Euronews: Jan. 26

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Telefónica UK Ltd. , KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) are the big cheeses on today's difficult-to-maneuver trolley of Euro telecom news nibbles.

  • U.K. mobile operator O2 has chosen Ericsson to carry out a 3G network modernization program in the north of the country. The Swedish giant will deploy multi-standard base stations and be the sole supplier of the core network infrastructure. (See O2 UK Picks Ericsson.)

  • In a separate move, O2 is also hoping to get one over on BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and its Openzone service by launching a nationwide Wi-Fi platform that, says the company, will offer free Wi-Fi access to all, regardless of which operator they are signed up with. (BT Openzone is bundled free to BT fixed broadband customers while other users have to pay access fees.) All hotspots used in the O2 Wifi program will be public hotspots, rather than residential connections. (See Telefónica O2 Revamps Public Wi-Fi .)

  • Dutch incumbent KPN reports a 4 percent year-on-year increase in its EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization) in its full-year results, to €1.36 billion ($1.86 billion). The domestic market made a particularly strong contribution to the positive picture, said CEO Ad Scheepbouwer. (See KPN Reports Q4, Full-Year.)

  • As the great and the good gather in the Swiss ski resort of Davos today for the World Economic Forum gabfest, Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) reports that it has employed the magic of HSPA+ to raise mobile data downlink speeds there to 42 Mbit/s. So the inappropriately dressed world leaders will be able to keep tabs on just how bad things are getting at home while they swan about on the slopes. (See Swisscom Boosts HSPA for Davos.)

  • Deutsche Telekom is collaborating with Tengelmann Energie on a smart-metering pilot project that will monitor power consumption in 50 stores run by KiK, a German clothing retailer. The data gathered will be transmitted to Tengelmann's central database and to KiK, the aim being to give an accurate picture of power consumption in the stores every 15 minutes.

  • U.K. cable company Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), which was one of the few broadband providers to come out with any credit following the Ofcom survey of British ISPs, is continuing to roll out its 100Mbit/s service, adding around 150,000 new households to the list of those that could sign up for the service. Towns and villages in Wales, Hertfordshire and Merseyside are the latest recipients. (See Virgin Media Expands 100-Meg Reach and ISPs Shamed by UK Broadband Speed Tests.)

  • We may wonder what they do to fill their days, but it seems not a lot of them are "Tweeting." Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), those much ridiculed riders of the European Commission gravy train, suffer from a "fear factor" when it comes to Twitter, according to EU Observer, citing a report by lobby firm Fleishman Hillard. However, when not busy laying down quality standards for bananas, they are mad for Facebook .

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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