Euronews: Roaming Cuts Kick In, Big-Time

Roaming charges, Telenor ASA, Ooredoo and BT Group plc loom large in today's visit to EMEA telecom central.

  • Roaming tariffs within the European Union will be 36 percent cheaper as from Monday, in what is the latest chapter of a full-frontal assault on roaming charges by Neelie Kroes, the European Commission's vice president for the Digital Agenda. As Reuters reports, Kroes wants to see the end of roaming charges in the EU by the end of her tenure, but time is running out… (See Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market.)

  • Qatar's Ooredoo (formerly Qtel) and Norway's Telenor have been awarded the two new national telecom services licenses in Myanmar and will each build new mobile networks in the recently liberalized Asian nation. The two operators, both of which have existing telecom assets in the Asia/Pacific region, were among 12 companies that applied for the licenses. One of the unsuccessful bidders, Digicel Group, says it "remains committed to exploring commercial opportunities in Myanmar and will be evaluating these on an ongoing basis." (See Telenor Wins Myanmar License and Myanmar Spectrum Stampede Underway.)

  • Spanish regulator CMT has had its knuckles rapped by the European Commission for its approach to the pricing of wholesale broadband access. Basically, Brussels feels the prices are too high, and possibly anti-competitive, and it has given CMT three months to work something out -- or else.

  • BT has won a five-year contract with U.K. broadcaster ITV to supply a "next-generation" digital broadcast network. BT will be charged with connecting ITV's 13 U.K. broadcasting sites to its data centers, enabling the broadcaster to transfer large amounts of data and uncompressed HD video between sites at speeds of up to 10 Gbit/s.

  • U.K.-based Easynet Ltd. has won the European portion of a US$4.6 million contract to provide international gym chain Fitness First with international MPLS connectivity. The global arm of Australia's Telstra Corp. Ltd. will take care of the Asian side of things. (See Telstra, Easynet Win $4.6M Deal.)

  • U.K. mobile joint venture Everything Everywhere Ltd. (EE) has gone live with 4G services in a further 11 towns, bringing its claimed total U.K. coverage to 55 percent of the country's homes and businesses. (See EE Gets Smart With Its LTE Assets.)

  • If you're into watching endless footage of massively-thighed men in Lycra cycling up and down mountains, you're in luck, because the Tour de France starts on June 29. Orange has been trumpeting its role in the proceedings: providing a fiber network covering all the arrival sites, offering high-definition videoconferencing facilities, and much, much more.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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