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