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Euronews: EC Network Rental Plans Hit Altnets

European Commission proposals, Nokia Networks and the Cable & Wireless gang come under scrutiny in today's trawl of the EMEA headlines.

  • A new set of European Commission recommendations relating to the cost of access to legacy copper networks could spell bad news for many smaller European operators, reports Reuters. Initially the Commission had planned to cut the cost of network rental, but had a change of heart after protests from some of the major operators. It is now recommending an access charge of between €8 (US$10.4) and €10 ($13) per customer per month, which will effectively mean higher charges in ten European countries for operators wanting to rent network space. (See How Europe Can Hit Its Next-Gen Broadband Targets.)

  • Nokia Siemens Networks is to sell its optical networks business to Marlin Equity Partners in a deal which will see up to 1,900 employees transferred to a new, dedicated optical unit to be set up by the Los Angeles-based private investment firm. NSN says it is quitting optical networks so that it can better concentrate on the mobile broadband market. (See NSN to Sell Optical Business, NSN Sells Optical Biz to Marlin Equity, Who's Going to Buy NSN?, Restructuring Costs Hit NSN's Q2, NSN CEO: We've Got Our Mojo Back and NSN to Cut 17,000 Staff.)

  • U.K.-based Cable & Wireless Communications has agreed to sell its Monaco & Islands division to Bahrain Telecommunications Co. (Batelco) for US$680 million. The deal encompasses operations in Monaco, the Maldives, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Seychelles, the South Atlantic and Diego Garcia. (See C&WC Sells Islands Business.)

  • Meanwhile, the other Cable & Wireless company, Cable & Wireless Worldwide plc (London: CW), is being more closely integrated with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) following the creation of a new Vodafone Group Enterprise unit, to be run by Nick Jeffery, who is currently CEO of C&WW. Vodafone acquired C&WW in July 2012. (See M&A Realities, Euronews: Vodafone Gets the Nod on C&WW and Vodafone Appoints C&WW Execs.)

  • Today sees the opening of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) 's World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai, with the desire of some UN member states to see the introduction of a charging mechanism for Internet traffic sure to spark some lively exchanges. The whole shebang lasts 13 -- count 'em! -- days. (See Is Internet Freedom in Danger?)

  • V3D , the French startup that specializes in customer experience and service quality management software for the mobile industry, has raised €2.2 million in a fundraising round with Iris Capital and Siparex. The money will fund international expansion. (See V3D Raises €2.2M.)

  • It's musical chairs in the Middle East, reports Reuters, as Kuwait's Zain Group appoints Scott Gegenheimer as group CEO, just six months after he resigned as CEO of rival operator Wataniya Telecom .

  • Twenty years ago this very day, British engineer Neil Papworth sent the first ever SMS, wishing a colleague "Merry Christmas,'' reports The Guardian. This, of course, revolutionized the way most of us communicate on a day-to-day basis, and, latterly, opened up a whole new seam of textspeak-related humor. LOL!

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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