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Euronews: Telefónica Eyes €5B Prize

As the boffins in Cern celebrate the discovery of the Higgs boson "God particle," Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) give Euronews some mass this Thursday.

  • Telefónica's Digital division has unveiled a slew of developments and partnerships aimed at driving the unit's revenues towards €5 billion (US$6.2 billion) by 2015. The partnerships include "direct to bill" relationships with major online names such as Google and Facebook , whereby Telefónica's customers can pay for goods and services using their mobile accounts. (See Telefónica Digital Unveils Developments, Telefónica Bangs Its Digital Drum and Telefonica Holds Key to Digital Model.)

  • Speaking of which … Russian giant VimpelCom has struck a deal with Google that will allow the mobile operator's customers to purchase Google Play content using their prepaid credit or monthly bill. (See Vimpelcom, Google in Charging Pact.)

  • The French government is planning to meet up with representatives from the telecom sector and its associated unions, reports Reuters, in the wake of announcements of imminent cost-cutting measures from both Bouygues Telecom and SFR prompted by the effect of Free Mobile 's low-cost arrival on the country's mobile scene. (See Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene .)

  • U.K. regulator Ofcom is proposing a range of controls of the prices that BT charges for its leased lines. The recommended price caps are linked to inflation, as measured by the U.K.'s Retail Price Index (RPI), and will apply to both BT's legacy leased lines using what Ofcom calls TI (traditional interface) technology and newer Ethernet lines.

  • The frankly dull merry-go-round of telecom patent battles has lurched into action again, with High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) notching up a victory against Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) in the U.K. courts, reports The Guardian. This particular scrap centered on whether HTC's "slide to unlock" feature infringed an Apple patent. Do you ever feel that vendors' energies are being misdirected?

  • Vodacom Pty. Ltd. , South Africa's number one mobile operator, is having a change of CEO, replacing Pieter Uys with Shameel Joosub. Joosub is currently CEO of Vodafone España S.A. , though he has previously been managing director at Vodacom.

  • The controversy surrounding the spate of suicides among Orange (NYSE: FTE) staff in 2008 and 2009 has resurfaced, reports the BBC, with the former head of the company, Didier Lombard, being placed under formal investigation for "harassment." Under the French legal system, this investigation is the final stage before actual charges are brought to bear. (See FT's CEO Under Pressure, France Telecom Under Fire and Photos: Protest & Unrest in France.)

  • Today London sees the official opening of The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe (for the time being at least). It's a big pointy glass thing close to London Bridge -- you can't miss it. Oh, and the telecom angle? Cable firm Prysmian SpA has supplied 350 km of its fire-resistant wares (albeit for power rather than data distribution) to the project. Now we need to just find our Higgs boson story…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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