Europe

As expected, the British telecommunications regulator Ofcom has decided to free up spectrum in the 700MHz for mobile broadband use. Already used for 4G/LTE in the U.S. and Asia, this spectrum is great for long-range deployments and providing in-building coverage, and it’s a couple of years since an EU-level report recommended freeing it up across Europe. In the U.K., the spectrum will be available for mobile broadband use by the start of 2022 at the latest. Free-to-view digital TV and wireless broadcast microphones will need to switch to other frequencies, though. Ofcom also recently decided to free up more high-capacity 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum for mobile broadband use in a couple years’ time.

Nokia — the remaining phone-free Finnish firm, not the handset business that Microsoft bought and recently renamed — has something in store for us. In a Monday tweet teasing the unveiling of “something” on Tuesday at the Slush Festival in Helsinki, Nokia showed off a black box with the company’s familiar logo on the top. All very mysterious, especially considering that, while the company has hinted at a return of its brand to consumer goods, it appeared to do so in the context of brand licensing. The remaining bits of Nokia deal with location-based services and mapping, network equipment and advanced materials research. The black box in that picture doesn’t look like any of those.

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has launched an enormous venture capital fund, totalling €500 million ($621 million) over five years, that’s aimed at newer startups and more mature companies. The fund will be run by a new company called Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners (DTCP) rather than the telco’s existing T-Venture arm, which will still retain responsibility for follow-up investments in its hundred-or-so existing portfolio startups, but will be otherwise closed to new investments. DTCP will have a “special focus” on German startups, and will launch in early 2015. People love to whine about the lack of startup funding in Europe, but in truth the last couple years have seen billions of euros put on the table to support local scenes.

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