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2014: The year ahead

Vendors and operators in the telecoms industry are sharing their thoughts and predictions about what 2014 may hold

With 2013 coming to a close, vendors and operators in the telecoms industry are sharing their thoughts and predictions about what 2014 may hold. We look at some of the forecasts being made.

Austrian spectrum auction comes under fire

Did Ciena win Nortel’s optical unit?

Industry consultants have attacked the recent Austrian LTE spectrum auction process, claiming that the outcome took too much money out of the market and threatens competition in the Austrian mobile sector. The fact that incumbent Telekom Austria was able to acquire half of all the spectrum made available could be particularly detrimental.

Telenor moves for Tele2′s Swedish broadband and TV operation

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Norwegian operator Telenor is moving to consolidate its position in the Swedish broadband and television services sector with the acquisition of Tele2 Sweden’s fiber and cable business for SEK775m ($121.4m). Tele2 has some 370,000 households connected with fiber and cable, including 125,000 fixed broadband customers, 75,000 digital TV customers and 220,000 cable TV customers.

European Commission outlines single telecoms market package

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The European Commission has outlined its plan for a single EU telecoms market. The package calls for the abolition of roaming rates within the EU, spectrum assignment to be coordinated across the continent, consumer rights to be harmonised across Europe, EU-wide protection of net neutrality and simpler rules across the EU to enable companies invest more and cross borders with their offerings.

TeliaSonera backs Megafon’s Yota acquisition

Russian firm Vimpelcom saw its revenue grow four per cent year on year to reach $23.1bn while net income was $2.1bn; a four-fold increase on the 2011 figure

Russian operator Megafon has announced that it is to acquire domestic competitor Scartel, which operates an LTE network under the Yota brand, for $1.18bn. TeliaSonera, which holds 25.2 per cent of Scartel described the deal as “strategically attractive and value enhancing” for Megafon. Scartel is currently owned by Garsdale, a holding company of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who also controls more than 50 per cent of Megafon.

M&A – The Local Way

Bengt Nordström, CEO of Northstream

Bengt Nordstrom, CEO at consultancy firm Northstream, discusses how operator groups looking to create scale and synergies by acquiring assets across markets is extremely challenging. Local acquisitions will serve them much more effectively.

Telefónica to pay €5bn for KPN’s E-Plus in Germany

The deal would create the largest mobile operator in Germany, with more than 40m subscribers

Dutch incumbent KPN has confirmed that it is to sell its German mobile operation, E-Plus, to Spain’s Telefónica, which operates as O2 in the German market. Telefónica will pay €5bn in cash to KPN, which will also hold a 17.6 per cent stake in Telefónica Deutschland once the deal, subject to regulatory approval, has been completed.

Ofcom approves 2G and 3G spectrum refarming

Ofcom has granted permission to the UK’s mobile operators to use their existing 2G and 3G radio spectrum for 4G services

The UK’s mobile operators have been granted permission to redeploy their existing 2G and 3G radio spectrum for 4G services.

Lay your bets – Prediction #3

Bengt Nordstrom, founder of industry consultancy NorthStream, shares a series of predictions for the mobile industry in 2013. In this third instalment he says that LTE rollouts will result in operators requiring less small cells than had previously been the case, ending the “small cell debate”.

UK speeds up availability of 800MHz spectrum for LTE auction

Millimetre wave is becoming a strong backhaul option

The spectrum that will be allocated to the UK’s operators to roll out LTE services will be made usable earlier than planned, following peace talks between the UK government, the nation’s operators and the telecommunications regulator Ofcom.

Vodafone, O2 could launch LTE in 900MHz band

The UK is finally set to see LTE services launched in the coming weeks

UK regulator Ofcom has said that there is nothing stopping EE’s rivals, such as Vodafone and O2, from putting in an application to alter their 900MHz spectrum licence for LTE usage. A ruling in early 2011 meant that all operators are now free to use their 2G spectrum for 3G services, so extension of that same ruling to encompass 4G would be a small amend.

Operators angered by Apple mistreatment

Nordström claims Apple's attitude has angered operators

Mobile operators across the world are angered by the way Apple treats them, and are hoping Nokia can help curb the firm’s stronghold in the smartphone space. The claim comes from Northstream, a management consultancy firm that works with carriers worldwide. CEO Bengt Nordström explained that in the firm’s discussions with operators, Apple’s attitude towards them is often cited as a point of discontent.

The great white space hope

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There’s usually no shortage of opinion in this industry, so I’ve been surprised by the reticence I’ve encountered trying to find out what the big operators think about Neul, the UK startup that reckons a new wireless data standard it’s developed for operation in the TV broadcast white space spectrum should—and will—be adopted for M2M services worldwide.

Keeping Over The Top under control

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Bengt Nordstrom, chief executive of consultancy firm Northstream talks to telecoms.com about Over The Top (OTT) services. OTT looms large on the operator agenda and Nordstrom believes 2011 will be a “breakthrough year” for the model. But how can operators ensure a slice of the revenues?

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