Light Reading

Euronews: China Warns EU Over Protectionism

Paul Rainford

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) make it a right royal roundup of EMEA telecom headlines.

  • The Chinese Commerce Minister, Chen Deming, made what sounds very much like a veiled threat to the European Commission over the Commission's plan to take legal action related to alleged state aid for, and price "dumping" tactics deployed by, Huawei and ZTE, reports China Daily. Pointing out the European telecom firms have been doing good business in China for many years, Chen said that it was in everyone's interests for the current "win-win situation" not to be disturbed. The Commission believes the two Chinese vendors have been receiving illegal state subsidies, allowing them to undercut European rivals. (See Euronews: EC Sharpens Knives Over Huawei, ZTE.)

  • Nokia has refuted a claim from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) that it has colluded with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) over patents, reports Reuters. Earlier, on Bloomberg, Google had said that it had filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission over Nokia and Microsoft's actions, with the focus on last year's transfer of around 2,000 patents by the two companies to Canadian firm Mosaid Technologies Inc. , which Google termed a "patent troll." (See OS Watch: Google Alleges Microsoft-Nokia Pact and Making Sense of the Handset Patent Plays.)

  • Italian broadband provider Fastweb SpA (Milan: FWB) is to close down its pioneering IPTV service by the end of the year, after failing to attract enough customers to make the service pay. Fastweb has instead signed a deal with Sky Italia to bundle Sky (NYSE, London: SKY)'s satellite television service with its broadband offer.

  • ST-Ericsson has had a bit of a reshuffle: Mats Norin has been appointed executive vice president and chief technology officer, while Dan Redin, who was head of modem and common IP development, will return to Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). All R&D activities of the company become the responsibility of Ronen Ben-Hamou, and Marc Cetto heads up a new division called Smart Platform Solutions.

  • NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) has acquired 85 percent of Gyron, a U.K. data center service provider. Gyron currently operates a data center near London and has plans to build two more. Its client list boasts big names such as Adobe, Symantec and Spotify.

  • Nokia Networks has created an investment vehicle called Verso Ventures that will invest in independent companies formed from the vendor's non-core activities that it's trying to offload. (See NSN Creates Spinoff Investment Fund.)

  • The Nigerian unit of UAE's Etisalat has pledged to invest another $1 billion on its infrastructure over the next two years, Gulf News reports. Etisalat Nigeria and several other operators were fined earlier this month by the country's regulator for poor service quality.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has sold its French apps development unit to Osiatis, an IT services company. The business was worth €1.84 million ($2.27 million) as at 31 March 2012.

  • In other BT news, the U.K. giant has encountered an unexpected obstacle in its London fiber rollout: The wealthy residents of Kensington & Chelsea, probably the city's poshest borough, have decided that the new street cabinets associated with the project are just too big and too ugly, and they don't want them, reports the BBC. A BT spokesman said, rather snootily perhaps, "We will… re-focus our engineers' efforts in other areas where planning authorities have taken a positive approach and are keen to ensure their residents and businesses can benefit from this technology." In other words, they don't wanna go to Chelsea.

  • We mainly hear about how Long Term Evolution (LTE) is pushing on in Scandinavia, but Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) is trumpeting the fact that by the end of this year, 90 percent of Norwegians will have 3G coverage. Around 3,000 new 3G stations will be built as part of the upgrade.

    Euronews is taking a couple of days' holiday in honor of the British Queen, Elizabeth II, having spent 60 years on the throne. (Why do they make those thrones so damn comfortable?) Power through accident of birth -- it's the way forward! See you all on Wednesday June 6.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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