Telefonica plans to sell radio masts for 1.5 billion euros

Telefonica

Telefonica Germany already sold a good 2,000 transmission towers to Telxius in 2016.


(Photo: dpa)

Berlin The Spanish telecom giant Telefonica is conducting negotiations with telecommunications infrastructure company Telxius on the sale of radio masts from its German subsidiary Telefonica Deutschland, according to a media report. The Spanish newspaper “Expansion” reported on Friday that a sales sum of 1.5 billion euros was under discussion.

It is about up to 10,000 masts. Telxius is more than 50 percent owned by Telefonica, further shareholders are the financial investor KKR and the investment fund Pontegadea, which belongs to the textile billionaire Amancio Ortega. Telefonica and Telefonica Deutschland did not want to comment.

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Facebook’s India bet is risky but forward-looking

Mukesh Ambani

Behind the conglomerate Reliance Jio is one of the richest men in Asia.

(Photo: AP)

Mark Zuckerberg is not afraid of big bets. In 2014, he bought the Instagram platform for a billion dollars. The takeover of the virtual reality company followed two years later Oculus for $ 2 billion and the purchase of WhatsApp for $ 19 billion.

If the FacebookBoss strikes, he usually ensures control. Not so with the latest deal. Facebook bought ten percent of the shares in the conglomerate Reliance Jio for $ 5.7 billion. The step represents an important experiment by the company.

Jio is an attacker in the Indian market. The mobile phone brand has managed to change the Indian telecommunications market with competitive prices. Today the brand is the market leader, setting rivals like Vodafone vacuum. Behind the company is one of the richest men in Asia: Mukesh Ambani. With the rise of Jio, the company has amassed a lot of debt. Since the money from Facebook is just right.

But Zuckerberg would not invest such sums unless he had a long-term business model in mind. With 1.3 billion people, India is one of the most important future markets in the world. Only China has a larger population, but Beijing blocks Facebook from the market. In India, the group has 400 million users on WhatsApp. However, expansion plans repeatedly failed due to regulatory concerns.

With the new alliance of Facebook and Jio, things could be different. Facebook’s stated goal is to establish WhatsApp as an important channel for business people. The connection with Jio’s online marketplace JioMart fits this. The alliance could also help roll out a payment system based on WhatsApp in India. This is not only interesting for India. So far, Facebook’s attempts to generate significant income with WhatsApp have largely failed.

The question is whether Facebook could not have had such a partnership cheaper. Strategic participation is not absolutely necessary for an alliance. The reason for the move could be in China. Facebook rival Tencent is trying to roll out its communication and payment platform WeChat more globally. Other Chinese technology companies such as Xiaomi or Huawei are already strongly represented in India. Facebook probably wanted to preempt its competitors from China.

The future Facebook and Jio initiatives should not only be interesting for India. If Facebook succeeds in expanding WhatsApp as a payment and business platform, the group should be able to copy the concept to other countries. Tech companies in Europe should therefore follow developments in India very closely.

More on the subject: The corona crisis will Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon make it even more powerful.

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Vodafone warns of attacks on 5G antennas in Germany

Attacks on 5G cell towers

A 5G transmitter was destroyed in an arson attack in Huddersfield in Northern England.

(Photo: AFP)

Dusseldorf The network operator Vodafone has warned of attacks on cell towers in Germany. Arson attacks have already taken place in several EU countries. Similar things could happen in Germany, said Vodafone Germany boss Hannes Ametsreiter on Wednesday.

“These activities can endanger life,” said Ametsreiter. In the UK, a cell tower near a hospital was destroyed, and emergency calls could not be made. That is a worrying development.

The background to the attacks are conspiracy theories that have linked the expansion of 5G mobile communications to the outbreak of the corona pandemic. Masts had been damaged or destroyed in Great Britain, the Netherlands and Cyprus.

Despite attempts by scientists and politicians to calm the population, concerns about similar events in Germany are increasing. Vodafone technical director Gerhard Mack said: “We must not fool ourselves.” The expansion of 5G mobile radio is still in the early stages in Germany. In the Federal Republic, “many thousands of new masts” would still have to be built to supply the population with 5G.

German industry in particular had been pushing for a 5G supply that was as extensive as possible. She hopes to be the basis for new products, better networking of production and the basis for applications such as autonomous driving.

Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom announced on Wednesday to significantly expand the expansion of 5G mobile radio in Germany. Telekom wants to supply half of the German population with 5G this year. That would correspond to about 40 million people. “We have big plans for 5G and will bring the latest mobile communications standard to large parts of Germany this year,” says Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner.

Vodafone also announced that it would make its 5G network available to around ten million people in Germany this year. In the beginning, Vodafone focused on the cities, said Ametsreiter. “Now we’re bringing 5G to the area.”

Important frequencies for 5G were auctioned in Germany last year. In addition to Telekom and Vodafone, Telefónica Deutschland and the newcomer also secured themselves for a total of 6.55 billion euros Drillish, behind which the group United Internet (Brands 1 & 1, GMX, Web.de) stands, frequencies. The nationwide expansion of mobile radio technology will take years.

