Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TalkTalk buys Blinkbox; Belgacom homes in on the IoT; ZTE grabs some Dutch smart cities action.
Cheap as chips! London-based New Call Telecom has announced it is offering a ₤2 (US$3) per month unlimited broadband package that includes a "free" Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Chromecast dongle, allowing its customers with a decent WiFi connection to stream online content to their TV sets. The move underlines just how competitive the triple-play market has become in the UK. The company believes simplicity is the way to go, hooking customers in with a no-frills offering (to which frills may be added later).
Tesco, the UK-based retailing behemoth that has run into trouble after years of seemingly being able to do no wrong, has sold its Blinkbox streaming video service as well as its broadband and fixed-line voice business to triple-play provider TalkTalk . As part of the deal -- the financial details of which have not been discosed -- Adrian Letts, Blinkbox CEO and co-founder, will join TalkTalk as managing director for TV. The broadband/voice element of the deal will bring around 75,000 new broadband and 20,000 new voice customers into the TalkTalk fold.
Belgium's Proximus, the domestic market unit of incumbent operator Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG), has signed up to the LoRa Alliance, a new grouping that seeks to smooth the way for the development of the Internet of Things (IoT). Specifically, the Alliance is committed to interoperability between operators and the standardization of low-power wide area networks (LPWANs). Also announced at the CES geekfest in Las Vegas, Proximus has renewed its long-term partnership with Cisco, a love-in centering on video delivery, "smart city" services and service orchestration for business customers.
ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), through its ZTE Health unit, has signed a couple of agreements that will give it a piece of the "smart cities" action in the Netherlands. The agreements -- one with the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), and one with the Economic Development Board of Almere -- are intended to establish a cloud-based healthcare platform for residents of Almere (a city in the Flevoland province) and the Amsterdam metropolitan area.
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has appointed Mohamad Dergham the new head of its North Middle East region, reports Zawya. Dergham was previously Ericsson's country manager in Iraq.
More appointment news: The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has a new chairman, in the shape of Steven Tas, who has headed Belgacom's regulatory department since 2008. He succeeds Luigi Gambardella, who served as chairman for the past four years.
Cypriot provider PrimeTel has issued a profit warning, saying that anticipated increased losses for the 2014 financial year are due to the costs associated with the development of its mobile and TV services.
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