Displaying items by tag: Europe

Spain could increase its GDP by $48.5 billion, an additional 3.6 percent, by 2021, according to a report by Mobile World Capital Barcelona and Accenture Strategy called ‘Opportunity of the Digital Economy in Spain: How digitalization can speed up the Spanish economy’.

Findings of the study, which analyzed the state of digital transformation in Spain and its opportunities for improvement, was presented at the 31st Meeting of Telecommunications and Digital Economy held in the Spanish city of Santander, on September 6.

The report’s analysis was based on the results of an index measuring the digital economy opportunity (DEO) established jointly by Accenture and Oxford Economics. The methodology is based on the assessment of three main influencers under which the digital transformation process is developed: digital talent, digital technologies and digital accelerators.

Digital talent measures the degree of digitalization of work and the skills and knowledge required to carry out specific jobs; while digital technologies refers to the production assets available to tackle the digital transformation processes; and digital accelerators refers to measuring the behavior of a series of factors in the environment that contribute towards the development of the digital economy.

Analysis of the three areas places the United States and United Kingdom economies as digital leaders, whereas Spain stands below the digitalization average in relation to its European competitors. This position, however, reflects the country’s future growth and improvement potential, as well as the aspects on which greater emphasis must be placed to speed up the economy’s transformation process.

The major impact of the 2008 crisis, which had a direct effect on the three indicators analyzed in the report, is one of the many reasons that have led to the slowing down of the digitalization index of the Spanish economy, which has grown below the remaining economies analyzed during the same period. The report highlights the reasons for this delay through the three influences forming the analytical framework of the digital economy.

The scarcity of digital talent is one of the main causes of the delay in terms of digital skills, the report says. The digital transformation process requires a high density of digital talent, although the supply at present in Spain does not meet the current demand for this knowledge. The traditionally low salaries of the ITC sector, youth unemployment (leading to low penetration of millennials in the employment market) and low demographic mobility are just some of the reasons for this lack of talent.

In terms of digital technologies, the lack of digital strategy and the uncertainty with regard to the profitability of new technologies and the operational complexity of Spanish businesses are restricting digital transformation, the report says. What’s more, investment in innovation and the technology transfer capacity from research centers and universities to the market is lower than those of other European economies.

The regulatory framework and the limited access to funding are other factors that have helped in the delay of Spanish digitalization in terms of the last influence of the DEO index: digital accelerators. The study, however, includes a series of recommendations to optimize the distribution of efforts over the three areas of the digital economy in order to maximize the impact and financial return on the country’s economy.

Spain is faced with a great opportunity for the growth of its economy, which includes defining an ambitious, large-scale digital strategy, according to the report. Changes in training include the rapid growth of professional re-qualification, new work models and new talent. In terms of technological resources, the focus is placed on investment in infrastructures, the deployment of high-impact technologies such as 5G, the promoting of private R&D through public policies and the encouragement of new forms of collaboration, including startups, SMEs and major corporations such as Corporate Venturing.

Lastly, the report indicates initiatives required to face the growth opportunity of GDP, such as tax incentive policies, adaptation of regulations to decrease barriers to access technologies, an increase in data security and protection, adaptation of schools in terms of infrastructures and curriculum, and the surge of innovation centers.

Published in Finance

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has defended its record on expanding broadband services, after the country’s digital focus became a hot topic leading up to the federal election campaign. Deutsche Telekom has focused on upgrading its copper network with new VDSL techniques, and some have criticized the company for not investing more in full fiber networks (FTTH).

In response to the criticism, Deutsche Telekom highlighted figures from the EU Commission that say Germany is one of the leading European nations with coverage of more than 80 percent for super-fast connections (next generation access with more than 30Mbps. The company said it relies on VDSL because it’s the fastest way to connect rural areas.

Very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line (VDSL) is very fast broadband. It uses your copper phone line more efficiently so you get a faster connection than ADSL broadband. 

