As comedy London mayor Boris Johnson enjoys a dig at Mitt Romney's Olympic doubts on the eve of the opening ceremony, there is much speculation about how the mobile networks will cope with the data frenzy that will surround the various Olympic venues. One analyst, Ben Wood of research firm CCS Insight , tells Bloomberg that there will be "huge problems with cellular communications during the Olympics," despite the fact that BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has installed around 3,000 Wi-Fi hotspots to help ease the data strain on the 3G networks. One insider compares the excitement and subsequent data traffic generated by the Games to having "four royal weddings per day for 17 consecutive days." And that, in a very real sense, doesn't bear thinking about.
At an analyst conference call on Thursday, Telefónica Chairman Cesar Alierta revealed that the company plans to launch the IPO of its German unit in the fourth quarter of this year. Less-than-stellar half-year results this week prompted the Spanish giant to cancel all shareholder dividends and share buybacks for 2012. (See Euronews: Telefónica Cancels Dividends and Telefónica Plans Regional IPOs.)
Europe's largest independent retailer of mobile phones, Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW), revealed that first-quarter sales across its European stores held up better than many expected, reports Reuters, falling 2 percent year-on-year. The pre-paid market has been particularly challenging, due largely to a lack of competitively priced smartphones in this sector, said the company.
The Guardianreports that U.K. broadband provider TalkTalk has launched its new pay-TV service, which is based around a YouView set-top box. The box is "free" to those willing to commit to TalkTalk's oft-complained-about broadband service for the stipulated number of months. (See Ofcom Counts the Complaints (Again).)