Displaying items by tag: Europe

A new study published by Swisscom, a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland and IMD business school supports public authorities on the road to digitization. The document provides a comprehensive methodology and a decision-making tool to assist city leaders in the selection of digital projects.

Smart City initiatives generally lack an operational framework that would guide the process undertaken by the heads of public entities. IMD and Swisscom joined forces on this particular ground two years ago and developed the Smart City Piano, which represents a significant step forward in the digitization of cities.

Since then, various projects have been conducted based on the Piano on different geographical scales, from cities to regions. The experience gained from these co-operations has demonstrated the need for public authorities to have a more detailed methodology to define, select and implement the most promising projects.

A six-step method

This second report provides a comprehensive six-step approach. This was developed on the basis of interviews with project managers in public and business entities. The experience gained in project management with Swisscom customers has made it possible to refine the proposed methodology.

"Our co-creation projects with the Canton of Geneva, the cities of Pully, Montreux and Fribourg, have allowed us to confirm a number of assumptions and to find solutions to identified problems, such as governance issues for instance," says Raphaël Rollier, head of the Smart City program at Swisscom.

The study also provides city leaders with some advice on how to practically apply the Smart City Piano. Blaise Vonlanthen, Head of Consulting at Swisscom, sees a number of applications: "The proposed method allows resources to be concentrated on initiatives that make a concrete contribution to the objectives set."

A dynamic specific to the public sector

In 2015, IMD created the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation in partnership with Cisco. Hundreds of companies around the world - active in various industries - have since referred to the center to plan their digital transformation journey.

"However, in order to transform the public sector and, in particular, to develop smart cities and regions, many rules of the private sector do not apply," says Michael Wade, Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD and co-author of the study.

This collaboration has led to a deeper understanding of the specific dynamics of digital transformation in the public sector and the study will enable city leaders to accelerate their digital transition.

Published in Telecom Operators

UK telecommunications provider O2 has confirmed after months of speculation that they will scrap roaming charges for its customers in Europe. From June, O2’s Pay Monthly and Business customers will be able to avail of their UK data and call plans in a total of 47 different countries within the EU – at no extra cost.

The move follows a similar trend made by other providers who all scrapped roaming charges, companies such as EE, Three and Vodafone. The decision by O2, which is owned by Spanish multinational Telefonica – coincides with the incoming abolition of such fees by the European Union on June 15th.

It has also confirmed that O2 customers will be able to utilize their UK plans into some non-EU countries as well, which includes Iceland, Switzerland and Monaco. Prior to this announcement when travelling in the Europe Zone out of the UK – customers were charged when making and receiving calls – and sending texts to other countries.

However, that has all changed which now means you can send and receive texts and make and receive calls without any additional charges to your current data package. The move benefits thousands of customers who travel frequently in the EU, but experts claims that Brexit will present a challenge to operators.

He stated that operators will have a hugely difficult task to reintroduce roaming charges after the UK leaves the EU in two years. A telecoms analyst at CCS Insight, Kester Mann told the BBC, “I think it would go down very, very badly with customers - it would be a very bold and perhaps foolhardy option. It would be very difficult for them to do that just because the UK is such a competitive market and we've moved such a long way from roaming."

Mann added that whilst mobile operators had taken a "financial hit" from not being able to charge roaming fees as they had in the past.  They were increasingly trying to recoup that revenue through other means, he added.

Published in Telecom Operators

In order to help tackle the serious threats posed to network security, ETSI, officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization, will stage a comprehensive week-long event devoted to this increasingly crucial subject.

Many respected cybersecurity experts from around the world will be participating in the 2017 ETSI Security Week, which will take place from 12-16 June at the organization’s headquarters in Sophia Antipolis, southern France. This is the third year in succession that ETSI has staged the Security Week.

This year’s event will see representatives from a broad range of sectors involved in the presentations and panel discussions. Among these will be BNP Paribas, Bosch, Deutsche Telecom, Ericsson, Ernst & Young, Gemalto, Huawei, Intel, ISO, NEC, Nokia Bell Labs, NTT Docomo, and Thales. The agenda will cover the numerous preventative measures that need to be taken and detail sophisticated mechanisms which must be put in place to protect valuable data from cybercrime and industrial espionage.

Much of the activity will focus on addressing issues that are being raised by the latest technological advances - such as the expected massive increase in the number of connected devices and how security procedures will be impacted by the roll-out of 5G mobile technology.

A particular focus will be given to the new types of threats made possible by the virtualization of network functions with the adoption of NFV, and the means to mitigate them. Attention will then turn to the pivotal role that standardization is going to have in supporting international legislative guidelines and interoperability. There will also be an opportunity to share experiences one year after the eIDAS regulation has entered force.

“Building on the success of the previous two gatherings, in 2015 and 2016, the core objective of the ETSI Security Week will be to provide a platform for detailed dialogue on how best to safeguard the telecom and data communication networks of the future from security breaches. The event underlines the proactive stance being taken by ETSI in this area and how our vision of a standards-based structural framework will help encourage collaboration and alleviate the financial impact that cyberattacks have on the digital economy,” states Charles Brookson, chairman of ETSI TC CYBER.

“It offers an ideal opportunity for attendees to converse with leading authorities in cybersecurity, exchange ideas and gain real insight into the challenges that lie ahead – and their potential solutions.”

Vodafone and Proximus, the largest of Belgium's three mobile telecommunications companies, have agreed to renew their strategic partnership for Belgium and Luxembourg for a further five years, building on a successful long-term relationship that began in 2003. The agreement enables both companies to offer joint products and services across their networks to provide the optimum experience for their consumer and enterprise customers.

Under the agreement, which commenced on 1 April 2017, multinational companies in Belgium and Luxembourg that have global agreements with Vodafone and Proximus will continue to benefit from international managed mobile services and have access to a wide range of Vodafone Global Enterprise services. These include Vodafone Spend Analytics, which provides visibility and control of a company’s telecommunications spend, and Enterprise Managed Mobility, which enables employees to securely use smartphones and tablets.

Vodafone and Proximus remain preferred partners for roaming traffic on each other’s footprint. Mobile customers of Proximus will continue to benefit from mobile voice and data roaming, including high-speed data on Vodafone’s 4G networks. Vodafone customers visiting Belgium and Luxembourg will also enjoy voice and data roaming, including high-speed data on the 4G network of Proximus and its affiliate Tango in Luxembourg.

Vodafone and Proximus will continue their joint mobile device procurement and device promotion initiatives, strengthening the leading position of Proximus in the Belgian device market.  Within the framework of the partnership, the two companies will also explore further specific areas such as mobile data monetization, connected cars and mobility solutions in cooperation with Proximus’ equity partner Be-Mobile.

Dominique Leroy, CEO of Proximus, said: “We look forward to continuing our excellent collaboration with Vodafone. Being the partner of a global player allows us to offer our residential and professional customers the best of both worlds: a local quality partner and global advantages such as the best value proposition for smartphones and accessories. Within this partnership, Proximus and Vodafone will also explore some specific areas like connected cars and mobility solutions.”

Vodafone Partner Markets Chief Executive Diego Massidda said: “We have built a strong relationship with Proximus, dating back to 2003, and I am delighted to announce the next stage in our mutual co-operation. Customers of Vodafone and Proximus will continue to benefit from an excellent range of consumer and enterprise products and services across our networks for many years to come.”

Published in Telecom Operators

EU nations can soon apply to alter their roaming charges

Written on Sunday, 02 April 2017 12:53

Member States of the European Union will soon be able to apply to alter their roaming charges, after the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) published guidelines for the retail charging of roaming services in the EU.

The new rules will come into effect alongside new roaming legislation on June 15 this year, and telecom operators will be able to apply to their national regulator for special permission to change their charging model or add a small charge for roaming services to cover additional costs.

However, the BEREC indicated that these requests would only be approved in “specific and exceptional circumstances” to ensure the sustainability of a company’s domestic business model. The BEREC said it would require detailed evidence of the need to make any changes to current charges.

“Roaming regulation stipulates that roaming providers, upon authorization by the national regulatory authorities, should be able to apply a surcharge to the regulated retail roaming services only to the extent necessary to recover all relevant costs of providing such services,” the rules state.

The issue of roaming charges on domestic tariffs was brought to line earlier in March after reports that Irish operator 3 Ireland said it would introduce its own specific roaming allowance on some of its unlimited data plans. The reason for the change, according to the operator, was to pay for costs charged to it by European operators.

The reports stirred the European Commission to issue a statement warning operators not to attempt circumventing regulations by changing tariffs to separate domestic roaming allowances, or by offering extra national market data services as a reward or benefit on the side.

Published in Government

French telecoms giant Orange has primarily chosen LTE-M to be progressively deployed on its 4G networks in Europe, starting with Belgium and Spain this year before the rest of the Group's European footprint.

This versatile and cost-effective technology is seen by Orange to support the broadest of uses, connecting - in a secure and scalable way - a wide variety of IoT devices, from smart utility meters, asset monitoring trackers, vending machines and alarm systems to fleets of vehicles, heavy equipment, mHealth and wearables. It also offers rapid deployment involving a simple software upgrade to the Group's existing global 4G network.

