Displaying items by tag: Europe

The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called "Juncker Plan", has backed a €150 million EIB loan agreement with Cosmote, a Greek telecommunications operator, to upgrade its mobile broadband network. This agreement was made possible by the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The loan agreement will help to finance Cosmote's plans to enhance and expand its mobile broadband network, significantly increasing the network's performance in terms of speed, capacity and coverage. It will, in particular, improve the networks performances in more rural and remote areas of the country.

“This agreement demonstrates yet again the valuable role the Juncker Plan can play in mobilizing investment to support and expand growth-enabling infrastructure in Greece,” said Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs.

“The agreement also serves as testament to the Commission's broader strategic objective of seeking to fully exploit the opportunities offered by digital technologies to promote innovation, productivity and growth,” Pierre added. “The Commission remains committed to supporting investment that will act to secure Greece's economic recovery.”

The Juncker Plan is working to boost investment, support jobs and spur growth in Greece and across Europe. As of June 2017, operations approved in Greece under the EFSI represent a financing volume of over €1.1 billion and are expected to mobilize over €3.3 billion in investments.

This project contributes to meeting Europeans' growing connectivity needs, promoting access to high quality networks and boosting Europe's competitiveness, as foreseen in the Digital Single Market strategy. Some 10% of EFSI investments are in the digital sector.

Published in Telecom Operators

French satellite firm Eutelsat claims sport is propelling the growth of Ultra HD. The company broadcasted the final matches of the Roland-Garros French Open live and in Ultra HD via FRANSAT, Eutelsat’s free-to-view platform for French TV homes. The new initiative, Eutelsat claims, highlights the momentum set by sport and the key role satellites are playing in the emergence of a spectacular viewing format.

This new broadcast meets consumer expectation to benefit from the finest image quality, says Eutelsat, particularly when it comes to sport that is one of the three top genres driving Ultra HD take-up. Homes able to receive the exceptional images from the Stade Roland Garros in Paris could select from two image standards: Ultra HD SDR, or using more advanced equipment, Ultra HD HDR in Dolby Vision and in Dolby Atmos.

Eutelsat regularly builds partnerships with leading broadcasters to offer exceptional live broadcasts of major events: Roland Garros with France Télévisions over recent years, and in 2016, 8 matches of the EURO 2016 with RAI, Italy’s public broadcaster. RAI is progressively enriching its library of Ultra HD content broadcasting via Eutelsat’s satellites.

Content producers are no longer holding back from the opportunity to offer highly immersive programs in Ultra HD to a growing number of viewers who have invested in new-generation consumer displays. Annual global Ultra HD screen sales were 66 million in 2016 and are set to rise to 120 million by 2020. The number of Ultra HD homes will rise from 28 million in 2015 to 335 million in the next five years.

2017 is already one of the most exciting for the development of Ultra HD, with new milestones achieved and new channels launched. Claudia Vaccarone, Head of Market Research at Eutelsat, says, “It’s no longer a matter of whether Ultra HD will become a mainstream service, but when.”

The latest edition of the Video Industry Survey steered by Eutelsat points to several trends, the first being that 66% of broadcast providers who responded to the survey already offer Ultra HD or plan to do so over the next five years.

The second trend confirms the predominant role of satellites for broadcasting Ultra HD content. 42% of channels and service providers favor satellites over other transmission options thanks to their cost-effectiveness, their ability to reach the widest possible audience and to deliver a stable, high-quality signal.

Published in Satellite Industry

Nokia and Skyguide, which provides air navigation services for Switzerland and certain adjacent parts of neighboring countries, announced the first stage of a successful modernization of the mission-critical communications network that is at the heart of Switzerland's air traffic control system.

The new network from Nokia, which will continue to be rolled out over the course of 2017, is enabling Skyguide to enhance the management of both civil and military air traffic throughout the country, and is also supporting services such as its aeronautical information service which ensures the flow of information necessary for the safety and efficiency of international air travel. 

"Ensuring the safety of the flying public is our most important job, and one to which we are absolutely committed,” said Dr. Klaus Meier, Technical Director & CIO, Skyguide. “We turned to Nokia because of their many years of experience developing and deploying mission-critical networks. The IP/MPLS network provided by Nokia will help us bolster the safety, reliability and efficiency of Switzerland's air traffic control system today and in the future."

For this project Nokia supplied its Internet Protocol/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (IP/MPLS) technology, which provides the high-performance, reliability, resiliency, security and efficiency needed to support extremely demanding, latency-sensitive services. The IP/MPLS network delivers more capacity and replaces earlier generation, legacy equipment which is reaching end-of-life.

The IP/MPLS network features Nokia's 7705 Service Aggregation Router (SAR) portfolio. The network provides scalable virtual private network (VPN) services, enabling Skyguide to support existing as well as new high-bandwidth applications. The network is managed by Nokia's Network Services Platform for efficient provisioning, maintenance and monitoring. The company also provided professional services including architecture and design, installation, integration, commissioning and training.

