Eurobites: Orange's pole upgrade bill just got bigger

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Proximus demonstrates 5G with VR gig; Infosecurity Europe goes online-only; A1 Austria puts its faith in esports.

  • French communications regulator Arcep has stepped into a row between Orange and Altitude Infra THD, a fiber network construction company. Altitude had asked Arcep to settle the dispute after it had tried unsuccessfully to get Orange to up the price it paid for Altitude renovating the operator's pole as part of a public-initiative network deployment, which Orange had set at €209 (US$249) per pole. Altitude had wanted to hike the cost of this to €430 ($512), and to have it applied retrospectively to all operations carried out since April 5, 2019, but, after doing some calculations, Arcep ruled that €300 ($357) was a fairer figure.

  • Belgium's Proximus has joined the long list of operators seeking to demonstrate the wonders of 5G in attention-grabbing ways by using the (standalone version of the) technology to broadcast a live concert in virtual reality. Spectators gathered at Proximus headquarters enjoyed the "as if you were really there" experience of a performance given by Belgian artist Konoba at the Ancienne Belgique concert hall a few miles away. (One can only assume Plastic Bertrand wasn't available.) Ericsson and Nokia also had a hand in the proceedings. The video below (in French, with Dutch subtitles), gives a flavor of the event.

  • Infosecurity Europe is the latest vaguely telecom-related live event to fall foul of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic restrictions. The show was due to take place at London Olympia from July 13-15, but will now happen only online. The in-person event will now be held in 2022.

  • A1 Telekom Austria has seen the future and it involves esports, or team-based-gaming-with-knobs-on to the uninitiated. The operator launched its first esports leagues four years ago, and now it is overseeing the creation of a new Europe-wide "Clash of Leagues," similar to soccer's Champions League but without the need to break into a sweat or feign injury.

  • Mobile operator Three UK has appointed former Nike executive Jonathan Clamp as its new director of sales. Clamp, who has worked in retail for more than 30 years, will maintain a vice-like grip on a sales organization comprising 311 stores and 2,523 people.

  • After a successful pilot during the UK pandemic lockdown, UK incumbent operator BT is expanding its Care Home Companions scheme, which encourages BT, EE and Plusnet contact center employees to volunteer to make spirit-lifting calls to care home residents. Employees who volunteer to take part are given full training on top of their existing customer service skills on how to help those they call feel more connected and less isolated. More than 300 care homes across the country are now part of this excellent scheme.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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