The group is also launching new LTE-M pilots this year, amongst them one on smart electric metering (to remotely control power consumption and adapt user subscriptions); and another on wearables (to measure individual movement, positioning, temperature or other health-related information). For those pilots, Orange is working closely with leading LTE-M chipset manufacturers: Altair Semiconductor, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and Sequans as well as various network equipment vendors.

Orange is cementing its commitment to develop the IoT ecosystem with Europe's first LTE-M Open IoT Lab, designed to boost the ecosystem around the Mobile Internet of Things. It is the first of its kind in Europe based on LTE-M technology and is to be launched under the GSMA Mobile IoT initiative.

Available from 1April, the Open IoT Lab is located at Orange Gardens, the Group's innovation campus in Chatillon, France, and is designed to support partners wishing to accelerate the development of LTE-M devices with access to: an IoT Starter Kit; network equipment to test performance, low data rate, coverage extension and energy optimisation features; its IoT & Analytics platform, a key component of the Orange Datavenue IoT solution; and Orange technical experts, designers and marketers to benefit from the Group's go to market ability in industries such as smart cities & territories, automotive & transportation, industry & manufacturing, healthcare and smart home.

The Open IoT Lab also allows partners willing to evaluate how their product or service performs over LTE-M or LoRa technologies as two complementary IoT solutions.

"Futureproof, secured and reliable connectivity is a key pillar of Orange's IoT strategy. By working together with IoT partners, device manufacturers and innovators, we can accelerate the development of the LTE-M technology end-to-end chain, and therefore advance towards the future of the Internet of Things," said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Vice President Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange.

This LTE-M announcement comes as a new illustration of Orange's investment strategy on LPWA, which started with the opening of a LoRa network in early 2016 in France, now providing indoor or deep indoor coverage in more than 2,000 towns, cities or industrial sites. The Orange LoRa solution serves more than 60 live B2B projects, in numerous verticals such as smart cities, smart building, parking, smart home, industry, supply chain, tracking, and agriculture, and enables Orange and its B2B customers to quickly gain in experience on LPWA benefits.

The Orange LoRa end to end solution will be extended worldwide in July 2017 as an Orange Business Services offer to provide focused coverage on cities, harbours, or industrial sites. To meet all of its customers' needs, Orange also continues testing and evaluating other Mobile IoT technologies, as well as preparing for 5G.

Published in Telecom Operators

French telecom operator Bouygues announced it has bounced back after a loss of 59 million euros in 2015. The telco said it had gained one million new mobile phone customers in 2016, which has allowed the company to return to profit, with its one million new customers pushing its client base to 13 million at the end of December 2016.

“The positive commercial and financial results of Bouygues Telecom in 2016 confirm its strategic choices,” said chairman Martin Bouygues in a statement.

The company’s overall profits were affected by the 84 million euros that it had to pay to share its network with fellow French operator SFR which outweighed the 104 million capital gain Bouygues made from the sale of telecom masts to Spain’s Cellnex.

Bouygues, France’s third largest operator, said some two thirds of its customers have adopted 4G technology with a monthly data use of 4.2 gigaoctects (Go) per month on average, against 2.4 a year earlier. Bouygues joins France’s leading operator, Orange, which also reported a net profit growing nearly 11 percent to 2.93 billion euros in 2016.

Orange’s profits were boosted by a one-off gain of 4.5 billion euros from the sale of just over four percent in British operator EE. It was the first year that Orange, since 2008, has managed a rise in both its sales and Ebitda, said Orange Finance Director, Ramon Fernandez.

Overall, the French market declined by 0.9 percent as income from roaming charges dropped. The rest of Europe saw sales up 5.8 percent, mostly due to operations in Spain where turnover rose by 17.9 percent.

Orange had 201.7 million mobile phone customers worldwide at the end of 2016, up 0.9 percent from the previous year mostly thanks to gains in France and the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, Bouygues group, Bouygues Telecom's parent, reported net profit of 732 million euros for 2016, up from 403 million in 2015 and well ahead of analyst expectations.

Published in Telecom Operators

EU citizens can now steam subscription services anywhere in EU

Written on Thursday, 09 February 2017 05:40

The European Union will now allow citizens of the EU to stream online subscription services such as Netflix or BBC iPlayer in any country in the EU. Collectively, EU citizens spend about one billion nights in other EU nations every year but are faced with the frustration of not being able to stream their subscription services outside their home country.

The European Union’s executive arm, the European Commission, proposed the change and reached a compromise with negotiators from the European Parliament and the European Council of 28 member states, who collectively agreed that the measure should go forward and succeed. EU citizens will be able to enjoy the new measure in early 2018, the commission said.

“Today’s agreement will bring concrete benefits to Europeans,” said Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s vice president for the Digital Single Market. “People who have subscribed to their favorite series, music and sports events at home will be able to enjoy them when they travel in Europe.”

As it currently stands, subscribers to Netflix or Amazon streaming services in, for example, Germany, will only have access to the service if the country they are visiting has the service available, and often the movies or series available differ drastically from their home version. The same goes for digital subscribers to Sky Sports in London who are unable to access Premier League football matches on their iPads or laptops when traveling abroad.

“This is very good news for EU consumers,” said Monique Goyens, head of Brussels-based the European Consumer Organization. “Artificial barriers blocking you from using your online video, music or game subscription contradict the very principle of a single market.”

The measure puts a zero limit on the amount of time travelling Europeans can enjoy their home-based subscriptions. This is unlike the EU's free roaming promise for mobile phones that comes into effect in June, which comes with a list of restrictions.

Published in Government

British telecoms giant Vodafone reported that its annual earnings would probably be low in India due to high competition and difficulties, but it remains confident about its performance in both Europe and Africa.

In a statement, Vodafone said that underlying profit – as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) – would be lesser than its prior guidance of between 15.7-16.1 billion euros (around $17 billion).

“We anticipate intense competitive pressure in India in the fourth quarter and are taking a series of commercial actions,” said chief executive Vittorio Colao, which includes expansion of 4G network technology. “Our overall performance in Europe and Africa remained strong during the third quarter, reflecting good execution,” he added. “In Europe, service revenue growth continued, led by Italy, Germany and Span.”

However, India remains a struggle for Vodafone because of challenging trade. The company booked a vast 6.4-billion-euro impairment charge on its investment for the first half of the current financial year, AFP reported.

Vodafone recently announced it was in talks to merge its Indian unit with Idea Cellular in a bid to create the largest telecoms company in India. Vodafone India issued a statement and declared that there is no certainty any agreement will be reached between the two operators, but conceded if it did, that it would result in the de-consolidating of Vodafone India.

The statement said: “Vodafone confirms that it is in discussions with the Aditya Birla Group about an all share merger of Vodafone India (excluding Vodafone's 42% stake in Indus Towers) and Idea. Any merger would be affected through the issue of new shares in Idea to Vodafone and would result in Vodafone de-consolidating Vodafone India. There is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed, nor as to the terms or timing of any transaction.”

Vodafone’s revelation of the merger discussion ended months of speculation that the two operators were exploring the idea of aligning to fend off Reliance Jio, the company whose recent arrival in India shook up the country’s competitive mobile network market.

Reliance Jio, owned by India’s wealthiest national, began operations with great anticipation from the public last year. The 4G Jio network launched in September with an audacious free service for the rest of 2016, followed by vastly cheaper data plans and free voice calls for life.

Reliance Jio’s introduction forced its rivals to follow suit and slash their tariffs and left them struggling to match the deep pockets of Jio, which is backed by India’s extremely wealthy energy-to-chemicals conglomerate Reliance Industries.

Published in Telecom Operators

The first step has been taken toward implementing “free roaming” for the European Union. The bloc came to an agreement that travelers will no longer have to pay roaming charges for using their mobile phones within the EU. The new arrangement will take effect in June this year.

“This was the last piece of the puzzle. As of June 15, Europeans will be able to travel in the EU without roaming charges,” said Andrus Ansip, the European Commission’s vice president for the Digital Single Market.

The “free roaming” promise within the EU was first mentioned in Brussels in early 2015. But the plan was delayed after telecom operators in tourist hub areas such as Italy and Spain complained about how the deal’s effects could threaten to increase domestic prices to pay for travelers from northern Europe using their networks.

Some telcos expressed concern that “free roaming” would in effect make poorer Europeans in the south pay for wealthy tourists contacting home or surfing for data while on holiday. The reason being roaming charges have been a lucrative source of revenue for telecom companies in southern Europe.

To ease the concerns of telecom operators, negotiators for the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU’s 28 member states agreed on a scale of wholesale charges that operators pay each other when customers use their mobile phones abroad. The deal is still awaiting final approval by the European Parliament and member states, but it’s said that this is just a formality.

In a move that angered consumer advocates, the European Commission had said in December that "free roaming" would have some limits to ensure there was no abuse of the new system. Telecoms operators would be able to closely track usage and crack down on users unfairly taking advantage of cheaper phone deals available in other EU countries.

Published in Telecom Operators
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