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Euronews: EE, 3 UK Share 4G Future

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Network sharing in France; regulators' rumble; mobile commerce moves.

  • UK mobile operators EE and 3 have agreed a network-sharing deal which they hope will speed their respective rollouts of 4G mobile broadband services. According to a Financial Times report (subscription required), the pair have agreed to build the next phase of their 4G networks in tandem, with a combined investment of around £1 billion on the cards. EE stated: "The new framework increases cost efficiencies as we continue our roll out of 4G to cover more than 90% of the UK population by the end of the year. This is part of our £1.5 billion, three-year investment to significantly differentiate the EE network in terms of the people we connect and the experience they receive." 3 has shared networks in the past with T-Mobile (UK) , which is now one half of EE. (See Q&A: EE Evolves Its 4G LTE Strategy.)

  • And on the subject of network-sharing, French operators SFR and Bouygues Telecom have confirmed their plan to pool resources, reports Reuters, striking a deal to cover 57% of France's population with a shared network. A joint entity is being created to manage the infrastructure, but each company will remain independent of each other. Parent company Vivendi is keen to get shut of SFR, a spinoff now looks set for June. (See Free Disrupts French Mobile Market.)

  • National regulators, it seems, are not seeing eye to eye with the European Commission on cable matters. Hard on the heels of last week's news that the Commission was insisting that it, and not the German regulator, would oversee the proposed deal between Telefónica Deutschland GmbH and E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG , comes a Reuters report revealing that the Dutch regulator, ACM, wants to be given the chance to review Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s proposed takeover of Ziggo B.V. . "It is fair to assume that we will send the Commission a request that we want the case," an ACM spokesman said. (See Euronews: Rivals Set for Cable Asset Battle.)

  • Monitise plc , a UK-based mobile commerce specialist, has bought Turkey's Pozitron for £24 million (US$39.2 million). Pozitron provides mobile banking services mainly to businesses in Turkey and the Middle East and elsewhere. (See Monitise Buys Pozitron.)

  • Veliq B.V. , the Dutch purveyor of enterprise mobility services, has appointed new executive vice president, Edgar Jager. Formerly at SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP), Jager replaces Steve Crummey, who has been promoted to chair of the board of directors.

  • Liberty Global has completed the sale of its video content subsidiary, Chellomedia, to AMC Networks for €750 million ($1 billion).

  • Nokia Networks is giving notice that it is set to announce various advances in LTE TDD, LTE-Advanced, small cells, customer experience management, and its so-called Liquid Applications in the run-up to Mobile World Congress later this month. Among other small leaps for mankind, NSN says its portfolio enhancements will boost the capacity of heterogenous networks by 30%, enable re-farming in less spectrum, and double uplink capacity for "mass events." (See NSN Preps Portfolio Update at MWC and NSN: Understanding Liquid Applications.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has stuck a deal with GLH, owner of the Thistle hotel chain in the UK, to provide free "one click" WiFi to the hotel group's various UK properties. Hotel guests now consider free WiFi as important as a good night's sleep, according to a report by BDRC Continental. At Euronews Towers, it's the quality of the scrambled eggs at breakfast that concerns us most....

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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