Also in today’s EMEA regional roundup: Labour defeat brings relief for BT; MTS goes all holographic; Orange Belgium launches 5G hub.
Telenor followed the lead of Norwegian rival Telia and picked Ericsson to build its 5G radio access network (RAN) in its domestic market. As with the Telia deal, it’s a major loss for China’s Huawei, which came in as Telenor’s sole RAN vendor during the 4G era. Light Reading had speculated that change may be afoot back in October, with the Swedish equipment vendor determined to recover some of the market share it lost to Huawei in pre-5G days. In its statement, Telenor said the “modernization” would take four to five years and that it would retain Huawei as a RAN vendor over this period. Telenor has already announced that Ericsson and Nokia will supply the products needed for its core 5G network. Huawei has now lost RAN deals in Norway and Denmark, where incumbent TDC made a similar decision earlier this year to go with Ericsson. However, the Chinese vendor is replacing Ericsson as a supplier to Dutch incumbent KPN, which is cutting Chinese vendors out of core network deals but remains happy to use them in the RAN. (See Huawei Has Everything to Lose With Telenor Norway and Telia Norway Goes All Ericsson on 5G & Dumps Huawei.)
The UK Labour Party’s radical Leninist experiment ended in dismal failure but relief for the country’s telecom sector. Jeremy Corbyn led the party to its worst defeat in a UK general election since the 1930s, allowing the ruling Conservatives to strengthen their grip on power. Among other things, Corbyn had proposed nationalizing much of BT, the UK telecom incumbent, and providing free broadband services to fellow citizens. US tech giants would have been taxed punitively under Labour’s plans to pay for the crackpot scheme. While it didn’t explain why Corbyn lost, BT’s share price gained 10% in early-morning trading as investors breathed a collective phew. The recovery looks fragile, though. The UK is now on course for a wrenching break with the European Union (EU) under Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who last week said EU citizens had treated the UK “as their own country” for too long. BT has relied heavily on these pesky EU types to build its new-look all-fiber networks and has acknowledged it would struggle to find alternatives if they all cleared off home. It’s called the global economy, Boris. (See Labour Expects Average British Broadband Worker to Live on $5K a Year and Labour’s UK Broadband Plan Would Make Lenin Proud.)
Russian telecom giant MTS became the latest operator to carry out a holographic call based on 5G technology. Using technology supplied by Huawei, MTS carried out a two-way call between 5G pilot zones in Moscow and St Petersburg, allowing various Russian “thought leaders” and tech bloggers to chat directly to ghostlike figures. For anyone in doubt, holographic technology sends life-size, three-dimensional projections of people over the telecom network and is the most exciting development for Trekkies since William Shatner last said: “Beam me up, Scotty.” Vodafone has also demonstrated the technology at its UK headquarters in Newbury, last year inviting Steph Houghton, the captain of the England women’s football team, to show off her skills over a 5G connection between Manchester and Newbury. (See Vodafone’s Holo Demo Dazzles Crowd, But Is It a Viable 5G Use Case?)
Orange Belgium launched a 5G testing hub aimed at business customers. Based in the port of Antwerp, the hub features a standalone 5G network that industrial partners can use to test new applications. The operator is using seven sites at the port to support test services, but this number will grow to 14 by the end of April, it said. Using 5G technology, Orange also demonstrated a data connection with download speeds of up to 1.42 Gbit/s, upload speeds of up to 329 Mbit/s and latency of seven milliseconds.