Dedicated Connection package comes with a "free" line install, its "converged" BT Halo 2 offering (where in the event of a fixed broadband failure it will send out a 4G mini-hub) and BT's Complete Wi-Fi, which is a Wi-Fi boosting system using "Wi-Fi discs." The extra peace of mind doesn't come that cheap, however: For a 24-month contract, existing broadband customers will have to fork out £49.99 (US$63) a month, while non-BT broadband customers will have to find £10 ($12.61) more.

  • Orange boss Stéphane Richard is using the need to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis in good shape as a pretext to overhaul his executive committee. Among the changes, Ramon Fernandez, delegate CEO, becomes executive director of finance, performance and development; Gervais Pellissier, delegate CEO, becomes executive director of human resources and group transformation; and Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, deputy CEO, will oversee Orange's operational activities in Europe (outside France) focused in particular on the rollout of 5G and fiber. For other changes (and non-changes), see this Orange press release.

  • Naming no names, Swedish cybersecurity software firm Enea says it has signed a contract relating to a "5G cloud network data layer" with a Tier 1 service provider headquartered in Germany. The contract is expected to generate average annual revenues for Enea of €4-5 million ($4.5-5.6 million) during the contract period, which will run for up to five years. The main part of the contract relates to software licenses for Enea's Stratum product.

  • Belgium's Proximus has teamed up with Belfius, a homegrown bank, to offer Proximus customers access to a digital banking platform and existing Belfius customers a special Proximus deal linked to the customer's banking profile. According to a Proximus statement, the partnership "offers a relevant local alternative to global players who integrate telecom, media and financial services into their ecosystems."

  • The French communications regulator is to begin its auction of 5G spectrum towards the end of September. As this Arcep statement details, the auction, for 11 blocks of 10MHz in the 3.4-3.8 GHz band, was initially meant to have taken place in April. Bouygues Telecom, Free Mobile, Orange and SFR are the operators who will be battling it out in the fall. This main auction will be followed by a so-called "positioning auction" in October to determine the winning candidates' position on the band, then by the actual award of the licenses, which is expected to take place in October or November. (See France's Arcep outlines plan to hold 5G auction in September 2020.)

  • Openreach, BT's semi-detached network access unit, is claiming to have completed the "fastest city-wide network build in the UK," in the south-western city of Salisbury. Full-fiber broadband was made available to more than 20,000 premises in just under 12 months, though just 800 have so far taken it.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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