Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Mobistar wants to get its hands on cable networks; Subex wins in North Africa, Middle East; Telefónica looks to cut Czech unit jobs.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is getting down to serious talks with SoftBank Corp. over the potential merger of the German giant's T-Mobile US Inc. unit with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), reports Bloomberg. T-Mobile US has a market value of around US$26 billion, and Deutsche Telekom is hoping for an all-cash offer. According to Reuters, Deutsche Telekom last week transferred ownership of its 67% stake in T-Mobile US from a German holding company to a Dutch holding company, further fuelling speculation that it is actively seeking to sell the business. Reports surfaced in December that SoftBank was preparing to put in a $19 billion bid for T-Mobile US. (See Report: SoftBank Preps $19B Bid for T-Mobile.)
Belgian mobile operator Mobistar SA wants to move into fixed-line services, and to this end it has paid €600,000 ($813,000) each to cable operators Telenet and Brutélé-Tecteo as a contribution to the costs associated with the opening up of cable networks for wholesale access. In Mobistar's eyes, this gives Telenet and Brutélé-Tecteo six months to open up their networks. If they refuse to play ball, Mobistar is banking on Belgium's regulator to step in and do the necessary knuckle-rapping. See this Mobistar press release for more details.
Telefónica Czech Republic A.S. is planning to lay off around a tenth of its workforce this year as part of a major restructuring operation, reports Reuters. The operator saw net profits fall by nearly a quarter year-on-year to $66.6 million in its third-quarter financials.
A clutch of bigwigs from the European broadcast and telecom industries have formed an advisory group to lobby the European Commission on matters relating to the future use of UHF spectrum for TV and mobile broadband. New Europe reports that the group will be led by Pascal Lamy, the former WTO director general.
Re: Is ambition enough to pull this off? T-Mobile explained away the stock transfer as part of normal business procedings, but I still think it's looking more likely that this is going to happen...or at least be attempted. The FCC will be the biggest hurtle, but as a consumer, I like it. Uncarrier + Sprint's eventual network (+ unlimited?) would be a powerful combo.
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