Yota has confirmed the launch of its LTE network in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, with customer modems becoming available on Jan. 15, 2012. The network, built with radio access network (RAN) infrastructure from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , currently comprises 63 base stations but will grow to 150 by March. Yota is using spectrum in the 2.5GHz-2.7GHz band to provide FDD LTE connections that will be used by multiple Russian service providers. Technical integration has already been achieved with MegaFon in Novosibirsk. (See Yota Launches LTE, Keep Your Eyes on Russia, Russian Into LTE and Russian Ops to Share LTE Network.)
Ventelo, which controls one of Norway's two nationwide fiber networks, is to be acquired by private equity firm EQT VI for up to 1.8 billion Norwegian kroner (US$306 million), reports Reuters. Ventelo is on course for 2011 revenues of 2.6 billion Krone ($440 million).
Orange France is to collaborate with content delivery firm GlobeCast , news channel France 24 and satellite operator SES S.A. (Paris: SESG) on a Hybrid Broadband Broadcast Television (HbbTV) trial in France in early 2012. The service will deliver linear programming via satellite but allow interactive services and non-liner programming (such as "catch-up" services) to be accessed through a broadband connection for those who have a suitably top-of-the-range connected TV. (See Orange Helps in HbbTV Trial.)
U.K. mobile operator Three UK has announced plans to trial LTE in Thames Valley, an area to the west of London that is home to several telcos and other hi-tech firms, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). Technical trials will begin in March 2012, to be followed by consumer trials later in the year.
The Sudanese government plans to raise its tax on telecom services from 20 percent to 30 percent next year, reports Reuters, in a move that is intended to help plug the gap in revenues brought about by the secession of South Sudan earlier in the year.