Displaying items by tag: Europe
More than 30 percent of Europe’s mobile connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025, according to a new GSMA study. The 2017 Europe edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy series, forecasts that there will be 214 million 5G connections in Europe by 2025, establishing the region as one of the largest 5G markets in the world by that point.
The first commercial 5G networks in Europe are due to be switched on by 2020 and are expected to provide 5G network coverage to almost three-quarters of Europe’s population by 2025, according to the report.
“Europe has an opportunity to reestablish itself as a global technology leader as we move toward the 5G era, but this can only happen if policymakers move quickly and boldly to make the necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative services to Europe’s citizens,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.
"A forward-looking regulatory environment designed to encourage long-term investment and innovation in Europe’s digital infrastructure is essential to maintaining a vibrant European mobile ecosystem and delivering the European Commission’s vision for a ‘Gigabit Society’,” Granryd added.
Europe is the most highly penetrated mobile region in the world, according to the GSMA. At the end of 2016, there were 456 million unique mobile subscribers in Europe, equivalent to 84 per cent of the population.
This high penetration rate means that there is little room for subscriber growth over the coming years: unique mobile subscribers in Europe are forecast to reach 469 million by 2020, or 86 per cent of the population – a 0.7 per cent CAGR (2016-2020).
However, slowing subscriber growth is being offset by the rapid migration to 4G networks. 4G accounted for a third of mobile connections in Europe at the end of 2016, and is forecast to account for more than 60 per cent of the total by 2020 as more Europeans take up 4G devices amid a growing demand for data and as 4G network coverage increases.
The number of 4G connections will overtake 3G connections in Europe for the first time this year, according to the report. 4G networks are also set to evolve and grow in popularity well into the 5G era, supporting higher speeds via network upgrades based on MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) and carrier aggregation technologies.
Mobile revenue growth in Europe is showing signs of stabilizing, following a prolonged period of negative or flat growth. European mobile operator revenue reached EUR143 billion in 2016 and is expected to increase slightly to EUR146 billion by the end of 2020. The report attributes the steadying performance to rising data demand, improved macroeconomic conditions and an easing of regulatory pressures.
Last year, mobile technologies and services generated EUR540 billion in economic value across Europe, a contribution equivalent to 3.4 per cent of Europe’s GDP.
By 2020, the report says, this figure is expected to increase to around EUR670 billion (3.9 per cent of GDP), as the region experiences strong growth in productivity brought about by continued adoption of machine-to-machine technology and the increased digitization of industry and services.
Europe’s mobile ecosystem supported 2.6 million jobs, directly and indirectly, in 2016. The sector also makes an important contribution to the funding of the public sector, with EUR100 billion raised in 2016, mainly in the form of general taxation, including VAT, corporate taxes and employment taxes.
To support the mobile industry’s increasing contribution to Europe’s growth and innovation, the report highlights the need for new thinking around telecoms sector regulation. It calls for a review of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market, launched two years ago, particularly with regards to new proposals such as the European Electronic Communications Code and ePrivacy Regulation.
“Europe needs a holistic policy and regulatory framework that reinforces its position as a preferred location for investment and innovation,” added Granryd. “We are calling for fresh dialogue between government and industry to assess how the Digital Single Market has performed to date, what needs to change and where regulation can promote the long-term development of Europe’s digital vision.”
Vodafone Portugal and NOS, a Portuguese media holding company, have signed an agreement to deploy and share a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network which will be marketable to around 2.6 million homes and businesses in Portugal. The two companies will provide reciprocal access to each other’s networks on commercially agreed terms.
The total number of homes and businesses to be shared by the two companies will be around 2.6 million covering both existing and greenfield areas (undeveloped land in a city or rural area).
Vodafone Portugal will gain access to 1.3 million homes and businesses in new areas. This will increase its total coverage from 2.7 million to around 4.0 million, representing 80 percent of the households in the country.
Each party will deploy, but not share, the link between the central office and the fibre backbone, active equipment and CPEs (customer-premises equipment). Customer connections and activations will be independent of each other.
Marketing of services across the joint network will commence from the beginning of calendar 2018. Both Vodafone Portugal and NOS will maintain complete autonomy and flexibility in respect of their respective retail offers.
The agreement is consistent with Vodafone Group’s fixed infrastructure strategy, which aims for an optimal mix of build, strategic partnerships, wholesale and buy approaches. As a result of this strategy, Vodafone can already market high-speed services to 98 million homes across Europe, and this agreement extends this to over 100 million.
Vodafone Portugal’s current fibre-to-the-home deployment program reached 2.7 million homes as of June 2017. The company has 4.7 million mobile customers and around 550,000 fixed broadband customers.
The European Commission is pushing to speed up the implementation of EU-wide rules for the use of drones in the European Union. More than 1,200 safety occurrences – including near-misses between drones and aircraft – were reported in Europe in 2016, which underlines the pressing need for a modern and flexible EU regulatory framework.
The European Commission is calling on the European Parliament and the Council to agree on its proposal from December 2015 establishing an EU-wide framework for drones.
