Also in today's EMEA roundup: BT accused of monopolizing UK rural broadband rollout; Elop plays the divorce card; NSN heads towards 5G.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s share price jumped more than 5 percent Thursday morning to €2.67 on the back of a rumor that Nokia Networks has been considering a merger offer. According to this Bloomberg report, no talks have yet taken place. Euronews is throwing its hat into the ring early by suggesting that, should such a marriage take place, the resulting company should be called Alcanok. Or "The Other Guys."
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and the UK government's Department of Culture Media and Sport are facing a torrent of criticism this morning over the way the UK's state-aided broadband rollout program has panned out. A report from the UK parliament's Public Accounts Committee, which has been scrutinizing the rollout, concludes: "The lack of transparency over BT's costs is a serious risk to value for money, particularly as BT is the Department's single supplier," adding that "The Department accepted contract terms that were overly generous to BT and do not promote value for money, such as confidentiality clauses over bid costs and roll-out plans." All 26 contracts agreed so far with local authorities under the terms of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) program have gone to BT, and the operator looks likely, in the absence of any real competition, to win all the remaining 18 contracts. (See Euronews: UK's Broadband Plan Gets EU Nod.)
The Stephen Elop payoff saga has produced another twist: According to the Financial Times (subscription required), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) chairman Risto Siilasmaa asked Elop, the former Nokia CEO, if he would be prepared to forgo some or all of his $25 million payoff in the light of the furore surrounding it. Elop apparently declined, citing his ongoing divorce case as the main reason for wanting to keep his hands on the loot. (See Euronews: Anger Grows at Nokia Payoff for Elop, Euronews: Elop Pockets $25M Payoff, and The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory.)
In what could be interpreted as a step towards 5G, Nokia Solutions and Networks has demonstrated what it claims is the world's first Authorized Shared Access (ASA) field trial with TD-LTE spectrum. According to NSN, the ASA technology allows operators to harvest extra capacity from under-utilized spectrum frequencies. NSN sees ASA as one of the key ways mobile operators can maximize their broadband potential (See NSN Gets Its Cloud On and NSN Takes a Step Towards 5G.)
LTE has arrived in Ireland courtesy of eir , which has launched services in Dublin, Carlow, and Athlone, coverage that is equivalent to 30 percent of the population, says the operator. By the end of the year, eircom hopes to have 43 percent of the population covered. (See eircom Launches 4G In Ireland.)
Meanwhile, across the Irish Sea, EE has switched on 4G in 12 more English towns, including the admirably named Ashby-de-la-Zouch. EE now claims to have covered 60 percent of the UK population with 4G, 11 months after launching its 4G program. (See Q&A: EE Evolves Its 4G LTE Strategy.)
GTS Central Europe has won a five-year deal to provide parcel delivery service firm GeoPost with a "customized cloud platform" that includes network connectivity, data center services, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) support and security.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading