September 30, 2011
The Italian government's €3.9 billion (US$5.26 billion) spectrum auction windfall, Long Term Evolution (LTE) action in Sweden and Kenya, some acquisition activity in Poland and the outsourcing of Symbian make the headlines in today's EMEA roundup.
Italy's mobile operators have paid a collective €3.9 billion for new spectrum in the 800MHz band (which becomes available in January 2013), the 1800MHz (available before the end of 2011) and 2.6GHz band (available by the end of 2012). Vodafone Italy and Telecom Italia (TIM) paid about €1.26 billion ($1.7 billion) each for 20MHz in the 800MHz band, 10MHz in the 1800 MHz band, and 30MHz in the 2.6GHz band. Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA and 3 Italia were the other operators to get new capacity.
Telia, the Swedish arm of Scandinavian powerhouse Telia Company , says it plans to add LTE access capabilities to a further 432 locations across Sweden next year, taking the total to 663 locations by the end of 2012. The operator is telling its customers that with LTE they can get the broadband experience they are used to at home "virtually anywhere -- even in the mushroom forest." Fungi fans may be a niche market, but it's an interesting one to pick! (Geddit? Oh, never mind ...)
Sticking with LTE, Business Daily Africa reports that 17 firms have applied to participate in Kenya's LTE rollout plans, including Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763).
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) says the previously announced outsourcing of Symbian software development and support activities to Accenture has been completed. The move involves the transfer of 2,300 staff to the systems integration and consultancy firm, about 500 fewer than expected. The Finnish handset giant tells Light Reading that fewer staff are transferring because "a number of people have found new roles either within Nokia or outside of Nokia." The news comes a day after Nokia announced job losses in Eastern Europe and pledged €500 million ($675 million) to Nokia Networks . (See Euronews: Cash Boost for NSN, Cuts at Nokia, NSN Gets $1.36B & New Leader, Nokia, Accenture Finalize Symbian Outsource Deal and Nokia Cuts 4,000 Jobs, Sheds Symbian.)
Poland's largest competitive operator, Netia Holdings SA , just got a bit bigger as it's acquiring two other alternative operators, Telefonia Dialog SA (triple play and mobile services) and Crowley Data Poland (wholesale and enterprise services). Netia expects these deals to boost its annual revenues to more than 2 billion Polish zloty ($611 million), still a fair amount less than that of incumbent Telekomunikacja Polska SA . If the deals are cleared by the Polish authorities, Netia will pay PLN 890 million ($272 million) for Dialog and PLN 100 million ($31 million) for Crowley Data Poland. For the full details, see Netia's press release (in Polish).
An arbitration tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has ruled that TeliaSonera should be paid $932 million in damages by Çukurova Group . The award is related to a dispute, going back as far as 2005, concerning the agreed sale of shares in Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) by Cukurova to the Scandinavian carrier. Cukurova subsequently sold its Turkcell stake to the Alfa Group, a move that started years of legal wrangling. (See Alfa Claims Court Win Over Turkcell Stake, TeliaSonera Challenges Turkcell on Governance and TeliaSonera Sues Alfa.)
Italian VoIP service provider Messagenet has requested that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s acquisition of Skype Ltd. be blocked by the European Commission unless Microsoft agrees not to bundle Skype's VoIP applications in its software, reports The New York Times. The EC's competition commission is set to announce if it approves of Microsoft's acquisition on Oct. 7. (See Microsoft to Buy Skype for $8.5B .)
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading
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