Euronews: Vodafone Courts UK Startups

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT), Spirent Communications plc , Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) and MTN Group Ltd. proffer something for the weekend in today's romp through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • Vodafone is to open an incubator facility in London's "Tech City" to nurture, and possibly even invest in, mobile Internet and creative media startups. The mobile operator is already doing this in Silicon Valley with its Xone incubator. Rival mobile giant Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) is also incubating, and investing in, tech startups. (See Vodafone Plans London Incubation Center , Vodafone Reaches Out to Silicon Valley and Telefónica to Hatch Startups .)

  • Revenues at mobile satellite services (MSS) specialist Inmarsat remained flat during the first half of the year at US$684.2 million, but only because of the debacle at bankrupt 4G partner LightSquared. The company's core MSS revenues increased compared with the first six months of 2011, but its "other income" dipped by 33 percent to $74.3 million due to "lower revenue from LightSquared," the satellite company noted. Inmarsat's profit before tax fell 12.5 percent to $223 million for the first half of 2012. (See LightSquared Pays Inmarsat, Amends Agreement, LightSquared Gets Lifeline 'Til Sept. 2013 and LightSquared Files for Chapter 11 .)

  • Test equipment and Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) vendor Spirent delivered decent financials for the first half of 2012 -- revenues and operating profit up slightly to $262.1 million and $56.6 million respectively -- but the company's share price took a 14 percent hit Thursday after the company noted that full year sales will increase by only a few percent, lower than previously expected. The share price ended the day at 144.7 pence on the London Stock Exchange. (See Spirent Ups H1 Profit by 3%.)

  • The ongoing legal dispute between Turkish mobile operator Turkcell and South African giant MTN has been ratcheted up a notch with the claim by Turkcell that the case will not get a fair hearing in the South African courts, as MTN, it claims, has such strong links with the ruling ANC party, reports Reuters. Turkcell sued MTN over alleged irregularities with the South African operator's winning of a mobile license in Iran. (See Turkcell Sues MTN.)

  • T-Venture , the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), is investing an additional $9 million in LevelUp, the company behind the Interchange Zero mobile payment network, which does away with payment processing fees for the participating retailers. Google Ventures is among the other investors in LevelUp. (See Making Money on Mobile Money.)

  • The U.K. government's procurement process for rural broadband projects is slipping behind schedule, according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). The U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport , the government body responsible for the project, has blamed the delay on protracted negotiations with the European Commission regarding state aid to subsidize the program. (See Great Britain? I Don't Think So and Broadband Britain: The Wait Goes On.)

  • A survey by CommProve has found that around a third of U.K. mobile users don't expect to be able to connect to data services such as Facebook and Twitter at this summer's major events -- not a great vote of confidence in the nation's 3G network.

  • U.K. mobile operator Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) has launched its Pocket Hotspot, a "Mi-Fi" device that can connect up to five devices simultaneously, on a contract-free basis.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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