Also in today's regional roundup: BT enters the 4G fray with enterprise service offering; Etisalat unit mulls IPO; Arris gets some action in Poland.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has been in talks with Irish national operator eircom about a potential acquisition, according to a report in Ireland's Sunday Business Post (subscription only). Referencing the report, the Irish Times notes that AT&T officials are considering the acquisition as a "low-tax route into Europe." AT&T has long been linked to potential acquisitions in Europe, though with bigger targets such as Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) in mind. Eircom, which has about 2 million retail customers and annual revenues of around €1.3 billion (US$1.74 billion), has been struggling in recent years, but has been cutting costs aggressively, restructuring its debts, and investing in its broadband infrastructure. The operator, which is owned by a consortium of lenders, announced in May that it is "exploring a number of strategic options": An IPO was believed to be one of those options, but now a trade sale looks like an alternative option, with a price tag in the region of about €3 billion ($4 billion) likely. (See Euronews: AT&T Nixes Vodafone Bid Plan , Eurobites: Eircom Joins Vectoring Club and Eircom Reports Fiscal Q2 .)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has entered the LTE market with the launch of 4G services, plus unlimited WiFi access to the operator's national network of 5 million 802.11 access points, for all new BT Business Mobile customers. The service is offered over the national network of BT's new MVNO partner EE . Existing BT Business Mobile customers will be offered the 4G service if they re-sign. The UK operator recently launched its One Phone service, an integrated fixed-mobile offering that marked its first major push into the UK mobile services market in more than a decade. BT is expected to announce its plans for a consumer 4G service later this year. (See BT Embraces Small Cells for Mobile Push and Euronews: BT Signs 4G MVNO Deal.)
Still with the UK mobile sector… Regulator Ofcom has revised its planned changes to the annual 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum license fees applied to the UK's mobile operators, but the changes still aren't to the operators' liking. While Ofcom has scaled back its planned increases, the operators still face a massive hike compared with the 2G and 3G spectrum fees currently paid. The regulator is now seeking further feedback from the industry in the form of a new "consultation." For more details, see this announcement from Ofcom.
Polish cable operator Multimedia Polska is to deploy the E6000 Converged Edge Router (CER) from Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) as part of a network upgrade that will boost its "channel density and readiness for deploying converged services." Arris regards its E6000 as "the industry's leading CCAP [Converged Cable Access Platform] solution." (See Arris Rides Capex Wave Again.)
Re: Interesting angle.... The timing also is interesting in that European Commission will soon have a chief who has suggested treating consolidation in Europe with a light touch, so maybe the first of many deals for AT&T if that regime plays out.
Re: the R&D talent, there could be something to that as well, and if AT&T becomes committed to a stronger presence in Europe, Ireland could be a good place to establish one of its Foundry innovation centers.
Re: Interesting angle.... Re: affinity between Ireland and the US being strong, if this deal somehow results in the ability to download a Guinness from St. James Gate via 100G submarine cable, fiber and DSL, directly to my desktop whenever I please, then I heartily approve of this deal.
Interesting angle.... I'm sure there are plenty of accounting reasons to buy ion Ireland but it would also be an interesting cultural move too... that affinity between Ireland and the US is strong, right?
Plus there are plenty of very smart telecom people in uireland if AT&T was to open up a new R&D/innovation lab in Europe...
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
Nominum CEO Gary Messiana talks about the challenges service providers face in competing for a much more sophisticated customer, a customer that has heightened expectations for more personalized and compelling digital experiences. Providers are focusing their efforts on delivering higher value subscriber services, retaining their existing customers and increasing ...
Equinix CTO Ihab Tarazi talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the dramatic changes in the data center, cloud and interconnect markets and discusses the impact of SDN and NFV in the coming years.
Andrew Coward discusses what the New IP means to end users or enterprise customers. He explains compelling reasons, including how every customer can get their own network, from the transformation to the New IP.
Mukund Srigopal provides an explanation of what network visibility is and how it is essential as service providers transition to the New IP. In addition, the importance of the network packet broker is discussed.
Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers with the agility to embrace new technologies quickly and the ability to deliver on substantial projects for global network operators.