Also: Liberty Cleared For Ziggo M&A; EC deregulates fixed line telephony; Hyperoptic to fiber up more UK cities; Ericsson wins managed services deal.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) are to form a joint venture to develop technology and applications for the connected car market, and become a "leading telematics service provider" in China, where the joint venture will be based. For the venture, which is due to start operations early in 2015, China Mobile will provide the use of its 4G LTE network plus "various channel resources and strong integration capabilities of industry value chain," while Deutsche Telekom bring "telematics expertise, the Connected Car platform technology and customer insights." The partners believe there will be 68 million connected cars in China by 2018. (See China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom to Form Connected Cars JV .)
Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) has received regulatory clearance from the European Commission for its takeover of Ziggo B.V. and can now proceed with the acquisition, which was first announced in January. "We are pleased that the European Commission has approved our pending acquisition of Ziggo, which will benefit consumers and businesses across the Netherlands given our commitment to investment and innovation in the Dutch market," stated Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries in the cable operator giant's official announcement. "We are excited to create a national cable champion, and look forward to restarting our share buyback program very soon." (See Liberty Global to Buy Ziggo for €10B.)
The European Commission has deregulated the retail fixed-line telephony and wholesale fixed call origination sectors, a move that will "cut red tape without harming competition," noted outgoing commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, whose term of office ends this month. The EC notes that these markets have been liberated because "there has been a decrease in volume of fixed calls as customers have turned to alternative solutions, such as voice-over-IP (VoIP) and mobile calls, but also to alternative providers, like over-the-top (OTT) players. Also, those customers who still use fixed telephony are now able to purchase fixed access from a number of different platforms, such as traditional telephone network, fibre or cable networks, and also from alternative operators offering broadband and voice services over unbundled local loops, so competition has been increased." For more, see this EC announcement. (See Telecom Sector 'Its Own Worst Enemy' – Kroes.)
UK alternative fiber broadband operator Hyperoptic , which is backed by George Soros, is planning to build its own infrastructure in four additional UK cities, namely Newcastle, Sheffield, Birmingham and Nottingham. The FTTH upstart is already operational in London, Cardiff and Bristol, and has started rollout in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Reading. For more details, see this press release. Hyperoptic isn't the only company challenging BT and Virgin Media in the fixed broadband infrastructure market: CityFibre is also making its presence felt in cities such as York and Aberdeen, and has struck a partnership with TalkTalk and Sky to develop competitive FTTH services. (See Hyperoptic Lands £50M Investment, TalkTalk's Small Fiber Beginnings, Eurobites: Scotland Gets a Gigabit City and Eurobites: BT's Rivals Go Ultrafast in York.)
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has won a multi-year managed services deal with Orange Botswana, reports IT News Africa.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading