Euronews: Ericsson Readies Swisscom for LTE

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM), Yota and Ventelo are all caught up in today's trawl of the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • Swisscom has chosen Ericsson to upgrade all 6,000 of its mobile base stations, connecting them to fiber and making them Long Term Evolution (LTE)-ready. Swisscom hopes the work, which includes new packet core capabilities too, will be completed by mid-2014. (See Swisscom Upgrades With Ericsson, Euronews: Swisscom Feels the Heat in H1, Euronews: Ericsson Shrinks Its Top Team and Euronews: Sony Buys Ericsson Out of Handsets.)

  • 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.)

  • The U.K. government's Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) has announced its list of the 14 cities that are eligible to claim a share of the £100 million ($156.8 million) Urban Broadband Fund, thus helping to render them "super-connected," as this week's PR-speak would have it. It will be down to BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) to beef up their fiber networks in the cities that are successful in their bid for cash. (See UK Govt Lists 'Super-Connected' Cities, Great Britain? I Don't Think So, ISPs Shamed by UK Broadband Speed Tests and UK Govt Allocates Broadband Funding.)

  • 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.

  • U.K regulator Ofcom has published its latest set of complaints data, showing that TalkTalk is still very much king of the billing bungle on the fixed side, while the aforementioned 3 topped the unpopularity charts in mobile. (See Ofcom Counts the Complaints (Again), Ofcom Fines TalkTalk £3M and TalkTalk's Billing Mess Costs It £2.5M.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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