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Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent's Shares Rise on Nokia Bid Rumor

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Ericsson trials LTE Broadcast; Etisalat sells West African operations to Maroc Telecom; Virgin goes quad-play; Iraq gets 3G.

  • One of telecom's classic "boomerang" rumors (it keeps coming back) has returned once more, reports Reuters, with renewed talk of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) eyeing up Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) as a potential acquisition target. The speculation, no doubt fuelled by the cash pile Nokia now has following the sale of its handset division, sent AlcaLu's share price up by nearly 4% Tuesday morning on the Paris exchange to €2.97. (See Nokia Ushers In New Era, Retires NSN Name.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has partnered with KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) for the first ever LTE Broadcast trial in the Netherlands, which took place at the Amsterdam Arena soccer stadium on May 3. The idea behind LTE Broadcast -- also known as evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) -- is that it uses single-frequency network technology (such as DVB-T) to distribute the signal to an unlimited number of recipients, thereby putting no additional load on the network and enabling smartphone users in device-dense locations to watch TV channels in high quality. In other Ericsson news, the vendor has appointed Robert Puskaric as head of Business Unit Modems (succeeding Mats Norin), and launched what it claims is North Africa's first LTE and VoLTE network, for Algérie Télécom . (See Ericsson Appoints Head of Business Unit Modems.)

  • Etisalat has agreed to sell Atlantique Telecom, the UAE operator's wholly owned West African subsidiary, to Maroc Telecom for $650 million, reports Reuters. The sale, however, is dependent on Etisalat completing on its agreed acquisition of Vivendi 's 53% stake in Maroc Telecom. (See Etisalat to Buy Vivendi's 53% Stake in Maroc Telecom.)

  • Cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has launched what it claims is the UK's first "true" quad-play bundle. Initially available only to existing Virgin Media customers, the "Big Kahuna" bundle offers 125Mbit/s broadband, TiVo-powered TV, a home phone service, and a mobile SIM card (with 250MB of data and unlimited texts and minutes) for £50 a month. Virgin claims that this could save families "over £300 a year" on comparable services from rival Sky plus a next-best-value SIM from any mobile operator.

  • After years of faffing about, the powers-that-be in Iraq have finally granted its three mobile operators the right to provide 3G services, reports Reuters. It's not yet clear, however, when Zain Iraq, Asiacell Telecommunications Co. Ltd. , and Korek Telecom Ltd. will actually receive the requisite spectrum.

  • Tesco, the UK retailing giant, is to launch its first own-brand smartphone by the end of the year, reports the BBC. It is thought the phone will be a high-end affair, similar to Samsung Corp. 's Galaxy S5 and running on Android. Of course, some people (including investors) might say Tesco should be focusing on its core business of stocking and selling affordable and relevant foodstuffs for the masses, a market where it is currently feeling competitive pressure.

  • Danish operator TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) posted first-quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) down slightly year-on-year to 2.48 billion Danish crowns ($463 million), though this was above analaysts' expectations, reports Reuters.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Mitch Wagner 5/8/2014 | 4:18:16 PM
    Re: The "it" factor I'm thinking of opening a restaurant called Sullen Inelegant Foods. 
    SachinEE 5/8/2014 | 4:44:03 AM
    Re: The "it" factor I think it will be a good Idea if this so called "tru" quad-play bundle from Virgin Media Inc will be available to families across UK. What is being promised in this rumor is very wonderful and this is the time when one can wish that it was true. I think it is like a dream, you only need to wake up and move on.
    DOShea 5/7/2014 | 12:20:38 PM
    Nokia and ALU I really thought that rumor has gone to bed with both companies focused on getting their own health back. Also, I've been reading that Nokia is bent on spending some of its cash pile on smaller innovators, which suggests different priorities.
    mendyk 5/7/2014 | 9:10:55 AM
    Re: The "it" factor Insert audible sigh here. Cue the eye roll.
    PaulERainford 5/7/2014 | 4:14:14 AM
    Re: The "it" factor Don't go there - it's trying too hard.
    Sarah Thomas 5/6/2014 | 4:04:07 PM
    Re: The "it" factor A place just opened up by me today called "Jolly Posh Foods." Sounds like it came from your neck of the woods...
    PaulERainford 5/6/2014 | 12:31:41 PM
    Re: The "it" factor Yeah, it's mid-range. If you want posh you go to Waitrose.
    Mitch Wagner 5/6/2014 | 11:34:08 AM
    Things that make sense

    Makes sense to test LTE Broadcast at a soccer match. In the US, people like to watch video replays of sporting events, and apparently the same is true in Europe. 

    AlcaLu as an acquisition target also makes  sense. Things seem to be starting to look up for the company after a long period of struggle. 

    Mitch Wagner 5/6/2014 | 11:33:41 AM
    Re: The "it" factor Is Tesco considered a luxury brand in the UK? On our visits, it's always appeared to me to be a midrange supermarket. Perhaps I have posh tastes. 
    PaulERainford 5/6/2014 | 10:08:01 AM
    Re: The "it" factor I'm still waiting for the Aldi phone. One day it will appear in the store, right next to the unfamiliar-sounding German biscuits.
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