In December 2015, the Commission proposed to create an EU-wide framework for drones as part of its Aviation Strategy. It tabled a legislative proposal establishing standards for drones and drone operations, which is still being examined by the European Parliament and the EU Member States.
Pending this adoption, the Commission’s Single European Sky Air traffic management Research Joint Undertaking (SESAR) – whose role is to develop the next generation of European Air Traffic Management – is currently making half a million euro available to support the demonstration of “geo-fencing” services, which can automatically prevent drones from flying into restricted zones.
“Drones offer tremendous opportunities for new services and businesses. That is why we want Europe to be a global leader,” said Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc.
“I am confident our modern and flexible regulatory framework will give rise to new European champions in this sector. But safety always comes first. If we don’t have enough, the near misses between drones and airplanes could one day have disastrous consequences. I am therefore calling on the European Parliament and the Council to swiftly agree on our proposal from December 2015.”
Ensuring that drones can safely integrate the airspace alongside other users (such as aircraft) is fundamental. This is why the Commission proposed in November 2016 to create an automated traffic management system for drones operating at low-level, referred to as the “U-space”. Geo-fencing is a key component of the U-space.
The call for proposals announced by SESAR aims to select one project demonstrating the active geo-fencing of drones flying below 500 feet (around 152 meters). It requires that drones users are provided with up-to-date information on no-fly zone as well as real-time alerts if they enter one. The project will build on the geolocation capabilities which are built-in in many drones today.
Today's funding comes on top of an envelope of 9 million euros that has already been earmarked for exploratory projects to speed up the development of the U-space, such as the automatic identification of drones or drone-to-drone communication.
Deutsche Telekom, in collaboration with Huawei, went live with Europe’s first 5G connection on Sept. 14, based on the latest 3GPP standard. The operator’s commercial 5G network in central Berlin provides over 2Gbps and low latency of 3 milliseconds over a 3.7GHz spectrum link.
Powered by Huawei user equipment using 3GPP specifications for 5G New Radio (NR), the deployment on commercial sites is the first in Europe and marks an important advancement in the global development of 5G.
5G NR will be “critical for meeting our customers’ ever-increasing connectivity requirements that are steadily growing with more and more network connections,” said Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member for Technology and Innovation. The achievement, she said, demonstrates the feasibility of DT’s plans to deliver superior customer experience.
Taihua Deng, President Wireless Network, Huawei, said, “Huawei is confident that the partnership with Deutsche Telekom can fully prepare the commercial launch of 5G NR services in Europe by 2020 thanks to 3GPP standardization efforts.”
The implementation in a live real-world setting in central Berlin using Huawei equipment and software is based on pre-standard 5G that closely tracks the 3GPP global standard for so-called ‘Non-Standalone New Radio’.
With the Non-Standalone 5G NR mode for enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) use-case, it is meant that the connection is anchored in LTE while 5G NR carriers are used to boost data-rates and reduce latency. Therefore, 5G NR will be deployed with the evolution of 4G LTE as the baseline for wide-area broadband coverage. The specifications enabling that system will be complete by December 2017 as part of the first drop of 3GPP Release 15.
5G NR has characteristics that make it ideal to meet the sub 6GHz mid-band needs for 5G applications that will require mobility support, wide-area coverage, as well as multi-gigabit throughput speeds and millisecond low latency.
“With this real-world achievement, Deutsche Telekom is making its first important step towards a 5G network launch,” said Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom. “When the standard is defined, we will trial it in 2018 to prepare the ground for a wider deployment of commercial sites and the offering of devices for the mass market as they become available.”
France is leading a push to increase the taxation of tech giants in Europe, backed by Germany, Italy and Spain. The countries’ finance ministers said in a joint letter that they want multinational technology companies like Google and Amazon to be taxed based on their revenues in Europe, rather than only profits as now.
Other European nations have expressed their support for the tax change, Reuters reported, because of the low tax they receive under the current international rules. Some nations are missing out on their share because tech giants are often taxed on profits booked by subsidiaries in Ireland, a low-tax haven, even though the revenue generated came from other EU countries.
In the letter written by the four European finance ministers it says, “We should no longer accept that these companies do business in Europe while paying minimal amounts of tax to our treasuries.”
The letter, seen by Reuters, was sent to the European Union’s Estonian presidency with the bloc’s executive Commission in copy. It was written by French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, Wolfgang Schaeuble of Germany, Pier-Carlo Padoan of Italy, and Luis de Guindos of Spain.
In the letter the ministers express the need to create an “equalization tax” on turnover that would bring taxation to the level of corporate tax in the country where the revenue was generated. The ministers said, “The amounts raised would aim to reflect some of what these companies should be paying in terms of corporate tax.”
The ministers will reportedly present their case to other EU counterparts at a meeting in Tallinn from Sept. 12-16. A discussion has been scheduled by the EU’s current Estonian presidency to consider the concept of “permanent establishment” with the goal of being able to tax companies on where they generate their revenue, not only where they have their tax residence.
France has faced setbacks trying to obtain payments for taxes on tech giants’ activities in the country, hence its move to put pressure on the EU to change tax rules. In July a French court ruled that Alphabet’s Google should pay 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in back taxes because it has no “permanent establishment” in France but ran its operations there from Ireland.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.