“It is simply impossible to install glass fibers right up to the houses,” the company said in a blog post on its website. “There are neither the civil engineering capabilities nor the financial resources for this. And, by the way, no demand.”

Also, that’s not to say that Deutsche Telekom isn’t implementing fiber. Since 2010, the company said it has added an average of 25,00km per year. With over 455,000 km, Deutsche Telekom has “by far the largest fiber-optic network in Germany,” the company said. By comparison, Vodafone comes to less than 60,000km.

Deutsche Telekom said has committed to provide 80 percent of households with at least 50 megabits per second. “This is what we do, and this includes raisin-picking per se,” the company said. “There is no self-obligation from other companies, especially from the cable network operators.”

The company also expressed the need for cooperation because “no company can expand Germany alone.” Telekom cooperates with local fibre operators such as NetCologne, Ewe Tel and Innogy. 

With its broadband expansion in fixed-line and mobile communications, Deutsche Telekom is “creating the prerequisite for the next communications standard 5G,” it said, which will enable the Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous cars.

Published in Infrastructure

Norweigan telecom firm Telenor and Sweden’s Telia have signed a managed services contract with Nokia that will see the company manage their joint mobile radio network in Denmark. The agreement will allow Telia and Telenor to offer customers of Denmark's largest mobile network even better coverage and greater capacity for a world-class mobile experience, Nokia said in a release.

“The combination of Telia and Telenor's network has been a historic business,” said Henrik Kofod, CTO, Telia Denmark. “Today we have a world-class mobile network, and this step to have Nokia manage it for us will ensure we also have the best network in five or ten years. Therefore, I am pleased that we have concluded a solid agreement with one of the world's most powerful network providers.”

Nokia will take over all operational and development tasks of Telia and Telenor's radio access network in October 2017, and provide network planning and optimization, network implementation, and network operations for the network that consists of more than 4,000 mobile sites around the country, Nokia said. This will expand network capacity, ensure a quality boost in the customer experience and pave the way for the introduction of new technologies.

“Telia and Telenor are focused on exceeding the requirements of their customers,” said Igor Leprince, president of Global Services, Nokia. “In selecting their new managed services provider, the operators highlighted the need for experience, quality, capacity and, not least, security. Nokia will provide the two operators services that will allow them to deliver the best experience to their customers.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Facebook launched its ‘Marketplace’ feature in October last year – a place where users can trade and sell goods to one another without leaving the social media platform. The feature is now expanding to 17 countries across Europe, having already launched in the US, Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, New Zealand and the UK.

Marketplace will be introduced to Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Facebook said the feature will “give more people a single destination on Facebook to discover, buy and sell goods in their local communities.”

The Facebook feature could challenge the likes of eBay and Craigslist. According to Facebook, the new platform is a way to formalize what its some 2 billion users have already been doing in Facebook Groups for years – buying and selling goods with other users.

“Whether you’re a new parent looking for baby clothes or a collector looking for a rare find, you can feel good about buying and selling on Marketplace because it’s easy to view the public profiles of buyers and sellers, your mutual friends, and how long they’ve been on Facebook,” the company said in a release.

In May this year, more than 18 million new items were posted for sale in Facebook’s Marketplace in the United States, and that number continues to grow, the company said. The platform is in fact a second attempt by Facebook to launch a Marketplace, after a failed attempt in 2007.

The best thing about the new Marketplace feature is that Facebook is not charging its users for it. However, the selling platform could have the future potential to further monetize Facebook’s global base, and keep them on the network, AFP reported.

Published in Apps

The European Commission has endorsed under EU state aid rules three German virtual access products that will allow the use of so-called vectoring technology in state funded high speed broadband networks. This will boost connectivity in rural areas, whilst maintaining competition in the Single Market.