More: This is how scientists assess the theories about the relationship between 5G and corona.

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Conspiracy theory about Corona is spreading

Corona graffiti

A graffiti on a wall in Kensington in Great Britain links the corona pandemic to 5G mobile communications.

(Photo: REUTERS)

Dusseldorf When the first arson attacks on 5G cell phone antennas were carried out in Great Britain, experts at most took notice. But the situation changed within a few weeks. In the UK, more than 60 cellular antennas have already been set on fire. Authorities in the Netherlands, Cyprus and Ireland have now registered similar attacks.

The background to the attacks is a conspiracy theory that has become increasingly widespread in Europe over the past few weeks. In online forums, people claim that there is a direct link between the outbreak of the corona virus and the expansion of the latest 5G cellular standard. Scientists and experts are against it.

Nevertheless, there is growing concern about attacks in Germany. The president of the digital association Bitkom, Achim Berg, said: “Autonomous companies have just started an arson attack on a telecommunications network in the middle of Berlin.” Berg said that operators always take precautions to protect their networks. “Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that infrastructures that have been expanded in the area can be successfully attacked.”

The network operators in Germany are watching the situation. On VodafoneSpokesman said: “In the UK, there have recently been cases in which individual locations of the telecommunications infrastructure have been damaged because individuals are constructing a link between 5G and the corona virus.” The spokesman emphasized: “There is no scientific evidence or evidence for these claims. 5G, like its predecessor technologies, is a safe bet. ”

The company takes constructive criticism from concerned people seriously. “We also have an open exchange with cell phone critics,” said the spokesman. “Cases in which the infrastructure was affected by vandalism are currently not known to us in Germany.” Therefore, no additional security measures are currently being taken.

Great skepticism about network expansion

The other network operators also expressed similar comments. “Fortunately, damage to mobile phone locations due to arson, for example, occurs very rarely in this country, and the majority is pure vandalism,” said a Telefónica spokeswoman. “We do not currently see an increase, which is why there are no additional protective measures.”

At Telekom it was said: “There are always cases of vandalism,” said one Telekom spokeswoman. “But we are currently not seeing any change in us.”

graphic

The development comes at a time when there is already great skepticism about network expansion in Germany. The digital association Bitkom conducted a representative survey. Almost one in two (48 percent) spoke out against the construction of new cell towers. The Federal Network Agency had only discovered a few days ago that Telekom, Vodafone and Telefónica are lagging behind the minimum requirements in expanding their networks in Germany and that there are still too many dead spots.

For years, scientific studies have dealt with the question of whether and what influence cell phone radiation has on people. The Stiftung Warentest recently summarized many of the available studies. In the analysis, the consumer organization came to the conclusion: “The research findings provide little cause for concern.”

ARD science journalist Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim did a research More specifically, a possible connection between cell phone radiation and cancer diseases and came to the conclusion: “So far, there is no conclusive hypothesis – no idea yet – how cell phone radiation could theoretically trigger cancer.”

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Disputes in the development of Corona app – launch is delayed

Berlin, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Zurich Health minister Jens Spahn wipes all hopes off the table that a corona tracing app could soon bring further relief in everyday life: It would take “more than four weeks” before all data protection and data security requirements could be met.

Only then can the question be clarified how close people have been to each other and how much time they must have spent at this distance so that they can be warned by a Corona app. The health minister (CDU) said on Friday morning at the federal press conference.

Most of these questions already seemed to be answered. The developers, who work on the Corona Tracing app together with the Robert Koch Institute, are also part of the European Pepp-pt initiative.

Pepp-pt stands for Pan European Privacy-Protecting Proximity Tracing. It is a basic technology as the basis for tracing apps, which is intended to guarantee high data protection and data security. It was developed by more than 130 scientists and IT experts and was presented in early April. An app for Germany, so the presumption, could already be presented this week.

So many were eagerly awaiting the press conference with Health Minister Spahn and RKI President Lothar Wieler this Friday. But in the ARD morning magazine, the CDU politician said that the truth is that the app is “really good” it takes three to four weeks rather than two weeks. After that, many hoped that at least the prototype would be presented at the press conference, as some had rumored. But that didn’t happen either.

The reason for the delay appears to be inconsistencies among the developers, technical difficulties and data protection issues. At the beginning everyone seemed to agree on how the app should work, with the increasing number of participating institutes, experts, companies and authorities, the opinions increasingly diverged. The need for coordination and thus the time spent in discussions increased significantly.

Violent discussion with developers

Seven organizations should work solely on the question of how the app, which will be based on Bluetooth wireless technology, should recognize that there is a window pane between users, for example: Vodafone, the Dresden research spin-off Zigpos, the TU Dresden, the Barkhausen Institute, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits and the Leibniz Institute for innovative microelectronics.

