Eurobites: Vodafone UK hops aboard dedicated-broadband bandwagon

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Cellcom Israel dinged by COVID-19; HEVC Advance files lawsuit in Germany; Amazon faces German antitrust probe.

  • Vodafone UK has climbed aboard the broadband-failure-fear bandwagon of the pandemic era with the launch of "Work and Play," a service that offers a second broadband line dedicated to home working. The idea is that Mum and/or Dad can use the dedicated 35Mbit/s line to immerse themselves in their boring old Teams calls and what-have-you while younger members of the household get on with their all-important gaming and TikToking in their respective teenage or pre-teen pits. Vodafone claims that its offering could work out more than £700 (US$918) cheaper over the course of a year than a similar service already launched by rival BT. (See Eurobites: BT taps into pandemic broadband paranoia with second-line offering.)

  • It comes as no surprise that Cellcom Israel's second quarter was dented by the effect of the coronavirus pandemic. Total revenues fell 7.1% to 855 million Israeli shekels ($247 million), from NIS920 million ($265 million) in the second quarter last year, while a loss of NIS46 million ($13 million) was recorded, compared to a loss of NIS35 million ($10 million) last year. According to CEO Avi Gabbay, a quick response by the company's management helped offset "a significant part of the effects of the crisis." Gabbay confirmed that during the quarter Cellcom received all the regulatory approvals required for the purchase of Golan Telecom.

  • HEVC Advance, a US-based video codec patents company, says that certain patent owners in the HEVC Advance HEVC/H.265 Patent Pool have filed separate patent infringement lawsuits in the Düsseldorf Regional Court against Vestel and Xiaomi for allegedly infringing patents essential to the HEVC/H.265 digital video coding standard. According to the complaints, Vestel offers TVs and set-top boxes in Germany which incorporate HEVC/H.265 technology, while Xiaomi offers several mobile products in Germany which incorporate the technology.

  • US tech behemoths continue to face flak in Europe for their perceived abuses of their online power: This time it's the turn of Amazon, which is the subject of an investigation by Germany's antitrust authority into its relationship with third-party traders using its site to sell stuff. As Reuters reports, the Federal Cartel Office is looking into how Amazon influences how traders set prices on its marketplace.

  • UK operator O2 has teamed up with Bell Integration to launch a range of connected offerings, including thermal scanning devices and contactless visitor management, intended to help Brits get back to office-based work safely. Last month, O2 unveiled a bunch of products including "virtual queuing technology" aimed at helping stores to reopen safely.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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