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8 June 2021

Round-up of highlights from the week’s news

By Wireless Watch Staff

Sequans licenses CEVA 5G modem IP for broadband IoT

CEVA, a provider of intellectual property for wireless connectivity and smart sensing, has licensed its PentaG 5G New Radio (NR) IP to Sequans, a vendor of 4G/5G chips and modules for IoT. Sequans will use PentaG to ensure its 5G platform meets performance, latency and power budget requirements for IoT applications.

“CEVA’s PentaG modem IP provides us with a powerful DSP [digital signal processor] along with a comprehensive set of hardware and software technologies that shorten the design cycle for our upcoming 5G platform and ensure we deliver the industry-leading performance and efficiencies that our customers demand,” said Bertrand Debray, general manager for broadband IoT at Sequans.

The move suggests Sequans is seeking to compete across more of the wireless protocol stack than just radio modules.

Trusted Connectivity Alliance upgrades remote SIM provisioning

The Trusted Connectivity Alliance (TCA) has issued a major update of its eUICC Profile Package: Interoperable Format Technical Specification for remote SIM provisioning to accommodate the increasingly important automotive sector for 5G.

This has come with version 3.0 of the specification, aligning it with 3GPP Release 16 to fully support 5G and cellular vehicle-to-everything (C-V2X) functionality. The latest version of the specification, embodied in every eSIM deployed in the field, also includes clarifications and guidance for further enhancement of eSIM interoperability.

The specification standardizes the format used for remote loading of subscriptions onto eSIMs across deployed devices. This enables MNOs to load interoperable connectivity profiles onto an eSIM, regardless of the SIM vendor.

Vodafone Germany sets up 5G R&D center in Dresden

Vodafone Germany has established a 5G R&D facility in Dresden to focus on emerging mobile technologies looking forward towards future 6G systems, as well as specific applications in autonomous driving, connected agriculture, chemistry and construction.

The facility, which will create 200 skilled jobs, will also focus on Open RAN, which Vodafone has identified as a key priority for its ongoing 5G deployments worldwide.

This follows an international competition launched in January 2021 in which eight European cities, selected in advance, could apply to host the new R&D facility.

Virgin Media O2 kicks off in UK

Virgin Media O2 has begun service in the UK after the respective operators officially completed their merger to become one of the largest in the UK with 47m connections including broadband, mobile, TV and fixed lines.

This follows the decision last month by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to allow the proposed merger between mobile operator O2, owned by Spanish telco Telefónica, and cable operator Virgin Media, owned by Liberty Global. The new 50/50 joint venture employs around 18,000 people and reported equivalent revenue of £11bn ($15.6bn) in 2020.

Telenor places Nordic towers in new business unit

Telenor Group is the latest European operator to spin out its tower assets into a new business. Telenor Tower Holding put all its cell sites in the Nordics into one unit under Kaaren Hilsen, who moves across from the role of CEO of Telenor Sweden. Hilsen will report directly to the group CFO, Tone Hegland Bachke.

“Tower infrastructure is a strategically important area for Telenor. We need a dedicated CEO and management team to drive value creation, and Kaaren is the right person to take on this challenge,” said Bachke.

The towerco strategy was announced in the firm’s 2020 capital markets day and is part of a drive to increase operational efficiencies and unlock asset value in infrastructure.

Other operators, such as Orange, Vodafone and Telefónica, have been restructuring tower divisions to unlock shareholder value and offload non-core activities.