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Eurobites: Orange Takes On Netflix

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: AlcaLu gets speedy on copper; Bosnian operator targets Austria; South African jobs strife.

  • French incumbent operator Orange (NYSE: FTE) is planning to launch a new video service called Orangecast in an effort to counter the imminent launch of Netflix in France, according to this report from L'Express (in French). The service will be delivered via a dongle that plugs into a TV's HDMI port, like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Chromecast streaming stick. Netflix announced in May that France is one of a number of European countries on its launch schedule for the second half of this year. (See Eurobites: Netflix Spreads Its Wings and Chromecast's App Revolution.)

  • Bell Labs , Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s research arm, is claiming a new broadband speed record of 10 Gbit/s over copper, using its prototype XG-FAST technology, a "souped-up" version of G.fast technology which the vendor says can also be used to deliver 1Gbit/s symmetrical ultra-broadband services. The G.fast standard is currently being ratified by the ITU, and is due to become commercially available in 2015. (See Alcatel-Lucent Claims Copper Speed Record.)

  • Bosnian operator m:tel is making a move into Austria, targeting former Yugoslav diaspora via an MVNO arrangement, reports Reuters. The number of mobile operators in Austria was reduced from four to three at the start of 2013, when Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY)'s Drei subsidiary bought Orange Austria.

  • Swedish triple-play challenger Alltele has chosen Tilgin AB 's home gateways for its forthcoming rollout. Tilgin's products are used by more than 100 operators in more than 30 countries.

  • A labor union representing workers at Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) is planning to take the South African operator to court for what it says is Telkom's failure to consult with it properly over threatened job cuts. Reuters reports that even though Telkom said it planned to cut up to 2,650 jobs, the South Africa Communications Union believe that the eventual redundancies figure could be as high as 9,000.

  • UK telcos continue to get into trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority: BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), TalkTalk , and Three UK have all had their wrists slapped this week and told to withdraw ads that have been deemed to have contravened the Authority's regulatory code. For details of the offenses in question, click here.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Light Sabre
    7/9/2014 | 4:47:08 PM
    Netflix has such a huge lead....
    Netflix has existed in the US.. and no one in Europe bothered to try to replicate its success... and NOW they're trying to..? Netflix has such a huge lead in terms of content deal-making and brand recognition and the ability to data-mine what users like to watch. It will be difficult to really try to copy it. If Comcast and other ISPs in the US aren't trying to copy Netflix, there's probably a good reason for that. (Well, or that Comcast et al have a vastly different business model from Netflix - but that would presumably apply to other ISPs as well.)
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    7/9/2014 | 9:14:13 AM
    Re: Pardon my dongle
    Second-rate content isn't going to carry the day, even if ANYTHING that comes out of that dongle would be better than the prime-time offers from the big French networks. There's a reason people spend entire evenings in restaurants and cafes there. OK, maybe there's more than one reason, but an utter lack of network programming has to be one of them.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    7/9/2014 | 9:07:37 AM
    Re: Pardon my dongle
    Not a lot of detail just yet but it seems to be a mix of movies on demand (from Orange Cinema Series), TV series from various parts of the world, as well as music streaming from the likes of Deezer. But the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. As they say in France.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    7/9/2014 | 8:49:30 AM
    Pardon my dongle
    Is Orange saying what kind of content it will have to send over to its video dongles? Cos really, the content part is what's important.
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