In June 2015, the European Commission approved a €3 billion German state aid scheme to promote investment in high speed broadband infrastructure, especially for rural areas where private investment is lacking. In its decision, the Commission allowed the use of the so-called vectoring technology, provided Germany offered virtual access products to replace the physical access lost due to the use of vectoring.

Vectoring technology allows increased broadband speed over the existing copper network beyond the highest levels normally achieved via very high speed digital subscriber lines (VDSL). This is achieved at comparably low costs. However, as a side-effect, competitors are no longer able to gain physical access to individual copper lines leading to the customers, and are therefore prevented from providing their own high speed internet products to them.

The introduction of an adequate virtual unbundled local access (VULA) product can compensate the negative effects of vectoring. A VULA product requires the network operator to transport competitors' data traffic at conditions similar to those the competitors would have had with physical access to the copper lines. This preserves the possibility for competitors to make own diversified high speed internet offers to their customers even when vectoring is used by the network operator.

In September 2016, Germany notified to the Commission three VULA products proposed by Deutsche Telekom, DNS:Net and NetCologne for their respective broadband roll-out projects under the national next generation access (NGA) scheme.

The Commission said it has thoroughly examined the three proposed VULA products, to assess whether they would adequately compensate the negative effects of vectoring and ensure open access to the network, as required by the 2013 Broadband State Aid Guidelines.

After several amendments to the notified products, the Commission found that the proposed VULA products offered by the three companies fulfill the requirements of providing adequate virtual access to the network.

In particular, the VULA products cover the stretch of copper network leading to final customers. This is in line with the Commission's June 2015 decision, considering that in the relevant rural areas vectoring technology removes physical access to the copper network at this point in the network.

On this basis, the Commission concluded that the three proposed VULA products fulfill the requirements set out in its approval decision of June 2015. This in turn allows vectoring technology to start being used in state-funded high speed broadband networks in Germany.

Published in Government

T-Mobile Austria, a Deutsche Telekom company, has selected Huawei’s OTN solution for its planned metro WDM and backbone WDM. The projects are intended to build a next-generation large-capacity WDM transport network with leading performance to support the growth of network traffic and services of T-Mobile Austria over the next five years.

As a well-known mobile telecommunications service provider in Austria, T-Mobile Austria has about 1300 employees and serves 4.6 million users. T-Mobile Austria also provides top-level IT services around the world in cooperation with T-Systems.

The fast-growing traffic driven by new services such as LTE/LTE-A, IoT, Big Data, cloud computing, and 4K video, requires T-Mobile Austria’s metro networks to provide higher bandwidth and lower latency.

To cope with the challenge, T-Mobile Austria chose Huawei's simplified OTN solution to increase bandwidth to 200G per wavelength with minimum optical fiber resources using the latest WDM technologies. T-Mobile Austria also deploys OTN devices at CO sites to simplify network layers and eliminate intermediate aggregation and forwarding to achieve direct optical connections between sites, minimizing network latency for emerging services and future seamless evolution.

T-Mobile Austria’s existing backbone network provides a maximum of 40 100G wavelengths, which is insufficient to handle current and future traffic loads. At the same time, 10G/100G hybrid transmission exists in many places, which affects the transmission performance of the network. Moreover, the complex dispersion compensation configuration leads to difficulties in network planning and O&M and is unable to support the future DC-centric network architecture.

To address these pain points, Huawei provides a comprehensive all-optical backbone network solution, which increases bandwidth, allows flexible traffic grooming, and supports seamless evolution of the CloudDCI network architecture to embrace the challenges brought by future service cloudification.

The network-wide CDCG-ROADM configuration supports on-demand service grooming, 80 100G/200G/400G channels per fiber, and seamless evolution to the future 1T ultra-high-speed transmission.

The new-generation high-speed coherent communications technology feeds the demand for bandwidth and eliminates hybrid transmission and complex dispersion compensation configuration. The technology, coupled with Huawei's intelligent optical-layer OSNR monitoring, fiber self-test system and simplified OTN architecture, will significantly simplify network planning and O&M to meet the fast growth of inter-DC traffic in the coming five to 10 years.

Andreas Bierwirth, CEO of T-Mobile Austria, said, “Huawei has always been a reliable partner of T-Mobile Austria, and I look forward to the future strategic cooperation, which will help T-Mobile Austria build an image of technology leadership in Austria.”

"As a long-term strategic partner, Huawei will continue to help T-Mobile Austria in the transformation to a digital service provider,” said Duan Aiguo, general manager of WDM Domain for Huawei’s transport network product line.

“Huawei's simplified OTN solution will help T-Mobile Austria build a highly secure, large-capacity, low-latency, and easy-to-operate-and-maintain networks. The new network capabilities will enable T-Mobile Austria to enter more vertical industries. We are looking forward to the strategic cooperation between Huawei and T-Mobile Austria and will help T-Mobile Austria achieve greater business success and win-win development."

Published in Telecom Vendors

Spanish telecom giant Telefónica posted its Q2 results for 2017 showing strength in its South American subsidiaries and declines in Europe. The company showed “a general acceleration in growth in main financial and operational terms” as it moves to organically reduce its €48.5 billion debt pile rather than sell off assets.

The operator posted revenue of around €13 billion, an increase of 1.9 percent from the same quarter in 2016. Net profit for Telefónica reached €821 million, an increase of 18.4 percent from the same period in 2016. The company’s key revenue drives, it said, was mobile data revenue.

Telefónica was able to reduce its debt by €3.7 billion year-on-year, which will increase once the company completes the sale of its 40 percent stake in tower unit Telxius, which it’s selling for €1.3 billion. Telefónica moved to sell its O2 unit in the UK to help reduce its debt after it felt pressure from investors, but the company is now attempting to reduce its debt organically by improving cash flow.

“The strength and better business trends in the first half of the year, as well as being well-positioned to continue capturing sustainable growth in the coming quarters, allow us to upgrade our guidance for 2017,” commented José María Álvarez-Pallete, Executive Chairman of Telefónica.

Published in Finance

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on how Europe should promote digital innovation in health and care, for the benefits of citizens and health systems in Europe.

The input will feed into a new policy Communication to be adopted by the end of 2017, as announced in the recent review of the Commission's Digital Single Market strategy.

“We are dedicated to improving European citizens' quality of living by improving Europe's health, care and research systems by using digital technologies to their full potential,” stated Vice-President Andrus Ansip and Commissioners Vytenis Andriukaitis, Mariya Gabriel and Carlos Moedas.

“This consultation will help us identify ways to offer citizens, medical professionals and researchers better access to health data, prevention, rapid response to pandemic threats, personalized treatments and care,” the statement added.

“We are considering new digital initiatives to deliver on the free movement of patients and data, to support the modernization of national health systems, and to bring together scattered evidence and innovative knowledge from across Europe. At the heart of our policies, citizens and their wellbeing are our first priority.”

The consultation will collect information on three main pillars, including citizens' secure access to their health data and the possibility to share it across borders, clarifying citizens' rights and enhancing interoperability of electronic health records in Europe.

It will also focus on connecting and sharing data and expertise to advance research, personalize health and care, and better anticipate epidemics. Finally, it will focus on using digital services to promote citizen empowerment and integrated person-centered care.

Citizens, patient organizations, health and care professionals, public authorities, researchers, industries, investors, insurers and users of digital health tools are all invited to share their views via EU Survey until 12 October 2017. 

Demographic change, growing prevalence of chronic diseases, re-emergence of infectious diseases and the rising cost of healthcare poses major challenges for healthcare provisions in Europe.

The Communication on effective, accessible and resilient health systems concluded that the Member States' future ability to provide high-quality healthcare to all citizens will depend on making health systems more resilient, while remaining cost-effective and financially sustainable.

Digital innovation can offer cost-effective tools to support the transition from a hospital-based healthcare model to a person-centered and integrated model, improve health promotion, prevention and access to care, and contribute to the sustainability and resilience of healthcare systems, the European Commission claims. It can make effective the right for citizens to access their health data everywhere in Europe.

It can also help improve surveillance and early detection of infectious outbreaks. It can drastically advance the diagnosis and treatment of patients. For instance, in the area of rare diseases, the current average time for diagnosing a known rare disease of 5.6 years could be shortened to one year thanks to molecular diagnosis and tele-consultations with specialists.

Furthermore, the digital transformation of health and care stimulates the empowerment of citizens allowing them to manage their own health and interact more easily with health providers.

The Digital Single Market Mid-term Review tackles these issues. It proposes that the Commission addresses the need and scope for measures on digital health and care, in line with legislation on the protection of personal data, patient rights and electronic identification.

Published in Government

Chinese messaging app WeChat has reached an agreement with European (Dutch) operator KPN to launch a new European countries roaming SIM card for Chinese tourists travelling to Europe. “WeChat GO SIM card” is the first 4G prepaid SIM for tourists officially launched in cooperation with a European operator which has exclusive privilege for WeChat users.

“WeChat GO” is an outbound tourism project of WeChat – a product of Tencent, China’s largest internet services provider and one of the most popular apps worldwide. WeChat hopes they can enhance cooperation with overseas partners, jointly to provide services to more than 120 million Chinese outbound tourists and improve their travel experience.

There are two packages that tourists can choose from as part of “WeChat Go”. The first package includes 15 days validity and contains 1GB 4G data, 30min for calling in EU and towards China, free receiving calls and SMS in EU. Package 2 includes 28 days validity and contains 4GB 4G data, 60min for calling in EU and towards China, and free receiving calls and SMS in EU.

The “WeChat GO SIM card” will be available in China’s well-known e-commerce platforms, European international airports and most convenience stores soon, according to KPN.

Published in Apps

Italian operator Telecom Italia has announced that the Republic of San Marino will become the first country in Europe to have a 5G mobile network. Telecom Italia made the prediction following the disclosure of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with government officials from San Marino.

In a statement issued to the press, Telecom Italia indicated that it plans to update mobile sites of its network with 4.5G in order to enable it to conduct trials on some features of 5G technology, such as evolved mast towers and carrier integration. The interim 3GPP standards for the revolutionary next-generation technology will be released in March 2018.

The Italian operator which is headquartered in Rome also disclosed its intentions to double the amount of existing mobile sites in San Marino, it also plans to install several dozen small cells in the innovative project which would make the microstate the first in Europe to have a 5G mobile network.

In a joint-statement in relation to the MOU between Telecom Italia and government representatives of San Marino, it said, “The particular geographical shape of this territory - and the distribution of its industries favor the use and development of innovative technologies. Thanks to this work, it will be possible to start the first testing of 5G technology on a national scale within the next year.”

San Marino is one of smallest countries in the world with a population of around 30,000 people. Some of the objectives of the project include a new mobile infrastructure with considerable transmission capacity that would be ten times that of 4G. The infrastructure would also be able to connect to large objects ahead of the 2020 deadline set by the EU.

According to Telecom Italia Mobile’s head of technology the scale of the project would see San Marino being established as the first 5G state in the world, which would place it ahead of technological superpowers such as South Korea and Japan. The race to deploy 5G continues to intensify between government bodies and operators.

Reports emerging from Italy suggest that the leading Italian operator has already begun installing 100 small cells in Turin as part of 5G network trials being led by the Italian government. However, it’s being suggested that it has more freedom to experiment in San Marino because there are fewer restrictions on the use of airwaves.

Earlier this month, a consortium of European operators including Telecom Italia expressed its desire to launch 5G services quickly. Industry analysts have predicted that the work currently underway in San Marino will be crucial to 5G in Europe.

Published in Telecom Operators
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