This Week In Tech And Telco: 5G Comes To The UK!
Here we are again, another Friday! This week has been a short one with the bank holiday on Monday, but never a dull one.
We curate this list of tech and telco news every week to make sure that you, as busy as we know you are, can still keep up to date. Here's what's been happening:
After years of hype, build up and much controversy, especially over the past 12 months, fifth generation wireless technology is finally here.
BT's EE subsidiary is the first to launch a service - but it comes at great cost and geographical restriction.
The lowest-priced deal is £54 a month plus a one-off £170 fee for a compatible handset.
That buys you only 10GB of data a month, which, if take full advantage 5G and download lots of content, you’ll use up pretty quickly.
Rival offers from Vodafone will hit soon, with its 5G service starting in about five weeks.
The communications watchdog Ofcom suggests that in time 5G could offer speeds of 20Gbps.
That is fast enough to download an ultra-high definition 4K movie in less time than it takes to read its description.
However, the fiber lines EE is using to link each 5G site to its network have a total capacity of only 10Gbps, which must be shared around.
But... it's not all good. The live broadcast of 5G didn't go as planned.
IKEA is launching a new app that, using augmented reality (AR), allows customers to shop remotely for products and visualize them in the context of their own homes.
This lessens the need for them to travel to its vast network of out-of-town stores.
“It is a completely new experience,” Barbara Martin Coppola, chief digital officer at IKEA, told Reuters in an interview. “The app is combined with the store experience, with the online experience.”
AR and virtual reality have been promised to change just about every industry, and are already impacting B2B training, but IKEA’s AR app may just give extended reality the push it needs to prove itself more than a buzzword.
Poland has officially challenged the European Union’s recently-approved controversial copyright directive, claiming that the legislation would bring unwanted censorship.
The country filed its complaint this week with the Court of Justice of the European Union.
The directive was approved in April, and goes into force in June. Member states have two years to pass their own legislation that implements it.
The legislation is designed to update copyright law, but contains a number of controversial clauses that campaigners have dubbed “the death of the internet”.
This includes Article 11, the so-called “link tax,” which allows publishers to charge platforms such as Google to display news stories, and Article 13, the “upload filter," which says that platforms would be liable for content that infringes on someone’s copyright.
Facebook is finalizing plans to launch its own cryptocurrency next year.
The plan is to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020.
Referred to internally as GlobalCoin, Facebook hopes to begin testing its cryptocurrency by the end of the year.
More details will come this summer, but Mark Zuckerberg has already spoken to Bank of England governor Mark Carney to discuss the opportunities and risks involved in launching an electronic currency known for its distributed and anonymous nature.
Facebook has also sought advice on operational and regulatory issues from officials at the US Treasury.
According to the BBC, Facebook wants to create a digital currency that provides affordable and secure ways of making payments, regardless of whether users have a bank account.
Time for more telco and tech news?
- U.S. President Donald Trump plans to tell the British government that Washington may limit intelligence sharing with the U.K. if it continues to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei to build part of its 5G mobile network, the Financial Times reported. (CNBC)
- The merger approval process is heading towards the business end of proceedings, and the omens are not looking particularly healthy for T-Mobile US and Sprint. The longer the process takes to complete, the more of a feeling there is the transaction might be denied. As it stands, the FCC has seemingly lit the green light, though it does not appear the Department of Justice (DoJ) is on the same page. (Telecoms)
- Businesses have objected to FCC’s plan to block all robo and unwanted calls. Pai has proposed allowing wireless carriers to block unwanted calls to their customers “by default.” The outlined policy would create a safe harbor for providers that implement network-wide blocking of calls that fail caller authentication under the SHAKEN/STIR framework. The new rules would also allow carriers to help consumers to block calls not on their own contact list. (Fierce Wireless)