When there was a fundamental question about how to deal with the data, a fierce discussion broke out with colleagues from Switzerland, which ended with the Swiss taking a different path. The procedure is basically the same: the apps based on Pepp-pt technology stores which smartphones have been close to your own smartphone for a long time. For this, she uses Bluetooth.

The app creates an identification number for each user that only says “I belong to this app”. There is no link between the app and the user, he does not enter any personal data there. The app sends this ID at regular intervals via Bluetooth without looking for a specific recipient.

It’s like beeping to show that it’s there. Only smartphones on which the app is installed can hear this beep, and they save the sound, i.e. the ID, encrypted on the phone for 21 days. The users have no access to it.

So far, the Swiss and German developers agree. The issue arises from the question of what happens if a user has tested positive for the Corona virus. In Germany, the developers have now agreed that the app will then send the data to a central, national server and from there, warnings will be sent to all app users who have been close to the infected person long enough.

Worry about data

Another approach – that of the Swiss – is the so-called “decentralized” model: the app sends the data to all apps in the region when the status changes to “infected”. The data is then analyzed on the smartphone itself to see whether the user was in danger or not.

“I think this approach favored by the Swiss colleagues is unfortunate,” said Gerhard Fettweis, co-developer and professor at the TU Dresden. Reason: Roaming is more difficult to implement. In addition, the (US) providers of operating systems for smartphones can acquire the data in local data analysis. “I wouldn’t have a good feeling if the US government could get the data of German citizens thanks to its emergency laws,” said Fettweis.

Federal data protection officer Ulrich Kelber told Handelsblatt that both the central and the decentralized solution are conceivable, “if the systems are implemented correctly. From a data protection perspective, however, the central approach entails greater vulnerability. “

Almost 100 percent of all smartphones run on the operating systems from Apple or Google, i.e. iOS and Android. In order for an app based on Bluetooth to work at all, you have to be involved in the development of the apps, because most smartphones automatically switch off Bluetooth after a certain period of time in order to save electricity. This would not make the app work, so this switch-off function must be able to be activated.

The tech companies are currently developing the interfaces that Pepp-pt and other app developers would like so that apps are compatible on both operating systems, i.e. Android and iOS, and that they work for as many people as possible. As soon as they are finished with the development, state apps can use it. The tech companies emphasized that they do not store any data on their servers.

The German app should work independently, however, also because Google and Apple are probably not finished with the development before mid-May or early June. However, the companies are working on the German solution to solve the Bluetooth problem.

Sharp criticism

The Greens parliamentary group Konstantin von Notz was horrified by the actions of the federal government. “It is absolutely incomprehensible to me why the federal government is frivolously gambling away the trust of users,” the domestic politician told the Handelsblatt.

“Especially in view of the fact that we have been pointing out for several weeks now that such an app can be an important component in combating the further spread of Covid19, their approach is difficult to understand.” The federal government would have clarified the unresolved questions long ago have to.

His parliamentary group had therefore requested a report from the federal government to the interior committee on the status of the app for the coming week. Von Notz criticizes the schedule of the Federal Government and the Robert Koch Institute, among other things, and speaks of an “opaque approach”.

The question of when the app will be available remains unanswered, said von Notz. Before Easter, it was said that the app would be presented immediately after the public holidays, suddenly there is talk of May. The question of which model the German government and the RKI have developed and have already tested is still unanswered. Another “serious omission” is that the Federal Data Protection Commissioner is unable to adequately check the app.

The CDU health politician Tino Sorge calls the delay of the app “annoying”. Even in the face of a global pandemic, the debate in this country is not driven by opportunities for health protection, but by data protection fears. “That also caused delays,” said Sorge.

If Germany were to remain tentative, “in the end we will have perfect data protection in this country in Germany – but in the worst case even longer contact bans, travel and exit restrictions,” he said. This had to be discussed after the Corona crisis.

Question of transparency

Chris Boos, entrepreneur and Pepp-pt co-developer, stressed in a press conference this Friday that the platform has no influence on how quickly national apps are introduced. They would only provide the basic technology and also make it transparent for authorities for examinations.

But this transparency is also a point of controversy: von Notz reacted to Pepp-pt’s plans to decide against the decentralized approach with incomprehension. The main advantage of this variant is the “great transparency”. For example, the source code is disclosed – “a key condition” for user trust. “Therefore, the current decision seems questionable,” said von Notz.

Scientists from the ETH Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) accuse Pepp-pt of lack of transparency – and warn of impending deficiencies in the protection of user data. “We just don’t know what Pepp-pt is building there,” says Kenneth Paterson, professor of cryptography at the IT faculty at ETH. “The system could be full of bugs.”

Paterson requests that the Pepp-pt group disclose the technical specifications and program code. This is the only way to ensure that the system is error-free and that there are no back doors that can be used by secret services, for example.

He relies on the decentralized solution called DP-3T. Now they fear that Pepp-pt will no longer pursue the Swiss decentralized approach. Corresponding information was secretly taken from the website of the Pepp-pt makers.

Cryptography expert Paterson warns of the consequences: “If Pepp-pt takes the centralized path, it will open the door to data protection hell.” With a central solution, governments could easily track who was around other users.

“That’s exactly what security services in many countries would like,” says Paterson. With more openness, the Pepp-pt team can address such concerns, according to the cryptography researcher. But: “You don’t seem to be willing or able to do that,” says Paterson.

Boos apologized on Friday that a link about the decentralized approach had disappeared from the Pepp-pt side without explanation. He also announced that all codes would be released on Friday. It had not decided against the approach, on the contrary, it was important that the individual countries could choose a solution.

Data protection advocates controversial model

Hamburg-based data protection officer Johannes Caspar supports the federal government’s plans for digital tracking of corona contacts based on the Pepp-pt platform initiative. The federal-state decision for a corresponding warning app is a “fundamental decision with a sense of proportion,” said Caspar the Handelsblatt. They rely on anonymity and voluntariness instead of coercion.

He now calls for the source code of the app to be published “quickly” so that transparency and thus trust are created from a technical point of view. In addition, “more detailed information about the concept” would have to be submitted for a data protection assessment of the application.

The EU Commission has now also taken a position. It urges that the apps in the individual countries are interoperable so that contacts with travelers from other countries can also be recorded. For this purpose, the Brussels authority has formulated common requirements with the EU states, which should also guarantee compliance with European data protection rules. The use of the apps should be voluntary, protect the identity of the respective contact persons, use Bluetooth instead of geolocation and be handled as soon as the pandemic is over.

Eight states have already made a firm decision to use the Pepp-pt platform for their solutions, said their co-founder Chris Boos on Friday. In addition to Germany, this included France, Spain and Italy. Another 40 countries outside of Europe were interested in the technology.

Difficult way

The basic technology is available, Boos said, but now has to be adapted to the respective national requirements. Most of the countries involved planned to launch the apps in late April or early May.

In Italy, the start-up Blending Spoons, in coordination with the authorities, has already developed an app with the working name “Immuni”, which in addition to the contacts of the users also anonymously records their information about their health. The app will now be tested in individual parts of the country. It would take a few weeks before smartphone users could download them from the app stores, says company founder Luca Ferrari.

That would be a difficult way back to normal life, said Thomas Wiegand, President of the Heinrich Hertz Institute. It will be like driving on a freeway at 250 kilometers an hour. “You have to hold onto the steering wheel very much. But we have a chance against the virus. ”

More: Many providers want to provide an app to contain the corona pandemic. These must be transparent, voluntary and proportionate.

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Sponsors see e-sports as a growth market even in the crisis

Dusseldorf The state of emergency of the corona crisis is affecting the economy. The necessary containment measures, the shutdown, affect numerous companies. One industry that benefits from more available human time is that of computer game providers. The number of downloads and users is increasing.

E-sports, video and computer games are usually a part of the gaming world from the action and strategy area, in which several players compete against each other at the same time. The peculiarity is that in recent years, successful games like “League of Legends”, “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” or “Starcraft 2” have successfully established worldwide tournament and league operations between professional teams.

A spectator sport, both with live presence in arenas and with millions of spectators online. With audience groups that are considered young, tech-savvy, educated and eager to consume, also as “nerds”. In the current situation, this has advantages, but also special challenges.

Although the scene in Germany does not receive the recognition of the DOSB as a sport, the competitions are often treated as such – especially by sponsors. Companies like IntelDHL Daimler, SAP and Vodafone are part of it, some with their own investments in teams.

Accordingly, there is also the potential to be further recommended as a sponsorship alternative in a crisis that brings classic sports to a standstill. In the middle of the global corona crisis, which also forces e-sports, which is characterized by live events and direct team contact, to be converted, the Munich-based carmaker is now also announcing BMW its comprehensive entry.

The group announced on Thursday a partnership with five top international teams, including the “G2” based in Germany. BMW provides team teams for all teams, but the focus should be on technology and knowledge transfer.

This is also a clear sign in the crisis. “Our commitment is motivated by our commitment to be a sustainable, global partner who supports the teams and the industry itself before, during and after these uncertain times,” says BMW brand boss Jens Thiemer.

Team partnership logos

BMW joins five teams; together, synergies are to be leveraged.

(Photo: BMW)

As is customary in e-sports, no concrete sums are mentioned. However, it is clear that total sales in the sponsoring market still represent a niche, especially in comparison to football. However, market participants report in unison, double-digit growth rates. “We consider e-sports to be a promising and growing addition to our marketing activities,” explains Thiemer.

More viewers online

The Achilles heel of the industry in crisis is the live events. They have become more important in recent years and have been expanded into tournaments with tens of thousands of spectators. These events are now being canceled or are taking place without an audience, such as the Intel Extreme Masters in Katowice, to which tens of thousands of fans traveled and were no longer allowed to enter the arena at short notice.

Important industry meetings such as the Cologne Gamescom must be canceled, at least in physical presence. The follow-up costs are likely to result in the cancellation and compensation clauses being examined in various insurance policies and contracts.

The US company Riot Games, which organizes the league operation of its hit game “League of Legends” in Europe from its Berlin production studio, had to wait several game days before the game operations could be completely shifted to online platforms.

“Having fans close to the action is what makes e-sports so special,” explains Alberto Guerrero, head of the e-sports division at Riot Games Europe. “Keeping our community connected, even though they can’t physically be there and celebrate, is a task that concerns us every day.” Riot recently recorded a ten percent digital audience increase in league operations. “People want and need entertainment, new content and a feeling of connectedness more than ever before,” said Guerrero.

57 percent of gamers play more than before

In fact, there had been technical challenges, such as the implementation of several livestreams simultaneously from different locations or simply making the same computer set-up available to the team members as in the studio. Due to the nature of e-sports, the joint efforts of the production team put it in a unique position to maintain the entertainment program and digital community experiences in this situation as well.

The world’s largest independent league operator ESL also relies on this. “We can also hold the tournaments online without anyone having to travel. We are currently doing this and are achieving record numbers of viewers, ”said the Cologne-based company on request. The product does not suffer as a result: “It comes very close to what we do otherwise – without on-site spectators, but in the same quality of sport that can be followed online.”

In fact, several game manufacturers and competition organizers recently announced record audience numbers. This affects gaming in general, reported Valve, provider of the gaming platform Steam, recently almost 25 million users who were online at the same time, of which eight million also played at the same time.

But this also applies to e-sports in particular, where, for example, “CS: GO” recorded more than one million players online at the weekend for the first time since the title was released in 2012. “Surveys by the Nielsen subsidiary SuperData not only show that the number of downloads for game apps is increasing,” explains Michael Heina, Head of E-Sports Europe at the research and consulting company Nielsen. “57 percent of German video gamers state that they spend significantly more time playing video games than they did before Corona.”

And more: “Current SuperData data show that the purchase of digital items and objects as well as further in-game purchases have increased,” says Heina. People use the time that is currently available to them more, i.e. for games as a pastime – and the willingness to spend increases.

“Virtual sports” are catching up in the crisis

The winners of the development are currently difficult to identify. According to Nielsen, it is clear that video platforms such as Twitch and Youtube are benefiting from increasing user numbers. The former reported 1.1 billion hours of viewed material on their service on a monthly basis. TV broadcasts hardly play a role. “In the current situation, it would be possible that there is a kind of ‘baby boom’ in e-sports, as the group of gamers is currently growing,” explains Heina.

That means: People interested in video games are increasingly interested in watching video games as live entertainment in competition format as a spectator. A corresponding development can already be seen in the “virtual sports”, the sports simulations. The US racing series “Nascar” achieved great audience success with virtual races – demographically identical to the regular motorsport fans.

This also raises hopes for football, which is represented as a niche in e-sports. “E-sport is currently enjoying a completely new level of attention and is being noticed by large sections of the population,” said Alexander Jobst, Marketing Director of FC Schalke 04. The Bundesliga team maintains alongside the “League of Legends” team, which is part of the LEC Europaliga Riot Games, like many other football clubs, also participates in a “Fifa” team.

Jobst is certain that the current increase in the number of viewers will also be borne by people who have not had any contact with electronic sports before. The “Bundesliga Home Challenge” is the “perfect example”, says Jobst: “The showcase initiated by the DFL was able to entertain more than two million viewers on the first weekend.” Football professionals and even referees play the sports simulation “FIFA 20 “.

However, there is no shift of viewers from classic sports towards e-sports. According to Nielsen, even with sponsorship deals, a look at the approximately 300,000 transaction-wide database “Sponsorglobe” shows no increased activity, either with inflows or outflows. It could be different behind the scenes.

Sponsors get creative – and demand solutions

“Basically, with the lockdown, you can focus on what made the industry grow in the first place,” explains Carl Kuhn, who is responsible for e-sports at the JvM / Sports advertising agency. The industry is now adjusting to the situation accordingly well. “For e-sports, I can say that we are seeing more interest,” says Kuhn.

Many stakeholders considered how and where they could spend the sponsorship budget for activations. “It’s less about shifting budgets,” he continues. Rather, it is about considering which concrete measures can be taken in the current situation.

Because they want to remain visible to the public, even if the production circumstances change. “For some sponsors, the logo presence on the jersey is in the foreground,” says Anna Baumann, managing director of the “Rogue” e-sports team from Berlin. “Due to the changed production situation, we currently have hardly any cameras on our shirts, there is no livestream just for the players,” she explains. This is also due to the lack of bandwidth for transmission, that is: the bad Internet.

Baumann does not assume that deals will be canceled now, but delays in the specific fulfillment of the contracts are possible. Rogue itself recently launched a large advertising campaign with its new partner, the Korean automotive group Kia. “Successful”, as Baumann says, because of the corona virus, the only thing you can’t do now is turn further. Overall, it can be heard in all areas of the industry, companies have now shown themselves to be very open and understanding – and loyal.

