Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT M&A developments at home and abroad; carrier aggregation in Austria; Vodafone overly generous with journalists' data.
Broadband infrastructure will be one of the main focus points of a major new "investment offensive" being launched by the European Commission . The Commission will be providing seed funding of €16 billion (US$19.9 billion) from its own budget and €5 billion ($6.2 billion) from the European Investment Bank, but it hopes to mobilize further investment from the private and public sectors worth at least €315 billion ($392 billion) over the next three years.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) could offer a package valued at about €14 billion ($17.4 billion) to acquire Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2 UK), according to figures being touted in the Spanish media. A report in El Confidencial says that BT could offer €6 billion ($7.4 billion) plus a 20% stake in BT group to secure O2 UK. With BT's share price having risen 5% since news that it is in mobile M&A talks -- it currently stands at 401 pence on the London Stock Exchange -- a 20% stake would currently be valued at about £6.4 billion, or about €8 billion ($9.9 billion). (See Eurobites: BT in Talks to Buy O2 and Why BT + EE Makes More Sense.)
But it's not just about the UK for BT: Bloomberg reports that BT execs met with telecom regulators in Mexico last week to explore how the carrier could take advantage of new laws that have been implemented there in an effort to open up markets and stimulate foreign investment.
Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA)'s domestic unit, A1, has drawn on Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s knowhow to implement a 2x20MHz carrier aggregation system for 800MHz and 2.6GHz on its network in the city of Graz. Ericsson claims that peak downlink rates on the network have been doubled to 300 Mbit/s. The technology will be rolled out to other Austrian cities in 2015.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has slipped up in the UK by mistakenly passing on a ton of journalists' data to police authorities, The Guardian reports. As part of an investigation into illegal payments at The Times, The Sun and Sunday Times newspapers, the police had asked Vodafone to hand over the data relating to the calls of a single journalist: The operator duly handed over data relating to more than 1,000 different phone numbers belonging to employees of the newspaper group. Oops.
Less embarrassingly, Vodafone Greece has completed the acquisition of Hellas Online, a provider of fixed line broadband and voice services, for €72.7 million ($90.5 million).
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading