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Eurobites: BT, Virgin Form Unlikely Alliance

Paul Rainford
3/31/2015

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Alcatel-Lucent prepares for submarine unit IPO; EchoStar takes a stake in Kudelski's set-top box arm; Ericsson extends services contract with Telenor Denmark.

  • UK rivals BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) have put aside their differences to jointly warn regulator Ofcom against making regulatory changes to the wholesale broadband market, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). They claim that the sort of changes being demanded by the likes of Vodafone UK and TalkTalk -- which include the spinning off of BT's Openreach access division -- will create "significant regulatory uncertainy" and "cause service faults for customers." Regional broadband provider KCOM Group plc was the third signatory of the letter to Ofcom. (See Eurobites: BT Faces New Rules on Access Charges.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has taken full control of ALDA Marine, its cable ship joint venture with Louis Dreyfus Armateurs (LDA). The move could be seen as an attempt to simplify its submarine networks business ahead of a planned IPO of its submarine unit. (See Alcatel-Lucent Preps Submarine IPO, Expects Core Growth.)

  • Colorado-based EchoStar Corp. LLC (Nasdaq: SATS) has become a shareholder in SmarDTV, the set-top box subsidiary of Switzerland's Kudelski Group . As part of the agreement, EchoStar's operations in Steeton, UK and Madrid will be transferred to SmarDTV.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has signed an extended field services contract with Telenor Denmark, replacing the existing three-year agreement that was struck in 2011. The shared mobile network that Telenor Denmark operates is the largest in the country, serving 3.5 million subscribers.

  • Sky is continuing its quest for content with the acquisition of a 60% stake in Jupiter Entertainment, a US-based production company that specializes in factual programs.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané
    4/3/2015 | 2:48:29 AM
    Re: BT Group & Virgin Media
    I see, Mitch. I have to say that was a happy add. :) 

    -Susan
    Mitch Wagner
    Mitch Wagner
    4/1/2015 | 10:23:58 AM
    Re: BT Group & Virgin Media
    Susan - I don't foresee any problems. I just saw an opportunity to drop in that GHOSTBUSTERS clip so I grabbed it. 
    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané
    4/1/2015 | 2:39:19 AM
    Re: BT Group & Virgin Media
    So you don't seem to be a happy future there, Mitch? :D It will be something interesting to watch closely. -Susan
    nasimson
    nasimson
    3/31/2015 | 9:42:35 PM
    Who was in the bids?
    Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has signed an extended field
    > services contract with Telenor Denmark, replacing the existing
    > three-year agreement that was struck in 2011.

    Ericsson won it? Who was in the bids? I bet it would be be Huawei as the chinese company is increasing its penetration in Europe.
    Mitch Wagner
    Mitch Wagner
    3/31/2015 | 1:51:56 PM
    BT Group & Virgin Media
    BT Group and Virgin Media teaming up is like:

     

    Ray@LR
    [email protected]
    3/31/2015 | 10:00:05 AM
    AlcaLu submarine IPO still afloat (geddit?)
    The folks at Alcatel-Lucent tell me that the plans to list the submarine unit through an IPO are still on course and is expected to happen in the second half of 2015. 

    I believe that the timeframe has slipped a little (it was my understanding it would take place in H1) but ALU says 'non'...

    Still it's giong to happen and that would be another part of the Shift Plan ticked off.
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