"Nokia has put a great deal of focus on ensuring that our mission-critical networks can address the most stringent requirements for reliability, security and efficiency,” said Patrick Langelaan, Head of Global Enterprise & Public Sector Europe South for Nokia. “Clearly, air traffic control demands the highest possible performance, which we were able to demonstrate for Skyguide over an intense testing period."

This agreement builds on Nokia's strong track-record providing mission-critical networks to the transportation market worldwide. It also highlights the progress of Nokia's strategy of expanding its customer base outside of the traditional telecommunications sphere, a key focus of the company.

The European Commission has determined that Croatia's €101.4 million Next Generation Network (NGN) Broadband plan is in line with EU state aid rules. This scheme aims to provide fast internet access where it is currently not available, in particular in rural areas.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Croatia's broadband scheme will bring faster internet to consumers and businesses that currently do not have it. It will help Croatia to put in place the necessary infrastructure for an information society and contribute to creating a Digital Single Market within the EU."

Croatia's current broadband market is characterized by high prices and low take-up rates compared to the EU average. This scheme aims to significantly improve the situation and help Croatia increase its connectivity and meet the targets set out by the Commission in the context of the Digital Single Market.

Backhaul networks, such as the Next Generation Network (NGN) in Croatia, provide the backbone of internet networks and can be thought of as information highways. Next Generation Access (NGA) networks, which can be thought of as more local roads, connect into the NGN.

The previous Croatian broadband scheme, the National Broadband Plan, was approved by the Commission in January 2016 and supported the roll-out of NGA networks in un-served or underserved areas. The purpose of the new measure is to provide sufficient upstream capacity to sustain the previously approved scheme in rural areas.

Croatia's NGN will be rolled out partly in areas where either no NGN backhaul network exists, or areas where the backhaul infrastructure is insufficient to meet projected needs. No operator has shown any interest to invest commercially in the scheme's target areas, which were identified by Croatia through a detailed mapping exercise and two public consultations.

The scheme aims to increase the coverage of high speed broadband and provide speeds of 100 Mbit/s symmetrical (i.e. upload and download). It will run until 31 December 2023. The new infrastructure will be financed mainly through the European Regional Development Fund and partly by national funds, and the network will remain in public ownership.

The management of the scheme is attributed to a public undertaking, OiV, which will offer long term leasing agreements on the infrastructure to all interested operators. These operators will subsequently be able to offer connection services to local access providers, which in turn serve end consumers. In this way, the new NGN backhaul network will support the NGA networks previously approved under EU state aid rules.

The Commission assessed the measure under EU state aid rules, in particular its 2013 Broadband Guidelines. These guidelines aim to ensure, amongst other things, that public funding does not take the place of private investment. They also ensure that other service providers can use the publicly funded infrastructure on a non-discriminatory basis. This protects effective competition, which is a key driver for investment and better prices and quality for consumers and businesses.

The Commission concluded that the positive effects on competition in the Croatian broadband market outweigh possible distortive effects on already established operators. It therefore found the Croatian NGN scheme to be in line with EU state aid rules.

Published in Government

Ericsson has published its latest ConsumerLab report, From Healthcare to Homecare. The report reveals consumer insights into the impact of 5G on the future of healthcare and its transformation across preventative, routine, and post-operative care.

The report states that next-generation networks will be pivotal in healthcare transformation, providing transmission efficiency in an ecosystem of feedback and alerts, mobility and low latency. The networks will become a vehicle for a range of applications, including remote monitoring through medical-grade wearables, virtual doctor-patient interaction, and remotely operated robotic surgery.

Key findings include the decentralization of healthcare moving from hospitals towards homes. Also, that patient data is becoming more centralized, turning hospitals into data centers. Increasing dependence on wearables and remote treatments makes 5G essential to provide reliable and secure services. Evolving consumer expectations, anytime patient data access, and increased internet use are also making way for non-traditional players to disrupt the healthcare industry.

This report covers insights from an online survey of 4,500 advanced smartphone/mobile broadband users in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US plus an online survey of 900 decision makers across six industries in these countries – healthcare, insurance, medical technology companies, telecom operators, app developers/aggregators and government regulatory bodies.

Published in Internet of Things

The European Commission has approved the acquisition of de facto control over Telecom Italia by Vivendi. The decision is conditional on the divestment of Telecom Italia's stake in Persidera.

Telecom Italia is an Italian company, which provides voice and data services through mobile and fixed technologies, digital content services and IT services to enterprises. It is also active, through its subsidiary Persidera (a joint venture with Gruppo Editoriale L'Espresso), in the market for the wholesale access to digital terrestrial networks for the broadcast of TV channels.

Vivendi is a French company, which controls a group of companies active in the music, TV, cinema, video sharing and games businesses. Vivendi's affiliate company, Havas, is active in the advertising industry in Italy. Vivendi holds a significant minority stake in Mediaset, which is also active in the market for the wholesale access to digital terrestrial networks for the broadcast of TV channels.

The Commission found that, post-transaction, Vivendi would have had an incentive to raise prices charged to TV channels in the market for wholesale access to digital terrestrial television networks, where Persidera and Mediaset each hold a significant share.

The benefits of such a strategy would be obtained either directly through Persidera or indirectly via the minority shareholding in Mediaset, since other players active in the market do not represent a viable alternative for TV channels. As a result, TV channels would have found it more expensive to reach their audiences in Italy.

The Commission also investigated whether the relationship between Vivendi's activities in Italy in advertising, music, TV and mobile gaming and Telecom Italia's activities in fixed and mobile telecommunications raised competition concerns. In this respect, the Commission concluded that Vivendi would not have the ability or incentive to shut out other competitors from the relevant markets.

In order to address the competition concerns identified by the Commission, Vivendi committed to divest Telecom Italia's stake in Persidera. In view of the remedies proposed, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction, as modified, would not significantly reduce competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) or any substantial part of it, including Italy. The Commission's decision is conditional upon full compliance with the commitments.

The Commission has exclusive jurisdiction to assess the impact of the proposed transaction on competition in the various markets affected within the EEA. However, the EU Merger Regulation recognizes that Member States may take appropriate measures, including prohibiting proposed transactions, to protect other legitimate interests, such as media plurality. A media plurality assessment typically looks at wider concerns about whether the number, range and variety of persons with control of media enterprises are sufficiently diverse.

In a decision issued on 18 April 2017, the Italian Communications Authority (Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni, 'AGCOM') found that Vivendi's position in the Italian markets for media and content is in violation of Italian media plurality rules.

As the Commission's investigation and findings concern solely the competition aspects of the proposed transaction, the Commission’s conditional clearance decision is without prejudice to the Italian media plurality review process.

Published in Government

Joined by a delegation of government representatives, President Milos Zeman of the Czech Republic recently met with Huawei's Rotating and Acting CEO, Guo Ping, in Beijing. During the meeting, Guo Ping shared Huawei's latest developments in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector and expressed the company's intention to continue investing and growing in the Czech Republic.

President Zeman spoke highly of Huawei's contribution to the country's economic development. He also complimented the company on its choice of Jaromir Jagr, world-renowned Czech ice hockey player, as the brand ambassador of its devices, and congratulated Huawei on its growing share of the Czech market.

The two parties exchanged views on cyber security and privacy protection. Guo elaborated on Huawei's efforts in these domains, stressing the fact that cyber security and privacy are global challenges that every country has to face together.

Guo noted that they require the full attention of each individual link along the value chain, as well as greater collaboration between them. President Zeman recognized Huawei's efforts in these domains, expressing his confidence in the security and reliability of Huawei's networks and products.

Guo confirmed that Huawei plans to spend approximately 360 million US dollars in the Czech Republic over the next five years, supporting 4,000 local jobs. Guo also expressed Huawei's hope to strengthen its partnership with the country on key initiatives like national broadband, smart city, and safe city.

Other attendees from the Czech government included Vratislav Mynar, Head of the Presidential Office; Jiri Havlicek, Minister of Industry and Trade; Martin Nejedly, Chief Adviser to President Zeman; Tomas Tuhy, Police President; Lukas Opatrny, 3rd Secretary and Head of the Commercial Section; and Karel Kucera, CEO of CzechInvest. President of Huawei's CEE & Nordic European Region Tang Xiaoming and CEO of Huawei Technologies (Czech) Radoslaw Kedzia were also present at the meeting.

Published in Government

Nokia, together with Finland's public safety network provider, State Security Networks Group, and Telia Finland have successfully trialed the use of network features, developed by Nokia, which ensure public safety communications are given priority over any other voice or data traffic in busy 4G/LTE networks.

LTE can support mission-critical operations securely and cost-effectively, enabling new capabilities for public safety agencies, such as video, in addition to traditional voice communications, to enhance situational awareness, command and control, and the safety of both first responders and the public. As such, a vital step in the transition towards LTE-based public safety networks is to give priority to first responders and their command centers allowing them to share mission-critical information in emergency situations.

"Finland has historically been a forerunner in public safety communication, demonstrating leadership in building technical solutions and many other countries have followed our lead,” said Sami Orakoski, COO, State Security Networks Group. “Although the current TETRA-based network will be in use for some time, we have now started working with commercial operators to lay the foundation for delivering public safety communication with LTE and future generation technologies."

Nokia, State Security Networks and Telia Finland began testing the features with public authorities in 2016 to accelerate Finland's transition to LTE-based public safety communications.

Field trials using the Nokia LTE radio access network infrastructure have delivered valuable insight on network management and critical service delivery, as well as ensuring network prioritization in a variety of situations, with an ice hockey game at a large sports venue used as one testing scenario. Finnish authorities are preparing for a gradual transition from the existing TETRA public safety network to commercial LTE networks.

"The test results show that we can prioritize public safety communication over an LTE network, even when that network is extremely busy,” said Tommi Uitto, head of Global Product Sales, Mobile Networks at Nokia. “We can use this insight to accelerate the adoption of LTE-based public safety applications, not only here in Finland, but across the globe."

Pasi Mehtonen, Head of Operator Business at Telia Finland said: "Everyone understands the importance of public safety communication in exceptional circumstances. The successful trials show that by combining advanced technology know-how, together with deep experience of providing mission-critical services we can pave the way for future solutions.”

Published in Telecom Vendors

Swedish telecoms company Telia Carrier announced that it has added a new, high capacity route that stretches from Zurich, Switzerland to Strasbourg, France via Basel, Switzerland, providing a shortened path and lower latency between Frankfurt, Germany and Zurich.

With the addition of a new PoP and metro fiber in Zurich, the new route provides current and potential customers with routing options that dramatically improve performance for traffic to and from Milan, Italy and Marseilles, France. The combination of a shorter, unique route with added security and diversity gives Telia Carrier’s customers the ability to stay one step ahead of their end-users’ rising expectations.

In Zurich, the global wholesale carrier is seeing heightened demand for high capacity fiber infrastructure and 100G+ services from over-the-top (OTT) content providers and large-scale web hosting companies to meet customer demand. With the addition of a new PoP and additional fiber in Zurich, Telia Carrier can offer a variety of services and routing options to local and international companies looking to connect throughout Europe.

The new route provides inherent reliability and hardened security on a unique right-of-way with the fiber buried deep underground. Telia Carrier is offering its full portfolio of services on this route.

“As demand for OTT and cloud-based services continues to rise, service providers will need agile connectivity options for delivering their services. The new network path between Frankfurt and Zurich provides the highest capacity route across a shorter distance available in the region and gives content providers the infrastructure needed to drastically improve latency with a secure connection,” said Christoph Lannert, Regional Sales Director for Telia Carrier. “By delivering a diverse array of options in Zurich and the surrounding region, Telia Carrier empowers its customers to put their customers’ needs at the center of their universe.”

Telia Carrier’s global fiber backbone has grown organically, without acquisitions, and was the first to be 100G-enabled in both Europe and North America. It is also the first network to successfully transmit 1 Tb/s in super channels on its US network. According to Dyn Research’s global backbone rankings, AS1299, Telia Carrier’s global IP backbone, is currently ranked top-two.

Published in Telecom Operators

EE UK launches European roaming for all customers

Written on Thursday, 11 May 2017 13:34

As part of its mission to offer the best experience for UK mobile customers, UK operator EE, part of BT Group, is announcing that all existing pay monthly and pay as you go customers will soon enjoy roaming to 47 European destinations at no extra charge.

EE is also launching a new range of 4GEE Max plans, designed to offer the ultimate roaming experience for customers with more inclusive destinations worldwide than any other UK network.

From 15 June, all existing EE pay monthly and pay as you go customers will get inclusive roaming to 47 European destinations as part of their mobile, mobile broadband or tablet allowance.

Existing customers, whether in or outside of their contract period, will benefit from inclusive roaming at no extra cost and will receive an SMS to let them know of the changes to their plan, as well as a reminder when they switch their phone on abroad.

Customers that would like to benefit from inclusive roaming before June can sign up at any time to one of EE’s new plans without affecting their upgrade dates or length of contract.

EE is also introducing a new range of 4GEE Max plans on 10 May for new and upgrading customers. The new plans allow customers to use their UK call, text and data allowances across 52 destinations, more than any other network, including Europe as well as the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand – which covers over 80% of time EE customers spend overseas.

Now EE 4GEE Max customers can video call from LA, or live-stream Sydney Harbour in HD at no extra cost with their UK allowances. 4GEE Max customers also get access to our fastest available 4G speeds abroad with 125 EE partner networks.

4GEE Max plans also come with EE’s largest mobile data allowances as well as the UK’s fastest 4G speeds, 4G in more places across the UK than any other operator and inclusive access to the BT Sport app for the duration of the plan.

“Our customers want to be able to stay connected whether they’re travelling around the UK or abroad,” said EE CEO Marc Allera. “We go further to provide our customers with 4G in more places across the UK than any other operator, and we’re offering inclusive roaming in more destinations as well – so our customers can stay in touch whether they’re lying on a beach in the Mediterranean, checking out the latest restaurants in New York, or hiking in New Zealand.”

Published in Telecom Operators
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