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Business Transformation

Eurobites: BT Mobile M&A Plot Thickens

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson in line for ZTE's Ethiopian business; SFR goes large on big data; Google in partial Russian pull-out.

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) Chairman Cesar Alierta looks like he might be spending a chilly weekend in London, following his arrival on Thursday in the UK capital for discussions with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) about the possible sale of Telefonica's O2 UK unit to the British incumbent. And, according to a Reuters report, rival mobile operator EE has also indicated that it might be able to offer BT a more attractive deal. BT, which bailed out of mobile in 2001, has seen the future, and it lies in quad-play: According to industry sources cited by Reuters, an announcement from BT is imminent. (See Eurobites: BT in Talks to Buy O2 and Why BT + EE Makes More Sense.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) looks set to pinch a significant piece of an $800 million contract in Ethiopia from ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), following a dispute over fees between the Chinese vendor and state-owned Ethio Telecom, reports Reuters. Officials had reportedly expected ZTE and others to carry out an upgrade of an existing network at no extra charge, but ZTE had other ideas.

  • SFR , the French operator that is now owned by Numericable-SFR , has turned to California's Cloudera Inc. for its big data needs. SFR is using Cloudera's Hadoop-powered enterprise data hub in tandem with its data warehouse offering.

  • Bell Labs has announced the three winners of the first Bell Labs Prize, a scheme that is intended to reward proposals that "change the game" in communications technology. Among the winners was a project from a Spanish/Swedish team entitled "Unleash the Wireless Power of Your Device: Blended Antenna HUBs for Your Unconstrained Mobile Cloud Experience." For the full details, see this press release.

  • Polish operator Netia Holdings SA is planning to reduce its headcount by nearly a quarter in 2015 as part of a program of measures intended to cut costs by 50 million zlotys ($15 million), reports Reuters.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is set to pull certain, engineering-oriented operations out of Russia following the government's introduction of new rules mandating that more of the data generated within Russia needs to be stored inside the country's boundaries, reports Bloomberg. According to the report, Google has made similar adjustments to its operations in several other countries, notably the Nordics.

  • Uber's legal team isn't getting much time for Christmas shopping. The latest potential obstacle to the taxi-hailing app's bid for world domination could come from France, reports Bloomberg, where it faces a legal challenge today to block its UberPop service. Uber's other services won't be affected by the decision.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • kq4ym 12/15/2014 | 9:57:19 AM
    Uber Google Uber and Google seems to have similar problems in dealing with other country's customs and regulations. Add a fast growing technology and unusual uses that step on local business and that's where they both are at. How they and other innovative companies will be able to smooth ruffled feathers abroad will be interesting to see.
    [email protected] 12/12/2014 | 10:53:17 AM
    BT's decision may ultimately go beyond UK mobile Although I believe, for the UK market, EE would be the better target for BT, I wonder if Telefonica might win the say by using this as a stepping stone to a broader set of patrnership opportunities eg on cloud and global connectivity services?
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