Eurobites: Sky Goes Mobile With O2

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica buys stake in Indra; ETNO calls for level playing field with OTT crowd; Cinven bids for Telekom Slovenia.

  • Underlining the fact that it is a time of major upheaval in the UK mobile market, Sky has confirmed it is entering the UK quad-play arena in 2016 via an MVNO agreement with Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2). Under the terms of the multi-year deal, Telefónica UK will give Sky wholesale access to 2G, 3G and 4G services over its network. Sky, dominant in the UK pay-TV market, is already number two in the broadband sector too, and clearly believes that this deal will supply the missing part of the jigsaw. The move has no doubt been prompted by BT's planned acquisition of EE, which will also give the UK incumbent a mobile strand to its offer. Telefónica UK is itself the likely subject of a takeover bid from Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY), which already owns mobile operator Three UK . (See Sky Opens Tie-Up Talks With O2 – Report, BT Offers $19.5B to Buy EE and Hutchison in Talks to Buy UK's O2 – Report.)

  • Elsewhere in the Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) empire, the Spanish giant has bought a 3% stake in IT services firm Indra Sistemas SA , which is also based in Spain. According to a Reuters report, the stake would be worth around €37.5 million.

  • The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) is calling for a review of the 2002 ePrivacy Directive, which it feels penalizes operators, as under the terms of the Directive EU operators have to collect and retain data for possible use by the authorities, whereas OTT providers don't. In a blog post, ETNO says: "ETNO's main concern is that the existence of different and unequal rules for equivalent services does not lead to a single market in privacy or data and distorts the value in data and innovation in data driven services."

  • Investment fund Cinven Ltd. is planning to put in a bid for state-owned Telekom Slovenia, according to a Reuters report, citing daily newspaper Finance. The Slovenian government has shortlisted five firms as bidders for the operator, the others being Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), and investment funds Providence Equity Partners , Apax Partners and Bain Capital .

  • MTN Group Ltd. is laying off up to 578 employees at its South African enterprise business unit, the latest in a series of redundancies at the African group, reports Reuters.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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