Eurobites: WTF? says Which? over UK mobile ops' 'rip-off' practices

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson and Qualcomm test carrier aggregation tech; Deutsche Telekom and friends cut the ribbon on 5G lab.

  • UK mobile operators are still ripping off customers who come out of contract by effectively charging them for a handset they have already bought. That's the conclusion of Which?, the influential consumer rights organization, after carrying out an investigation into what, if anything, has happened since regulator Ofcom raised the issue last year. Though Ofcom's pressure secured voluntary commitments from most of the big operators who offer bundled deals to reduce prices of out-of-contract customers, the providers have taken very different approaches to how such commitments are applied, with Vodafone and EE only cutting their monthly charge three months after customers have gone out of contract. Three, meanwhile, is providing no discount whatsoever. According to Which? calculations, this means that a Three customer with a Samsung S20 5G phone would end up paying £37 (US$49) a month – or £444 ($590) a year – more than the provider's equivalent airtime or SIM-only deal for their bundle. And that's just naughty.

  • Sweden's Ericsson says it has successfully conducted interoperability tests with Qualcomm for 5G standalone (SA) carrier aggregation across both FDD/TDD and TDD/TDD bands, with testing carried out in Sweden and its labs in Beijing. In both tests, 5G infrastructure equipment from Ericsson was paired with a 5G smartphone form factor test device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G Modem-RF System. 5G carrier aggregation technology allows operators to use multiple sub-6GHz spectrum channels simultaneously to transfer data between basestations and a 5G mobile device.

  • The 5G Co:Creation Lab, a joint effort between Deutsche Telekom, the University of Cologne and TH Köln, is officially open. The lab will be open both to the 100,000 students at Cologne's universities and to entrepreneurs throughout the region. Areas of research will include "systems for virtual soccer-goal-shooting contests in which players can face off against favorite soccer stars." Important stuff, then…

  • Danish operator Fibia recorded a full-year loss of 49 million Danish kroner ($7.8 million) after investing around DKK1 billion ($160 million) in its fiber infrastructure during the course of the year. Fibia's fiber now reaches 70,000 households. Commenting on the results, CEO Casper Holst-Christensen said: "For us, it is more important to build a long-term sustainable infrastructure than to generate profits here and now."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

    Eurobites returns on Tuesday, September 1, after taking a Bank Holiday break.

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