Eurobites: AlcaLu's Combes Heading to Altice – Report

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ofcom gets tough on broadband speeds; German spectrum bids pass €3 billion; takeover trouble in Slovenia.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) CEO Michel Combes, who is widely credited with turning around the fortunes of the vendor, is to leave the firm and join Altice , the French group that has been on an acquisition spree in recent months, reports Reuters, citing Challenges magazine. AlcaLu maintains that Combes planned to step down anyway as part of the French vendor's imminent acquisition by Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). (See AlcaLu's Combes: 'We Are Now Back on Track', Nokia Makes €15.6B Bid for Alcatel-Lucent, Altice Eyes Next US Cable Prizes What's It All About, Altice? and Altice to Buy Suddenlink in $9.1B Deal.)

  • Broadband providers in the UK are going to have to be more careful about what they promise potential customers in terms of download speeds following the introduction of a new Code of Practice by regulator Ofcom . Under the terms of the revised code, customers will be able to bail out of a broadband contract without penalty if speeds fall below what are deemed acceptable levels. Laudable enough, but surely it's going to be difficult to pinpoint where the fault lies that's causing slower-than-advertised speeds: Is it the ISP's dodgy technology or the customer's dodgy internal wiring? (See 'Up To' No Good.)

  • And that's not the only thing that's on Ofcom's plate right now: It's also continuing to investigate the matter of the minimum margin that BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) must maintain between its wholesale and retail superfast broadband prices. Ofcom has decided that the inclusion of UEFA Champions League soccer on the BT Sport TV channel from August 2015 constitutes a "material change of circumstances" affecting the consideration of the margin and, in the light of that, it "would be appropriate to consult on supplementary guidance." So that's exactly what it's doing.

  • Bids in the German mobile spectrum auction have now passed the €3 billion mark (US$3.4 billion), Reuters reports. The big three operators -- Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Vodafone Germany and Telefónica Deutschland GmbH -- are all competing for a share of the 700MHz airwaves to support mobile broadband services in the future, though licenses in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands are also up for grabs. (See German Spectrum Auction Bidding Hits $2.2B and 700MHz: Coming soon to Germany.)

  • The acquisition of state-owned Telekom Slovenije by UK investment fund Cinven Ltd. has hit a bump in the road, reports Reuters, with the deal left uncompleted as the state firm SDH refused to accept an (unspecified) amendment to Cinven's bid.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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