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Euronews: Jan. 24

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), China Unicom Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) are keepin' it real in today's roundup of Euro telecom news nibbles.

  • Telefónica and China Unicom are building on the foundations of a strategic alliance laid in 2009 with an agreement to invest an additional US$500 million in each other's equity and work together on technology and service development. With the new investments, the Spanish carrier will increase its stake in its Chinese pal to 9.7 percent, while China Unicom will have a 1.37 percent stake in Telefónica and gain a seat on its board. (See Telefónica, China Unicom Fortify Alliance, Telefonica, China Unicom Deepen Ties and China Unicom, Telefónica Strengthen Ties.)

  • Another of Telefónica's deals is coming under scrutiny, though. Following the Spanish giant's acquisition of Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT)'s stake in Brazilian mobile operator Vivo last year, the European Commission has "opened a formal investigation to ascertain whether the Spanish and Portuguese telecoms incumbents... have breached [European Union] rules by agreeing not to compete with each other in their respective home markets." (See EC Probes Telefonica, PT Deal and Viva La Vivo Deal.)

  • Orange France is about to acquire as much as half of Dailymotion , the unfortunately named video-sharing platform, reports Bloomberg. France Telecom's CEO, Stéphane Richard, is fed up with the likes of YouTube Inc. using his network pipes for free, and this move could be seen as a manifestation of that video-related disgruntlement. (See FT Unveils New Action Plan.)

  • On a less upbeat note for France Telecom, Telekomunikacja Polska SA , the FT-owned Polish operator, says that it intends to let at least 270 employees go during 2011, according to Reuters. It added that it may also outsource work currently carried out by 2,500 of its own employees. Telekomunikacja Polska employs around 25,000 people. (See TPSA to Contest Court Ruling.)

  • On the EMEA end of the Euronews beat, Reuters reports that the regulatory body in the UAE has announced that number portability will be offered for the first time by the end of March, with a view to increasing competition between the country's two state-linked mobile operators, Etisalat and Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) . The body has also ruled out the issuing of a third mobile license. (See The UAE's Fiber-Filled Future.)

  • The Daily Telegraph reports that UK wholesaler Gamma Telecom Ltd. has switched wholesale mobile supplier from Three UK to Vodafone UK following complaints from Gamma's customers about the quality of the coverage they were receiving.

  • It used to be Pigs in Space; now it’s the admittedly less cute Phones in Space. A crack team of boffins at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. in Guildford, U.K. is planning to launch a small satellite controlled solely by the processing power of an Android smart phone, reports the BBC. They might have to put in near the window to get a decent signal, though…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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