Euronews: Orange Fears Merger 'Earthquake'

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Telefónica secures infrastructure funding; AlcaLu goes multi-screen in Spain; Virgin trials Netflix; Brussels lays down the law on roaming charges.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) CEO Stephane Richard is predicting a telecom "earthquake in Europe" if Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF)'s planned purchase of KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN)'s German mobile unit, E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG , goes ahead, reports Bloomberg. The move, which would reduce the number of mobile operators in Germany from four to three, "will force other countries to reconsider their position on consolidation," said Richard. (See Euronews: KPN to Sell E-Plus for €8.1B.)

  • Telefónica has secured $743 million in financing from BBVA, Santander and Barclays for its plan to buy more infrastructure from Nokia Networks , reports Reuters.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is to deploy its IP video and integration platforms to help Spanish cable operator Telecable deliver multi-screen TV services in the Asturias region. As part of the project, Telecable customers will be offered cloud-based personal video recording.

  • European Commission officials are preparing the ground ahead of Wednesday's big announcement on the future -- or lack of it -- of roaming charges within the European Union. It seems EU operators are being given the rather stark choice of either retaining roaming charges yet working within a dense web of red tape, or scrapping the charges altogether. The Daily Telegraph quotes an unnamed Brussels source, who says: "They complain about our regulations being too complicated so this is their chance to prove it. We're going to promise to leave them alone if they get rid of the charges." That's big of 'em. (See The Price Isn't Right With EU Roaming Rules and Euronews: Roaming Cuts Kick In, Big-Time.)

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), the UK cable operator, is beginning a pilot that will see the Netflix TV/movie streaming service being offered to 40,000 of Virgin's TiVo customers. The Netflix application will be available in the Apps & Games section of the TiVo interface, and Netflix members will be able to log in using their existing Netflix credentials or sign up via the application.

  • EE is hoping to entice more of its existing customers to enter the brave new world of 4G by introducing its "Swap" service, which allows eligible postpaid customers to upgrade to a 4G phone mid-contract with a one-off payment, which, funnily enough, gets larger as the monthly 4G plan the customer is upgrading to gets cheaper. (See Euronews: EE Sees 4G Take-up Double in Q2.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • pdonegan67 9/10/2013 | 8:28:09 AM
    Re: The ground needs to move.... Odd choice of words by Monsieur Richard.

    I would think of an earthquake as having nothing but negative connotations.

    Unless perhaps he was warmly contemplating the sunlit uplands that would immediately follow an earthquake in France in which the ground suddenly begins to crack, opens up wholesale, and swallows up Free, never to be seen again.


    [email protected] 9/10/2013 | 7:07:59 AM
    The ground needs to move.... That earthquake is much needed, though the bigger impact on European mobile consolidation might come as a result of any EU rulings on roaming charges -- if they get scrapped there might be a lot of head-scratching over business plans and fiscal viability for Tier 2 and 3 operators, I'd have thought.
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