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Euronews: Sept. 30

Paul Rainford
9/30/2010

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is back in the news with a launch it hopes can win it back some smartphone street cred, ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) has landed a rip-and-replace mobile network deal with a Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) operation in Eastern Europe, and the M&A action is heating up in the Middle East.

  • Nokia has, after some delay, started shipping the N8 device, the first of the Finnish giant's new Symbian smartphone range and the one the vendor hopes can challenge the iPhone. But not everyone can get their hands on the phone today: Nokia says "market availability will vary by country and by operator, with broad availability in the coming weeks." Some might say that's a further delay. (See Nokia Sets the N8 Free and Nokia N8 is Late .)

  • Telenor Hungary Zrt. is replacing its existing radio access network (RAN) network -- all 6,000 base stations -- and its core network nodes during the next two years to replace them with "LTE-ready and future-proof" software-defined radio (SDR)-based access equipment, plus new core network systems, from ZTE. The €200 million (US$272 million) deal with the Chinese vendor was announced last month, but the carrier says it has now started the project, committing 150 of its staff, alongside the same number of engineers from ZTE, to the job. (See Telenor Hungary Picks ZTE for LTE.)

  • India isn't the only market where Etisalat is looking to bolster its presence, as the UAE carrier has made an offer worth $12 billion to buy a 46 percent stake in Middle East operator Zain Group , reports Reuters. (See Rumor: Etisalat Seeks Aircel M&A Deal.)

  • It's known for sun, sea, sand, and surf -- but not super-fast broadband. But wait, what's this? Cornwall, the über-fashionable vacation hotspot in Britain's far southwest, is to benefit from a £132 million ($210 million) BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)-led project to bring 100-Mbit/s fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband to more than 80 percent of the businesses -- and that includes you, clotted cream makers! -- in the region. (See BT Preps 'Landmark' FTTC Investment and Fiber Boost for UK's West Country.)

  • The Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)-versus-Nokia lawsuit-wrangle roadshow has reached the UK, reports the BBC, with the US giant commencing legal proceedings in Britain against the Finnish handset maker for what it sees as Nokia's infringements of nine patents related to smartphone technology. The action is an extension of a tit-for-tat lawsuit filed by Apple in the US in December 2009. (See Apple Hits Back at Nokia.)

  • The Portuguese government is looking to get its hands on the pension fund assets of incumbent operator Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT) to help reduce its budget deficit, reports Reuters. If PT agrees, the government would receive a windfall of €2.6 billion ($3.5 billion), which is not to be sniffed at.

  • The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) has completed what it claims on its website is a "first of its kind" broadcast using "Super Hi-Vision TV". Sixteen times sharper than HDTV and transmitted in this trial at 24 Gbit/s, the technology has been developed by Japanese broadcaster NHK.

  • Britain's traditional red telephone box was once an iconic national treasure, a reassuringly solid presence on the nation's streets -- but now it seems it's metamorphosed into a combination of vice magnet and health hazard, according to the Press Association. Now rarely used for what they were intended, they have become, in London's Westminster district at least, the haunt of drug users, prostitutes, and those who can't be bothered to find a proper public lavatory. Not surprisingly, Westminster City Council wants BT to leave off banging on about superfast broadband for a minute and do something about it.

    Elsewhere in Europe:

    — Paul Rainford, freelance editor, special to Light Reading

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