Tech Digest daily round up: O2 to reintroduce EU roaming charges


One of the UK’s biggest mobile phone networks has announced roaming charges for Britons travelling to the EU, in a blow to Boris Johnson’s Brexit celebrations. Customers of O2 have been told they will be billed £3.50 for every gigabyte (GB) of data used above a new limit of 25GB, from August. The move comes after the Christmas Eve trade agreement signed by the UK left open the option of the return of roaming charges – which were scrapped across the EU in 2017. In an embarrassment to the prime minister, it was announced on the fifth anniversary of the Brexit ‘yes’ vote, as he hailed the result as a spur to improving people’s lives. Independent

A new high-tech 5G lab designed to make the UK less reliant on a small number of multinational suppliers has launched, as the Government attempts to fill the void left by Huawei. The Sonic Labs facility, based in London and Brighton, will aim to accelerate the development of 5G communication kit that is interoperable with components made by others to prevent over-reliance on one firm. It comes after the Government ordered operators in the UK to strip their networks of Huawei-made 5G equipment by 2027 over security concerns, following US sanctions restricting Huawei’s ability to build chips. With only a handful of suppliers in the market, the Government’s 5G diversification strategy pushes for the adoption of Open RAN, a network architecture that allows operators to use parts from multiple vendors that are able to work together. Yahoo!

Microsoft has become only the second US company to be worth more than $2 trillion (£1.4bn), beating Amazon into an ultra-exclusive club previously only occupied by Apple. The Seattle-based computing behemoth soared just above the mark on Tuesday on the back of strong expectations for its booming cloud computing business. Microsoft is set to be a key beneficiary of the Covid-induced changes that continue to ripple through the global economy, with chief executives planning for prolonged remote and hybrid work. Even as many employees return to the office, chief executive Satya Nadella appears to be betting on permanently elevated demand for its Office 365 and Teams software suites and Azure cloud computing service. Telegraph

Artificial intelligence is to be used to tackle the most deadly parasitic diseases in the developing world, tech company DeepMind has announced. The London-based Alphabet-owned lab will work with the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDI) to treat Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis. Scientists spend years in laboratories mapping protein structures. But last year, DeepMind’s AlphaFold program was able to achieve the same accuracy in a matter of days. BBC 

John McAfee, the outlandish security software pioneer who tried to live life as a hedonistic outsider while running from a host of legal troubles, was found dead in his jail cell near Barcelona on Wednesday. His death came just hours after a Spanish court announced that it had approved his extradition to the United States to face tax charges punishable by decades in prison, authorities said. McAfee, who was among other things a cryptocurrency promoter, tax opponent, U.S. presidential candidate and fugitive, who publicly embraced drugs, guns and sex, had a history of legal woes spanning from Tennessee to Central America to the Caribbean. In 2012, he was sought for questioning in connection with the murder of his neighbor in Belize, but was never charged with a crime. AP News

Chris Price
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