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Eurobites: BT to Enter Quad-Play Fray?

Paul Rainford

Also on today's EMEA news smorgasbord: Openreach offers nationwide 100G; Telecom Italia sells HQ; startup banks on super-slow broadband.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is planning to launch quad-play bundles that incorporate mobile services, initially to businesses but ultimately to households as well, according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). The operator, says the report, plans to launch the business bundles by the end of the year, with the residential offer to follow later. BT surprised many by acquiring 4G spectrum in 2013, and it has also recently replaced Vodafone UK with EE as its MVNO partner. (BT already provides mobile services to large enterprises and public sector organizations.) Responding by email to the report, a BT spokesperson said: "BT and EE have signed a contract which will see EE provide various mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) services to BT's customers and employees based in the UK. We will announce more detail on the products we will offer to customers later in the year." (See Euronews: BT's Back in Wireless.)

  • Away from the speculation, BT's Openreach access unit is definitely launching a UK-wide 100G service for communications service providers. The service, available this month, will be powered by Ciena Corp. (NYSE: CIEN)'s 6500 Packet-Optical Platform.

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has acquired eyeOS, a Barcelona-based cloud services startup, in a move that represents a firming up of the relationship between the pair that began in 2010. The plan is that eyeOS's technology will enable Telefónica to offer an open-source desktop virtualization service. (See Telefónica Acquires eyeOS .)

  • Telia Company 's Danish operation, Telia, is looking to bolster its enterprise offer by acquiring Síminn Danmark, a Danish systems integrator. Síminn Denmark's revenues reached 83.4 million Danish kroner ($US15.4 million) in 2013. (See TeliaSonera Acquires Síminn Danmark.)

  • Debt-laden Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) is following in the footsteps of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) by selling its Milan headquarters and becoming a tenant of the building. The six-storey building, in the center of the city, was sold to Fondo Inarcassa RE for €75 million ($103 million), reports Bloomberg. (See Euronews: Nokia Considers Espoo HQ Sale.)

  • A startup UK broadband provider is bucking the trend towards the "super-fast" by offering guaranteed super-slow speeds to families who worry that their children are spending too much time on the Internet. Avrilun, based in Chipping Sodbury, plans to offer two tiers of service, SnailsPace (offering a guaranteed less than 2 Mbit/s) and SnailsPaceUltra (offering less than 1 Mbit/s). Avrilun CEO Frederic Titmuss says; "Our vision is to offer a service that will make those kids really work for their Internet. It will be more about trudging than surfing, and we reckon that after 15 minutes or so they will have had enough. It's a turnkey end-to-end solution, but not in a good way."

  • Finnish operator DNA Oy has signed a deal with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) for an upgrade of its 4G, 3G, and 2G networks. Ericsson is deploying its multi-standard RBS 6000 family of basestations and network management smarts. DNA's hope is that its LTE network will cover 80% of Finland's population by the end of 2014.

  • French operator Bouygues Telecom has extended the time deadline on its €13.15 billion ($18.13 billion) offer for Vivendi 's SFR . Vivendi will now have until April 25 to decide whether Bouygues' bid is better than the one currently favored, from Altice (which owns cable operator Numericable-SFR ).

  • Following what it says was a successful trial, Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG) is to offer its cloud-based storage service to all its fixed-broadband customers. Subscribers will receive 10GB of storage space free of charge and pay €2.95 per month for 30GB or €9.95 per month for 200GB. They will also be able to access files in their cloud service via Belgacom TV.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    User Rank: Blogger
    4/2/2014 | 10:51:34 AM
    BT 100G
    Wonder if new competition from the like of Zayo in the U.K. had something to do with the timing of BT's launch.
    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/1/2014 | 11:24:27 AM
    Re: Crop circles
    Good one, Paul! You almost had me there, mainly because it sounds like my childhood experience with dial-up Internet. Made me nostaligic. 
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/1/2014 | 9:04:47 AM
    Re: Crop circles
    It's all true. And the staff only drink Fair Trade herbal/fruit tea. Poor sods.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    4/1/2014 | 8:37:45 AM
    Crop circles
    Is it true that Avrilun's server farm in Chipping Sodbury is 100% organic, completely powered by wind and solar energy sources, and carries the Prince Charles Royal Seal of Approval (an actual living, breathing seal, that is)? If so, a multibillion-dollar offer from Facebook can't be far away.
    Jon B Transmode
    Jon B Transmode,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    4/1/2014 | 7:36:27 AM
    Super Slow.....
    Interesting news there Paul ;-)
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