Eurobites: Swisscom Trials DSL-LTE Bonding

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EU tax probe into technology giants reaffirmed; turbulence ahead for 3/O2 deal; bomb scare at Apple facilities in Ireland.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is to launch a residential trial of so-called "bonding" technology, which combines DSL and LTE for faster broadband speeds, with a view to a market launch in the future. The operator has already carried out trials of bonding in the laboratory and with Swisscom employees. Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has introduced bonding in its domestic market, and is thought to have plans to export its hybrid router soon, while Vodafone Greece has also piloted its own hybrid service. (See DT Preps Fast Hybrid Routers Beyond Germany.)

  • Margrethe Vestager, the takes-no-prisoners European Commissioner for Competition, has let it be known that she and her department will be pressing ahead with their investigation into the tax arrangements of various US technology behemoths operating in Europe, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) among them. She told Bloomberg that "very few businesses actually need" special tax treatment, and that businesses should "compete on the merits with the business next door," which is paying its fair share of tax. Apple has struck a pain-free tax deal with Ireland, while Amazon has done something similar in Luxembourg. (See Eurobites: EC to Charge Apple With Illegal Tax Deals in Ireland.)

  • In a similar vein, the Daily Telegraph reports that European competition officials are this week expected to impose tough conditions on the proposed merger of Three UK and Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2). It is thought that 3 may be required to sell off network capacity to rival UK operators before the deal can go ahead. (See Eurobites: UK Wants Closer Look at Hutchison/O2 Deal, Eurobites: UK Wants Closer Look at Hutchison/O2 Deal and Hutchison's Wind of Change.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is to create 1,000 permanent contact center jobs in the UK in a move that forms part of a wider "reshoring" plan. The carrier has committed to answering more than 80% of BT customer calls from within the UK by the end of year. In the most recent survey of customer service carried out by UK regulator Ofcom , BT fell well below the landline sector average rating, trailing in the wake of rivals Sky and TalkTalk .

  • Nearly 5,000 employees were evacuated from two Apple facilities in Cork, Ireland on Monday morning following a bomb warning posted on the Irish police website at 8.20 a.m. local time, reports the Irish Times.

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has issued its response to the news that the UK's Competition and Markets Authority had approved the proposed merger between BT and EE, saying that it expects that the newly formed company "will live up to the CMA’s findings that it will offer fair and reasonable terms to challenger mobile operators." (See BT Gets Final Go-Ahead for $17.9B EE Takeover.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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