Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Carphone Warehouse/Dixons merger wins EC approval; Swisscom picks PlumGrid; an Ofcom rocket up BT's bottom.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has got the nod from the European Commission for its proposed takeover of Spanish cable operator ONO , according to a Reuters report, citing "three people familiar with the matter." The two companies announced the €7.2 billion (US$10 billion) deal -- which will add 1.9 million customers and around 2,500 employees to Vodafone's operation in Spain -- in March. (See ONO Says Yes to Vodafone and Euronews: Rivals Set for Cable Asset Battle.)
And this one's official: The ₤3.8 billion ($6.4 billion) merger of independent mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW) and consumer electricals retailer Dixons has been unconditionally approved by the European Commission, reports Reuters. The combined group will have a turnover of around ₤12 billion ($20.4 billion), 2,900 stores, and 45,000 employees.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is planning to migrate the majority of its IT applications and services to the cloud over the next few years, and to that end it is deploying network virtualization technology from SDN startup PlumGrid Inc. to underpin its use of OpenStack as the key component of its cloud services orchestration system. (See Swisscom Embraces OpenStack With PlumGrid.)
European Union citizens may get the right to sue the US if they feel their telecom-related personal data has been misused, according to a Reuters report. The Obama administration is to urge the US Congress to enact legislation that would give European citizens the same "right to judicial redress" on data privacy matters as US citizens, said US Attorney General Eric Holder. (See Prism in a Big Data World.)
Kuwait's Zain Group has claimed what it says is a first for the country following the completion of a successful high-definition voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) call on its commercial LTE network, using technology from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). The Finnish vendor's contribution included its IMS (IP multimedia subsystem), subscriber data management, and Open TAS (Telecommunications Application Server). On Wednesday Zain's Saudi business announced a major network upgrade that will bring contracts worth 4.5 billion Saudi Riyals ($1.2 billion) in total to Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Huawei, and NEC. (See Zain, Nokia Boast Live 4G HD Call and Eurobites: Zain KSA Unveils $1.2B Upgrade.)
New rules from UK regulator Ofcom that basically compel BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s Openreach unit to pull its finger out when it comes to repairing and installing lines come into force on July 1. Around 70% of fault repairs will need to be completed within one to two working days of being notified, rising to around 80% by 2016. Good luck with that, Openreach!
UK companies are the European leaders when it comes to developing apps for smartphones and tablets, generating ₤4 billion ($6.8 billion) in revenues this year, according to a report in The Guardian, citing research commissioned by Google.
UK mobile joint venture EE has introduced 4G services in another 14 British towns, ranging from Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland to Newton Abbot in Devon. The operator claims its 4G network now covers 73% of the UK population.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading