Euronews: Big Five to Face Anti-Trust Probe?

Euro giants Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Orange (NYSE: FTE), Telecom Italia (TIM) , Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) loom large in today's trot through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • The fine line between cooperation and collusion among five of Europe's biggest operators is to come under scrutiny from European Commission competition officials, according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). The so-called "E5" group, comprising Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefónica and Vodafone, met several times over the last couple of years, ostensibly to discuss issues facing the industry. Brussels officials have now demanded detailed information about these discussions, which is being interpreted by some as a prelude to a full-scale investigation. (See Euronews: Kroes Plan Is Krazy, Say Telcos and Euronews: Steely Neelie's Copper Clampdown.)

  • EE , the joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile (UK) , might get to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) services this year, if a request it has put in to regulator Ofcom to offer LTE services over the 1800MHz spectrum it already holds proves successful. Ofcom has said "yes" in principle, but first the idea has to go out for the inevitable period of consultation. Cue complaints from rival U.K. mobile operators... (See Ofcom Considers UK LTE Short Cut and Britain's Bloomin' LTE .)

  • Just to underline how tough things are for telcos in southern Europe right now, Reuters reports that Telefónica lost 36,270 mobile customers in January as zippier and cheaper rivals such as Telia Company 's Yoigo take advantage of Spaniards' search for value. (See Euronews: Layoff Costs Tear Into Telefonica's Q3 , Telefonica Holds Key to Digital Model and Telefonica Restructures, Creates New Units.)

  • U.K.-based Vodafone is teaming up with medical device company Boston Scientific to develop mobile health-monitoring systems that will use machine-to-machine (M2M) technology to provide doctors with real-time information about patients' cardiac health and certain vital signs remotely. (See Vodafone Teams Up for Health Apps and M2M Cranks Up a Notch.)
  • Verimatrix Inc. , BeeSmart Ltd. and INC Emirates Technology have joined forces to bring IPTV to Kuwait's FASTtelco. The combined offering has been deployed as part of FASTtelco's new IP network, which uses Apple's HTTP Live Streaming as the streaming format for its over-the-top (OTT) video services. (See Kuwait Gets IPTV.)

  • Sweden's Net Insight AB (Stockholm: NETI-B) has landed an order to deliver its Nimbra platform to Swisscom Broadcast for a new content transport network that will hook up to all premier league ice hockey and soccer arenas in Switzerland. (See Swisscom Transports Video With Net Insight.)

  • "I'll have ten please, and a packet of custard creams…" Tesco, the U.K.'s biggest retailer, got more than a few online shoppers over-excited when it inadvertently advertized the latest iPad on its website for the bargain -- but sadly completely wrong -- price of £49 (US$76), reports the BBC. Spoilsports that they are, the Tesco powers-that-be are refusing to honor the knockdown price. (Some website smallprint gets them off the hook, apparently.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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