Euronews: EC Probes Samsung on Patents

Samsung Corp. , the European Commission and Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX) dominate proceedings in today's canter through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • The European Commission has opened an investigation into whether Samsung has used its patent rights to "distort competition in European mobile device markets" in breach of EC rules. Specifically, Brussels will be examining whether Samsung has failed to meet its obligations relating to the licensing of standards on "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory" (FRAND) terms. Samsung has been embroiled in a long-running patents spat with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), the latest round of which saw Samsung fail to overturn a ban on sales of its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet in Germany. (See EC Investigates Samsung Over Patents and EC Hints at Smartphone Patent Probe .)

  • Also on the Brussels beat, Reuters reports that the EU Parliament wants roaming fees -- charges incurred when a mobile user calls from outside his or her native country -- to be cut to levels substantially lower than those recommended last year by Neelie Kroes, the EC's vice president for the Digital Agenda. Under the proposals, the charge for a one-minute outgoing call when abroad would be 15 cents compared with 24 cents under the Kroes plan, while data costs would plummet to 20 cents per megabyte, down from 50 cents. (See Regulators Reshape Europe's Roaming Market , Euronews: EC's Kroes on the Warpath (Again) and EC Combats Data Roaming Bill Shock.)

  • Alcatel-Lucent has formally closed the sale of its Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories Inc. Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) business to private equity firm Permira for $1.5 billion. (See AlcaLu Closes Genesys Sale, Euronews: AlcaLu Offloads Genesys and Euronews: AlcaLu Struggles to Sell Enterprise Biz.)

  • Hungary's mobile market is to get a fourth provider in the shape of a state-backed consortium, reports Reuters. The group, which includes a state-owned electricity firm and bank, paid 10 billion forints ($44 million) for three 900MHz frequency blocks. The entire Hungarian telecom industry has been laboring under a "Robin Hood" tax that was imposed on it (and on the energy and retail sectors) in 2010 by the ruling Fidesz party. (See Euronews: Oct. 18.)

  • German chipmaker Infineon reported net income down from €125 million ($164 million) in the fourth quarter of the previous financial year to €96 million ($126 million) in the latest quarter. Its revenues were down too. Infineon sold its wireless chip business to Intel in 2010. (See Infineon Reports Lower Net Income in Q1 and Intel 's LTE Bonus .)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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