The French and Italian mobile markets could both be on the verge of significant consolidation, according to reports from news agency Reuters. In France incumbent telco Orange has set two investment banks to investigate the potential takeover of rival Bouygues, while talks have resumed between Hutchison and Vimpelcom, which own 3 Italia and Wind respectively, about a potential merger. In both instances Reuteurs cited unnamed sources close to the situation.
French multi-play operator Bouygues has announced plans to cut more than 1,500 jobs, after CEO Olivier Roussat told a press briefing that consolidation-focused discussions being held with incumbent Orange and fast-growing newcomer Iliad had stalled.
The Spanish telecoms market continues to be a hotbed of consolidation, as European private equity firm Cinven on Monday announced plans to acquire a fibre network running through Spain and Latin America, from Spanish natural gas utility, Gas Natural Fenosa, for €510m.
Vodafone Group is moving its global innovation centre from Silicon Valley to London, as it seeks to benefit from a wealth of technology skills and talent in the UK and Europe.
In the latest of a rash of VoLTE announcements, French carrier Bouygues Telecom said it would start carrying the first voice and video calls over LTE later this year with a view to commercial launch of the service in 2015.
Hutchison Whampoa’s 3 group has successfully integrated Google Play direct carrier billing into the network of its Austrian subsidiary, 3 Austria. The company has already rolled out the system in Sweden, Ireland and Hong Kong, allowing apps and other digital goods such as books, music, games as well as the music streaming service Music All Access to be paid for via the mobile bill.
UK mobile phone retailer and service provider Carphone Warehouse has agreed to merge with electronics giant Dixons, marking a push into the high street when many shops are closing down.
Amsterdam-headquartered operator Vimpelcom, which has operations in Russia, the CIS as well as Algeria, Bangladesh, Italy and Pakistan, has reported a 90 per cent year-on-year dive in net profit for the first quarter of 2014. Revenue was down ten per cent to $5.02bn, while profit for the quarter sat at $39m, down from $408m for the first quarter of 2013.
Telekom Austria Group and América Móvil on Friday unveiled a deal that proposes to create one of the world’s largest fibre networks, with a joint footprint with 200 Points of Presence (PoP) within 47 countries, through the interconnection of networks offering voice, roaming, data and mobile services.
Belgian operator Mobistar claims to have become the nation’s first to successfully test an LTE-A network, claiming mobile data throughput of over 200Mbps.
Spanish carrier Telefónica on Tuesday announced that it has made a €725m bid for 56 per cent of Distribuidora de Televisión Digital, a Spanish pay-TV provider that operates under the Digital Plus brand.
UK operator group Vodafone has extended its partnership with France’s SFR for a further four years. Vodafone will continue to use the French operator’s network to provide multinational enterprises with fixed and mobile services in France.
German operator group Deutsche Telekom has launched a mobile wallet service in its domestic market. The operator also plans to extend the offering to further markets; to Slovakia in mid-May and in Hungary later this year.
Czech mobile operators O2 and T-Mobile have agreed to share their LTE networks in a bid to accelerate coverage improvements in the market this year. The deal follows a similar agreement signed between the two operators relating to their 2G and 3G networks in November last year.
European operator group Tele2 has signed a national roaming agreement with Telenor Norway for 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity. The operator said in March that it was evaluating its strategic options in Norway after failing to win any spectrum in the country’s latest frequency auction.
European operator group TeliaSonera has continued ringing the changes, appointing Swisscom executive Henriette Wendt as its head of group corporate development. Wendt currently serves as Swisscom’s head of corporate strategy and participation management and will assume her new role in August.
Chipmaker Qualcomm’s Retail Solutions subsidiary will be spun off into an independent standalone company, following an agreement signed between the firm and a group of third party investors. The investors will gain a controlling interest in Qualcomm Retail Solutions, which will be renamed Gimbal, taking the name of the unit’s context aware proximity platform.
UK regulator Ofcom has outlined its approach for managing wireless spectrum over the next decade. The regulator’s Spectrum Management Strategy is part of the Government’s plan to double the amount of money it raises annually from spectrum services to £100bn by 2025.
Ericsson has announced Rima Qureshi, a 20-year veteran of the company, as its new chief strategy officer, following the resignation of Doug Gilstrap earlier in April. Gilstrap joined Ericsson in 2009.
Ireland’s incumbent operator Eircom said this week it has appointed Goldman Sachs International and Morgan Stanley & Co. International to explore strategic options including a potential international offering and listing (IPO).