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Eurobites: Iliad Could Team Up for T-Mob Pursuit

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Deutsche Telekom's flat Q2; Vodafone, O2 share UK network; Ericsson wins in Russia.

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s low-ball bid for a majority stake in T-Mobile US Inc. is looking stronger following Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s decision to withdraw its merger offer. And it could gain even more heft as the French competitive operator is also believed to be lining up potential bid partners in the form of US cable and satellite service providers such as Cox Communications Inc. , Charter Communications Inc. and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH), according to Reuters. Dish, in particular, has shown strong interest in wireless assets in the past. (See Sprint Drops Bid for T-Mobile – Reports , T-Mobile Rejects Initial Iliad Bid – WSJ, Eurobites: Iliad Needs to Up Its T-Mobile Bid , Dish Cedes to Sprint's Clearwire Bid and Dish Throws in the Towel on Sprint Buy.)

  • As part of the next-generation infrastructure that will support its new One Phone integrated fixed/mobile service, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is deploying virtualized session border controllers (SBCs) from Metaswitch Networks . The vendor developed its software-based SBC in 2012, and positions it as a "component in the march towards network functions virtualization (NFV) and in helping to transition operators into being true software telcos." (See BT Uses Metaswitch's Virtual SBC, BT Embraces Small Cells for Mobile Push and Metaswitch Goes Virtual With Its SBC.)

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s interesting week continues with the release of its second-quarter figures, which show revenue down 0.3% year-on-year to €15.1 billion (US$20.2 billion) but EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) up 0.3% to €4.4 billion ($5.8 billion). In its release statement, DT highlights the performance of its up-for-sale American arm, T-Mobile US Inc. , pointing out that it passed the 50 million customer mark for the first time this year.

  • Openet Telecom Ltd. says it has virtualized its real-time charging system, adding to its existing portfolio of virtualized service provider IT (SPIT) capabilities (policy and mediation systems, secure API gateway, and Fusionworks platform). The Irish vendor claims that the deployment of its cloud-hosted capabilities can make service providers more agile and flexible when developing and delivering new services, and enable "operators to generate faster ROI for their network technology investments."

  • Cornerstone, the network infrastructure joint venture of UK mobile operators Vodafone UK and Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), has signed a ten-year site-sharing deal with infrastructure group Arqiva as part of the operators' 4G LTE rollouts. The two operators are playing catch-up with EE , which got a head start on its rivals in the UK 4G market. Arqiva owns 16,700 sites across the UK. See this press release for more. (See Vodafone, Telefónica Merge UK Networks.)

  • Both Vodafone and O2 are busy in other ways too. Vodafone has announced it has made its first successful voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) call at its research laboratory in Newbury, UK. Meanwhile, O2 has launched a 4G tariff aimed specifically at the public and voluntary sectors, offering what sounds like a good deal: For £10 ($17) a month, subscribers get either a 4G-enabled Nokia Lumia 635 or Samsung Galaxy; unlimited calls and texts; up to 5GB of data; and flexibility on the number of connections included under the contract. (See Vodafone UK Tests VoLTE.)

  • Russian mobile operator MegaFon has signed a seven-year partnership agreement with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), reports Reuters. Ericsson will supply gear for Megafon's 2G, 3G and 4G networks. All well and good, but will Western Europe's network equipment vendors ultimately be hit by the raft of trade embargos that Russia is beginning to introduce in the face of EU sanctions over its policy in Ukraine?

  • Denmark's TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) posted second-quarter EBITDA down from 2.4 billion Danish kroner ($430 million) a year ago to DKK2.35 billion ($421 million), which was in line with analysts' expectations, according to Reuters.

  • Türk Telekom International has joined the partner program of RTX, the carrier exchange platform. The program is intended to enable carriers to enter into mutually beneficial IP capacity exchange agreements within a financially secure environment.

  • UK joint mobile venture EE says its latest research has revealed that adoption of its 4G services has given 13% of its customers an hour's extra leisure time a day as a result of being more productive. The operator now has 4.2 million 4G customers, and expects to have 6 million by the end of the year. And 3% of EE's LTE customers have cancelled their fixed-line broadband account since signing up to 4G -- a sign of things to come?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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