Euronews: Jan. 20

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications , Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), BT Wholesale , Orange (NYSE: FTE), and the U.K. government are up and at 'em in today's Euro telecom news roundup.

  • A mixed bag for mobile handset vendor Sony Ericsson, which reported its fourth consecutive quarter of profits and a much improved average selling price (ASP) for 2010, but sold far fewer devices throughout the year and especially during the fourth quarter (compared with a year earlier). Bloomberg has more on the company's fiscal health. (See Sony Ericsson Reports Q4 .)

  • Alcatel-Lucent Italia has appointed a new chairman and CEO in the shape of Gianluca Baini, who was previously account director for the Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) account at AlcaLu. His empire stretches from Italy to Mauritania, taking in Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria along the way. Should help with the Air Miles. (See AlcaLu Appoints Italy CEO.)
  • U.K. regulator Ofcom is proposing significant reductions in the prices that BT Wholesale can charge ISPs for local loop unbundling in the parts of the country where BT is the sole provider of broadband -- which, not surpisingly tend to be the rural parts. Price reductions of between 10.75 percent and 14.75 percent below inflation have been mooted. Good news for forward-thinking sheep farmers, then, as long as they're not also BT shareholders. (See Ofcom Proposes BT Wholesale Price Cuts, Euronews: Dec. 22 and Ofcom Wants BT to Open Up Fiber Network.)

  • France Telecom and the Vivendi -owned pay-TV company Canal+ have announced a joint venture that merges their separate movie channels into a single new one, Orange ciné star, which will be distributed through the Orange and CANALSAT networks and will be available to any operator. The move can be seen as part of FT's drive to develop more content. (See Orange Teams With Canal+ on Movies, Orange Signs Online News Deal, Orange Teams for Digital Music Service, FT Unveils New Action Plan and Orange, BesTV Team Up.)

  • U.K. government minister Jeremy Hunt has hinted that he may consider the regulation of multimedia content delivered to British homes over the public Internet. He also appears to be obsessed with the development of local TV stations. Emigration looks ever more appealing for us Brits... (See Schwinging Britain.)

  • Demand for telecom and IT workers is set to rocket in the U.K. over the next ten years, according to Contractor UK, citing a government Sector Skills Council report. Opportunities in this sector are predicted to grow by 2.19 percent a year, compared with 0.45 percent a year for the general workforce. The report adds that the worker in demand is increasingly likely to be "male and old." Tell it like it is, why don't you?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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