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Eurobites: Cellnex Buys Arqiva's Towers Unit for £2B

Paul Rainford
10/8/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Netcracker lands OSS deal with Deutsche Telekom; Nokia hopes to make squillions from Quillion chipset; Telia Norway goes all in with Ericsson for 5G RAN.

  • Spain's Cellnex Telecom has agreed to buy the telecoms division of UK-based towers company Arqiva for £2 billion (US$2.4 billion). The deal involves the acquisition of around 7,400 UK sites and the right to market another 900 additional sites or so. Included in the deal are concessions to use street infrastructure as locations for telecom sites in 14 London boroughs, which Cellnex sees as key to 5G "densification" and rollout. Through the acquisition, Cellnex wil become the UK's biggest owner of towers, providing services to all four main mobile operators. (See Eurobites: Sunrise Offloads Towers to Cellnex.)

  • Netcracker has landed a next-gen OSS deal with Deutsche Telekom that will see the vendor deliver its Network Domain Orchestration software stack to the German giant's domestic operation. DT Germany will use the vendor's solution to automate multiple management processes, including optimization and provisioning, in its optical and IP network. Netcracker claims to have beaten off more than a dozen rivals to land the deal, which will help to "revolutionize the way network services are delivered through end-to-end automation," noted Rainer Steege, DT's VP of IP Core, in the official announcement. Heavy Reading's OSS guru James Crawshaw, who will be tackling the pressing topic of software-defined, automated network operations at an upcoming Light Reading conference, notes: "Deutsche Telekom is a long-standing customer for Netcracker in billing (fixed network) and OSS (Service Inventory, Service Provisioning & Activation, Resource Inventory, and Discovery & Reconciliation). This latest OSS win is labelled Network Domain Orchestration, and involves network discovery and the integration of IP devices and SDN controllers from multiple vendors in order to simplify provisioning. Despite already being a supplier, Netcracker would have faced stiff competition from the likes of Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, Ciena/Blueplanet, Amdocs, HPE and others to win this deal, so it's strong endorsement." (See Deutsche Telekom Picks Netcracker for Next-Gen OSS.)

  • Ahead of the annual Broadband World Forum jamboree in Amsterdam, Nokia has unveiled a new family of fixed-access broadband chipsets dubbed Quillion, which, as far as Eurobites can see, appears to have a gazillion potential applications. The new processors will feature in Nokia's 16-port Multi-PON line card that supports GPON and NG-PON, and in the vendor's various copper broadband systems that enable various flavors of Gfast, Vplus and VDSL2 services. As you'd expect, the chipsets have been designed to reduce power consumption and enable ever more compact systems that take up less space than existing broadband network boxes, which are important considerations for network operators as they plan the construction of next-generation fixed broadband networks that will be able support residential, enterprise and wholesale services, including fronthaul and backhaul for 5G. It's not clear, though, when Quillion-based broadband systems will be available for deployment: Eurobites awaits an update from Nokia on market availability.

  • Telia Norway will no doubt make the Trump administration happy with its decision to choose Ericsson as its sole 5G RAN supplier. Both partners anticipate that 5G rollout will begin in 2020, with the first 5G commercial services being switched on in the same year. Nationwide 5G is scheduled to kick in by 2023.

  • Orange is to begin testing 5G in the 26GHz band at Rennes railway station and at its lab in the Parisian suburb of Châtillon. Regarding the former, the plan is that by some point in 2020, passengers traveling through Rennes station (and armed with compatible devices) will be able to connect to 5G hotspots and download HD videos in a matter of seconds. As for the latter, the 5G lab will open its doors to interested parties wanting to test the local 5G network in the 26GHz band and evaluate its ability to deliver new-fangled multimedia experiences -- think 4K/8K streaming and augmented reality -- in busy places.

  • The Orange projects are just two out of 11 that have been set up to test the 26GHz band under the auspices of French telecom regulator, which in concert with the French government issued a call at the start of the year for the creation of 5G trial platforms using this band. For more details on the other projects, see this Arcep announcement.

  • Belgian startup Waylay is teaming up with chipmaker ARM to integrate ARM's Pelion IoT platform with its own automation and analytics framework.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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