Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Skype co-founder launches new multimedia-messaging app; Swisscom's network wins praise, and prize; Gulf contracts row.
Only yesterday Fitch Ratings Ltd. was saying that happy, consolidation-friendly days looked they were here again in the European telecom market, and today comes news that Sweden's Telia Company and Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) are to merge their Danish operations. The newly formed company will have a combined mobile subscriber base of around 3.5 million and revenues of more than 9 billion Danish kroner (US$1.49 billion). (See TeliaSonera, Telenor to Merge Danish Operations and Eurobites: Fitch Signals End of Euro Telecom Slump.)
Skype Ltd. co-founder Janus Friis and a 50-strong team from 23 countries has launched Wire, an app for messaging, voice-calling, and sharing pictures, music and video by mobile, tablet or laptop/desktop. It is available on iOS, Android and OSX and is being pitched as a sort of rival to Skype, though as yet video-calling is not in its toolbox. For a good overview of what Wire is all about, see this Guardian article. (See Wire Pitches New Mobile Comms App.)
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) says investments totaling CHF 1.75 billion ($1.8 billion) in its mobile network infrastructure this year have helped it to win the accolade (for the sixth year running) of best mobile network in Switzerland following tests conducted by Connect magazine. The operator now boasts 94% population coverage with 4G LTE, while 25% of its 6.5 million mobile customers already use a 4G-enabled device. Swisscom now plans to launch VoLTE and voice over WiFi in 2015.
There's a rumble going on in the Gulf between rivals Zain KSA (Zain Saudi Arabia) and Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) , with the latter saying the former owes it 2.2 billion riyals ($586.28 million) relating to a 2008 contract, reports Reuters. Mobily is taking its case to arbitration.
Telecom Italia (TIM) has teamed up with HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) to offer "cloud transformation services" to large enterprises and the public sector in Italy. The idea is that HP will assess the customer's needs and support migration to the cloud, while Telecom Italia will offer its expertise in managed data center services. (See Telecom Italia, HP Team on Cloud Transformation.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading