Euronews: Telefónica Pumps 4G, FTTH

Also in today's EMEA roundup: NSN goes Dutch with 4G; GSMA tells Europe to get a move on; what's enough competition?

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has unveiled what it believes is the fastest integrated fixed and mobile broadband network in Europe, combining FTTH and 4G access networks and services. The Spanish incumbent says it invested nearly €1.7 billion (US$2.2 billion) in Spain in 2012, mostly on next-generation network deployments, and spent a further €627 million ($827 million) during the first half of this year building out its "ultra broadband" fixed fiber access and LTE networks. The operator has been building out its FTTH network for a while and has already reached 2.7 million homes, of which about 431,000 have signed up for the service. The operator says it will reach 3.8 million homes with its FTTH network by the end of 2013: Its ultimate aim is for the "gradual shutdown [of] the copper network." It has also started building out its 4G network with technology from Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU): Both vendors are delivering radio access network (RAN) equipment for 2,200 sites each this year that will help Telefónica offer 4G services in 60 cities.

  • Alcatel-Lucent's involvement in Telefónica's 4G rollout in Spain is a major boost for the vendor's LTE business, representing by far its biggest 4G engagement in Europe to date. The vendor says its deal covers the delivery of about 8,000 basestations for a 4G overlay network and the supply of its 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM), which is used to manage IP networks.

  • Nokia Networks is supplying a greenfield 4G network for Tele2 Netherlands Holding NV , using the operator's 2600MHz and 800MHz frequency bands. As well as the RAN equipment, NSN will provide network planning and care services. (See NSN Becomes NSN.)

  • The GSM Association (GSMA) has branded Europe a 4G laggard in a new report, "Mobile Economy Europe 2013." Among other things, the report found that at the end of 2012, LTE accounted for just 0.3 per cent of total devices in Europe, compared to 11 percent in the US and 28 percent in South Korea. The GSMA's director general, Anne Bouverot, urges the European Commission to pull its finger out and adopt a policy that "encourages investment in mobile broadband connectivity, enables innovation and helps build consumer confidence in mobile services."

  • Maybe this will help: European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said that while mobile monopolies and duopolies in Europe were beyond the pale, having just three or four competing operators might be OK. Reuters reports that Almunia told Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper the Commission has "no dogmatic position on the number of providers... There are countries with three, four or even five operators."

  • The Finnish government, which may well end up losing out on lots of lovely corporation tax following the sale of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s handsets division to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), has boosted the state coffers by selling $485 million worth of shares in Nordic operator Telia Company , reports Reuters.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is trying something that it says is a first for Germany: It has launched a "family package" quad-play bundle that allows up to four mobile phones belonging to family members to call the family home landline for free. No excuse now for the little darlings not calling you at 3.00 a.m. when they need picking up from that out-of-control Facebooked party.

  • Russian Internet service provider Mail.ru has sold its remaining stake in Facebook for more than $525 million, reports Bloomberg. Mail.ru is owned by Russian's richest man, Alisher Usmanov.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • [email protected] 9/5/2013 | 6:57:08 AM
    Investing boldly in a down economy Credit to Telefonica for investing in its 4G and FTTH at a time when the Spansih economy has been decimated -- there are signs that things are starting to pick up in Spain at last (although unemployment levels are still horrendous, about 26%) and TEF will have a great access network in place as the conomy picks up, people get new jobs and businesses need more bandwidth.
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