Not everything can be done online. And there is a lack of audience revenue, which is a pillar, but not load-bearing: “Ticketing is not yet so important for sales in e-sports that it now leaves the economy with dangerous gaps for the players,” explains Kuhn. It was a blow anyway.

The German computer game industry association Game had recently expressed fears that the loss of viewer revenue would result in economic burdens for the organizers. In fact, the Swedish does the math Modern Times Group (MTG), now majority owner of the German ESL, with a decline in sales of up to 45 percent in the first half of 2020.

Event arena in the middle of Berlin opens

However, MTG would like to continue to switch the portfolio completely to e-sports. The traditional gaming division, which also includes the Hamburg game manufacturer Innogames, is to be sold to investors or to be listed on the stock exchange. All in all, the failures in live events are to be compensated for by ticketing as well as savings in the use of goods and fixed costs. MTG has high cash reserves; overall, the division has been in deficit for a long time with increasing sales.

The corona crisis was also a blow for a prestige project in the heart of Berlin. The “LVL World of Gaming” should open directly at Checkpoint Charlie at the end of March, a 2500 square meter event location around the subject of gaming, including an arena with 200 seats, cinema, café and exhibition space.

The “G2” team should also find a new home in the technically well-equipped building. With the LVL, you want to “move away from small cellars, bars or oversized arenas, towards community spaces in the heart of large metropolises that are effective for the public,” explains Dorian Gorr, managing director of the operator Veritas Entertainment.

Entrance area of ​​the LVL

The gaming location at Mauerpark is supposed to shape the standard for this new type of event center.

(Photo: LVL Berlin / Veritas Entertainment)

Berlin is a blueprint for other locations of this kind. Even before the lockdown, the decision was made to postpone the opening with due regard to the health of the guests, teams and employees. “At the moment we are all in the starting blocks and are waiting to finally open, but we are aware that it may take some time until then,” says Gorr.

As a company, you now have to react flexibly, the focus is on the digital production of content: “More than ever, there is currently a strong interest in e-sports content – and we have the opportunity to deliver this content.”

Here, too, partners and sponsors were understanding, and now there is a concrete discussion of what can be done without physically opening the LVL. The federal government’s comprehensive economic programs have not yet reached this point in the industry. “The ‘unlimited credit programs’ announced by Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier are unfortunately not applicable to us and all other start-ups, which have invested a lot of capital and have a resilient business plan in place,” states Gorr. “We currently have to wait for politicians to readjust it and in particular to design programs for start-ups, which are now a significant economic factor in Berlin.” Gorr expects this very soon.

More: First IPO in e-sports – Astralis goes public.

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Telekom, Vodafone and O2 fail to meet network specifications

Dusseldorf For years there has been a dispute over the quality of mobile communications in Germany. The federal government wanted to create the exemption in 2015. With the award of the mobile radio frequencies in 2015, it imposed targets for minimum coverage on the three network operators. Now the network agency is determining: No company has met the requirements.

The deadline had actually expired at the beginning of this year. The Federal Network Agency had taken the time to understand the results. Authorities chief Jochen Homann made a clear announcement to the public on Tuesday: “We want to see verifiable improvements over the next few months that will ensure that the requirements are fully met by the end of the year.”

On top of that. “This expressly includes the fact that we may impose fines and fines,” said Homann

The Federal Network Agency set goals in 2015. This includes that by the beginning of 2020, 98 percent of all households in Germany and 97 percent of households in each federal state must be supplied with a data speed of at least 50 megabits per second (Mbit / s) and antenna sector. In addition, motorways and rails should also be fully supplied.

Connection and data interruptions while driving on the main traffic routes should actually no longer exist in Germany today. But the reality is obviously different. The results at a glance:

Deutsche Telekom

Even the industry leader was unable to meet the requirements. According to the network agency, Deutsche Telekom “narrowly missed” the requirements in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The main traffic routes were also not completely supplied. The authority reported a value of 97 percent for motorways and 96 percent for railways.

At the end of 2019, there was still some catching up to do in the federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, Telekom admitted on request. A spokesman said the company is continuously expanding its network. “We have now also exceeded 97 percent in Saarland,” said the spokesman. In addition, Telekom had the best network in the mobile radio tests of the magazines “Chip” and “Connect” for the first quarter of 2020.

Telekom admitted that there was room for improvement in the motorways and railways. There is a plan to supply the routes completely. However, the approval of the necessary locations for cell towers is a challenge.

Telekom Germany boss Dirk Wössner complained: “We are already expanding beyond our commitments and could already have an even higher LTE coverage today if it were not so difficult to get new antenna locations and obtain permits in many places.”

Vodafone

The authority accused the network operator of not complying with the requirements in four federal states. These are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. In addition, the network agency found that only 96 percent of motorways and railways were only 95 percent supplied.

A spokesman for Vodafone said there was a “difference of opinion” between the company and the agency about the interpretation of the supply requirements. Since the beginning of the year, the network operator has “implemented” 2400 LTE construction projects. “We are therefore confident that we will also comply with the stricter interpretation of the Federal Network Agency,” said the spokesman.

Telefónica Germany

The network operator behind the O2 brand was by far the bottom of the review by the Federal Network Agency. In all 13 federal states, the supply requirements were not met. In addition, only about 80 percent of the main traffic routes are supplied.

Handelsblatt learned that the Federal Network Agency Telefónica has therefore set tight partial deadlines. In order to meet the requirements, 7600 mobile phone locations would still be necessary, it says in a letter to the advisory board of the Federal Network Agency. By the end of June, Telefónica is to build 40 percent of the locations. The share should increase to 65 percent by the end of September and all necessary locations should be established by the end of the year, the authority dictated to the company.

A Telefónica spokeswoman said: “We have presented a clear plan on how we will achieve the missing percentage points from the expansion requirement of 2015.” The company is convinced that it can fulfill the plan. “It is in our own interest to provide large parts of the population and area with mobile communications as quickly as possible,” said the spokeswoman.

The consequences

The Federal Network Agency requires network operators to report each month how many mobile phone locations they have put into operation. The authority wants to check this information on a random basis. Otherwise, the authority faces fines.

More: Actually wants 1 & 1 Drillishly become the fourth network operator in Germany. But the corona virus becomes a problem – and there is more.

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Attacks on masts: 5G would spread Corona






Mobile radio masts are lit. The perpetrators claim that the new 5G mobile technology would spread the Sars CoV2 coronavirus. This is what Telefónica says about the situation in Germany.

Mobile phone masts were set on fire in the UK. The perpetrators apparently see a connection between the new 5G mobile technology and the spread of the Coronavirus Sars CoV2 and the Covid 19 pandemic.

Like the BBC

reports
Unknown perpetrators set fire to cell towers in Birmingham, Liverpool and Melling in Merseyside. According to the BBC, a video was also shared on YouTube and Facebook that relates to the fire in Aigburth, a suburb of Liverpool. This suggests that the arsonists link cellular technology to the Covid 19 pandemic. The British government describes these allegations as “dangerous nonsense”. The British Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

emphasizes in a tweet,
that there would be no credible evidence at all of a 5G-Corona connection.

As always with a new type of threat, conspiracy theories are immediately circulating around Corona. The most common claim

reads
that 5G would support or accelerate the spread of Sars CoV2. First, according to the conspiracy theory, because 5G would weaken people’s immune systems. On the other hand, because viruses could communicate with each other via radio waves. However, the starting point for this theory is one

controversial investigation,
that bacteria (not viruses like Sars CoV2) cause electromagnetic radiation / radio waves

can generate
to communicate with each other.

This conspiracy theory can be easily disproved: According to this, infections with the corona virus would only occur in areas with 5G mobile radio networks. However, these 5G networks are currently very rare, while Corona also occurs in areas without 5G.

Especially at the transmission facility in Aigburth, it is also doubtful whether 5G technology is installed at all. The also attacked transmission tower in Birmingham

broadcasts, according to Reuters
only for 2G, 3G and 4G, but currently does not have 5G technology. In the UK, cell phone technicians have also been threatened because 5G would spread Corona.

Tutoring in physics: ”

iPhone & Co .: No danger from radiation

Vodafone Germany brings yet another variant of this conspiracy theory: “According to this conspiracy theory, the corona virus is an invention to cover up the health effects caused by the introduction of the 5G mobile radio standard in Wuhan.”

In other words, 5G was introduced, promptly causing people to get a fever, pneumonia and possibly die from it. So the rumor goes around that a new virus called Sars CoV2 is to blame …

Vodafone says: “The virus is not related to mobile communications in general, nor to the new 5G transmission standard. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Federal Office for Radiation Protection assume that cell phone radiation does not pose a health risk based on current knowledge and within the legal limits. At Vodafone the following applies: with regard to our radio systems as well as our end devices, safe operation to protect residents, our customers and our employees has top priority. We rely on the judgment of experts and transparent research and trust in the limit values ​​based on it for safe mobile communications. Because the decisive factor is not the mobile radio standard, but the frequency range and intensity. ”

Are there attacks on 5G cell towers in Germany that are related to conspiracy theories around the corona crisis? We asked the mobile phone companies. A spokesman for Telefónica Germany replied to us: “Fortunately, damage to mobile phone locations due to arson, for example, occurs very rarely, and the majority of these are acts of vandalism. We do not currently see any increase.”

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Boom through home office: tech companies are reaching their limits

Dusseldorf, San Francisco Since Anton Döschl has been working in the technology sector, he has experienced a number of special situations, such as the CeBIT at their weddings or the financial crisis in 2008. The past few weeks have been “probably the most intense” in his career, says the manager. He is responsible for the IT group Cisco Sales and advice on communication and collaboration solutions, including the Webex system. And that is in demand more than ever.

Because public life is severely restricted by the coronavirus epidemic, companies send their employees to their home offices and connect them with video conferences and virtual meetings. Authorities, medical practices and schools are also dealing with the technology. Many of them contact Döschl and his team. “The number of strokes has increased enormously.”

While work is breaking out in large parts of the economy, tech companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Zoom and Teamviewer, which offer systems for virtual collaboration, are experiencing a special boom. The situation is similar with network operators like that Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone or Telefónica. Worries about a bottleneck or failures make the round.

In a conversation with the Handelsblatt a few days ago, Telekom boss Timotheus Höttges gave the all-clear: “Our network runs completely smoothly without a single major failure.” Telekom had to upgrade in some places and the fixed network in particular was in demand again.

The head of Telekom, on the other hand, saw difficulties elsewhere: “There are some services, such as video conference providers, that are reaching their limits in terms of their capacities. Sometimes it’s the capacity of corporate networks. But it’s not because of the telecommunications networks. “

While the mobile and broadband networks have so far been able to withstand the rush, there are difficulties in their places. Technicians have to upgrade the data centers regularly, the sales representatives handle the mass of inquiries.

Sometimes the systems reach their limits. Even social media like Facebook and Twitter have been in demand for a long time. The corona crisis is a technical test – but when it pays off economically is open.

Video conferencing is becoming the norm

Webex is a platform through which users can chat, hold video conferences and edit documents, much like teams from Microsoft or Zoom from the US company of the same name. Many customers are currently working on the introduction of such solutions. “They are faced with the massive challenge of getting the employees into their home office,” says Döschl, who is currently having all the conversations himself from his home office.

If necessary, video conferences are also used in politics, education and healthcare. Chancellor Angela Merkel last reported from quarantine. A university in Rome switched the lectures to distance learning for 4800 students within 48 hours. Yoga and guitar teachers can also continue teaching. And even doctors and clinics are trying out the technology.

The data traffic is growing enormously. At the De-Cix Internet hub in Frankfurt, the volume increased by ten percent within a week, and the number of video conferences even doubled during this period.

The operating company emphasizes that the core network is designed for this – as soon as a certain threshold is reached, it increases capacity. However, there may be delays for individual users.

The rush is so big that even technology giants like Microsoft or Google Book failures. Of all things, the collaboration and communication service Microsoft Teams had to struggle with greater difficulties on the first day of the numerous school closings in Germany. Other providers of video and telephone conferences have had to admit technical problems time and again.

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Corona virus: Keep the pandemic at bay with big data

More and more companies are trying to make the changing mobility behavior of the population transparent with large amounts of data and statistics based thereon in the face of the Coronavirus crisis. The movement information on millions of mobile customers is intended to show whether the citizens maintain the reminded social distance and stay at home more often. The hope is that in the medium term the associated findings about the risk of infection could reveal an exit strategy from the lockdown.



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At the end of 2019, a new disease began to develop in China, the lung disease COVID-19 triggered by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Quarantine measures to contain the virus lead to production downtimes and increasingly serious consequences for the economy and everyday life.

In addition to network operators, Google launched Friday for the first time “Mobility reports” published for 131 countriesthat should be updated regularly. Just as you can see on Google Maps based on aggregated and anonymized location data, how popular and lively public institutions, squares, museums or restaurants are, the Alphabet subsidiary now provides comparable insights over time on different categories of locations in the recorded Nations.

Of the first report for Germany reveals that between mid-February and late March, Germans visited shopping and recreational facilities such as restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, museums, libraries, amusement parks and cinemas by up to 77 percent less than usual. However, the rates did not really decrease until after mid-March, when the facilities were all largely tight.

Supermarkets, drugstores and pharmacies in this country had growing customer numbers until mid-March, only then has the rush subsided somewhat, last weekend even with a minus of 51 percent compared to the average. In parks there is obviously a weather-dependent, strong up and down, the curve fell here on the comparatively cool last Sunday by the maximum 49 percent so far.

According to statistics, buses and trains lose passengers almost continuously. The largest drop reached March 29 is 68 percent. The big change to the home office starts in mid-March, trips to offices have since decreased by up to 39 percent. At the same time, the proportion of users who have set up more or less permanently in their own walls rose by a maximum of eleven percent. Google also breaks the numbers down to the individual federal states, according to which Berliners and Hamburgers in particular spend more time at home.

The company can determine the location of users of the Android mobile system based on GPS or WLAN data if those affected have released the location function. The movement information obtained in this way is generally more precise than that of network operators, who operate at the core with sometimes quite large radio cells. Google assures that To anonymize data using the “differential privacy” technique, so to cover up the personal reference as well as possible with additional artificial noise.

The Google measurement method can be tricked quite easily: The Berlin artist Simon Weckert recently packed 99 mobile phones equipped with Android in a handcart and pulled it through empty streets of the capital. The cell phones sent their position and movement data to Google Maps, so that the system reported traffic jams on the map service. The new mobility reports should therefore also be treated with some caution.

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