The Core

Eurobites: BT granted extension on removal of core Huawei gear

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: O-RAN trial completes phase one; VEON boss looks toward Asia, Eurasia; Nokia boosts Qatar connectivity in time for World Cup madness.

  • It appears Huawei gear will not be stripped out of BT's core network by January 2023, as originally demanded by the UK government, but can remain in place until December 2023 at the latest. In a statement, a BT spokesman said: "Covid has created unprecedented and unforeseen challenges to operators' Huawei replacement programmes, and these [new] deadlines will allow us to continue at pace without compromising service or resilience." The news comes as the UK government issued legal notices to 35 UK mobile operators and broadband providers confirming that Huawei technology must be removed from the UK's 5G networks by the end of 2027. This designated vendor direction, as the legal notices are collectively called, effectively puts the government's previous position on a legal footing. For its part, Huawei has been issued a separate document – a designation notice – which categorizes the beleaguered Chinese giant as a high-risk vendor of 5G network equipment and services. (See Eurobites: BT asks for more time to rip-and-replace Huawei gear and Tough UK limits on Huawei's role in 5G threaten telco plans.)

    (Source: Karlis Dambrans on Flickr, CC 2.0)
    (Source: Karlis Dambrans on Flickr, CC 2.0)

  • The The 5G DRIVE (Diversified oRAN Integration & Vendor Evaluation) project led by Virgin Media O2 and part-funded by the UK government has completed its first trials. The objective of the project, say its backers, is to provide a path for Tier 2 RAN vendors to enter the market, a key part of which is helping private networks get integrated in mobile network operators' networks via a new roaming interface. The next phase of the program will see further trials to establish and test a "containerized" core network, a Cisco cloud core-as-a-service network, and investigations into scaling aspects of private and public 5G roaming.

  • In a letter to shareholders, VEON CEO Kaan Terzioğlu has made it clear that the company's focus is now firmly on the growth-potential markets of Bangladesh, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, all of which have reported continued double-digit increases in local currency revenue over the last eight months. Says Terzioğlu: "With our strategic focus on expanding our digital operator business, these geographies represent significant opportunities for growth beyond what can be achieved in more mature markets." (See VEON boss: 'We are going to be the hypergrowth telco'.)

  • Just ahead of the arrival of the World Cup soccer circus in Qatar next month, Nokia is deploying its PSE-V coherent optics to upgrade capacity at Gulf Bridge International (GBI), the Middle Eastern cloud and connectivity provider. It is hoped that Nokia's box of tricks will allow GBI to provide upgrades to its existing subsea cables and terrestrial links, enabling high-speed connectivity between Doha, Qatar and Milan, Italy.

  • Nordic operator Telia says it is the first operator in Europe to offer Teams Phone Mobile, a new service for business customers that links phone numbers to the Microsoft cloud, allowing Telia mobile users in Sweden to make and receive calls via the Teams business collaboration platform.

  • Cellnex has teamed up with the folk in charge of the Paris La Défense business district to run a 5G mmWave (26GHz) trial. The project has two aims: to test the feasibility of a "neutral host" model allowing the sharing of antennas and infrastructures; and to experiment with new "use cases"drawing on 26GHz 5G deployed in La Défense district.

  • UK altnet Giganet, which acquired broadband provider Cuckoo earlier this month, has announced the creation of 250 new jobs, the majority of which will be based in a series of new customer service hubs. Giganet is also setting up a graduate training program at Fareham College in southern England, with 20 places on offer over the coming financial year.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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