Euronews: Single Telecom Market Is Go!

Also in today's EMEA roundup: German mag reveals BlackBerry security flaws; EE strikes MVNO deal with Virgin Mobile; AlcaLu wins an Emmy!

  • It's official: the European Commission is plowing ahead with proposals for a single European market for telecom. In his State of the Union address today, EC President José Manuel Durão Barroso told delegates:

      I'd like to announce that, today, we will formally adopt a proposal that gives a push towards a single market for telecoms. Citizens know that Europe has dramatically brought down their costs for roaming. Our proposal will strengthen guarantees and lower prices for consumers, and present new opportunities for companies.

    Full details of the reforms, which could include measures to make the way spectrum auctions are carried out across the region more consistent, are expected to be presented on Thursday. (See Euronews: 'Single Market' Plan Rolls Into Action and Euronews: Roaming Cuts Kick In, Big-Time.)

  • German magazine Der Spiegel has got its hands on an internal report from the US National Security Agency (NSA), which, amongst other interesting tidbits, suggests that the BlackBerry is not as "surveillance-proof" as its makers liked to claim. And that's bad news for a company that is currently open to offers. (See Selling BlackBerry: The Options, BlackBerry: Is There Still Value? , For Sale: One Used BlackBerry, and Another Day, Another Domestic Spying Revelation.)

  • EE has agreed an MVNO deal with the UK's Virgin Mobile, which could be worth up to £400 million (US$530 million), according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). This follows news of a similar contract win with Wal-Mart supermarket subsidiary Asda earlier in the week.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s Polish unit has struck a 4G network-sharing deal with the Orange (NYSE: FTE)-owned Telekomunikacja Polska SA , reports Reuters. TPSA failed to win 4G spectrum in the Polish auction earlier this year.

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has deployed 100G technology on an additional 350 miles between Brussels and Frankfurt, bringing the total number of "100G miles" it operates in Europe to 5,100. Another 1,400 miles are planned in Europe by the end of this year.

  • French network optimization specialist Ipanema Technologies has appointed former Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD) and Zeus Technology executive Jim Darragh as its CEO with immediate effect. His appointment strengthens a team that has until now been led by executive chairman and co-founder Jean-Yves Leclerc. (See Ipanema Goes Virtual.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has landed a billing contract with Zain Jordan, with the Middle Eastern operator opting for Ericsson's Charging & Billing in One offering.

  • And the winner is… Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)! Yes, it's time for tearful cringe-inducing speeches and posh frocks as the Franco/US vendor is awarded an Emmy -- for "Pioneering Work in Implementation and Deployment of Network DVR."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • saskok 9/13/2013 | 2:56:36 AM
    Re: With every upside.... Subscribers 4 sure! 
    jhodgesk1s 9/11/2013 | 1:57:22 PM
    Re: With every upside.... Ray, my money would be on increasing package tariffs. Hole or no hole, the money has to come from somewhere and that's the best place to start for immediate impact.
    RitchBlasi 9/11/2013 | 12:48:19 PM
    One market modeling Good points guys.  My simplistic thinking on this subject is that it does only pertain to 28 countries, correct?  so that means that the high international roaming rates will be the same for travelers outside the EU -- like US travelers...right?  So they will still have enough pidgeons to bilk revenues from these folks.  It will be interesting to see the devil in the details with this stuff.  For example, if I am a US traveler and sign up for local service in an EU country will I receive the same benefits as a resident?  We all know there are ways carriers can use their back-office systems to figure things like that out.  And will the calls ultimately be local rates?  All for one and one rate for all?  Maybe they will use the US as a model for developing rate plans.  I am not the best at geography but I would think that treating the 28 EU countries as one aligns with the US carriers offering national plans?????

    pdonegan67 9/11/2013 | 8:53:25 AM
    Re: With every upside.... No doubt the finer details could have been improved upon but the basic principle remains sound.

    The kinds of roaming charges we were seeing were a wholly unjustified tax on business within the EU trading bloc - competition wasn't bringing them down so the regulator reacted. Over re-acted a little maybe but the bigger picture is the more important one.

    Europe's operators will certainly have to thrash around, lash out a bit here and there, perhaps in the ways you suggest, and do some pretty radical things going forward.

    But just because an industry gets itself into a hole doesn't mean that the normal rules of business should be suspended, so that they effectively get "bailed out"

    ...Oh wait a minute now....

    [email protected] 9/11/2013 | 8:40:35 AM
    Re: With every upside.... Any thoughts on what the mobile operators might do once intra-EU roaming charges are abolished?

    Do you think they will hike up the roaming charges for visitors from outside the EU? (That would go down well with the Swiss.... NOT!)

    Or increase their package tariffs?

    Stop giving away free handsets?

    I'm struggling to see an end result where the operators and at least some parts of the global mobile user community doesn't take a big whack from this.

    Don't getme wrong - this will likely be positive for Europeans who live in EU member countries, of which I am one (currently), but.... I wonder if a gradual phasing out would have worked better? 
    pdonegan67 9/11/2013 | 8:35:52 AM
    Re: With every upside.... The EU has done absolutely the right thing on roaming charges, in my view.

    What's screwed Europe's operators over is the 3G licences fees they paid back in 2000. This was a joint folly of national governments and the...ahem..."auction strategies"... (AKA, stick your hand up at the back and leave it up as long as necessary) of the executives of the day. The EU was pretty much blameless on that count.

    Were it not for this gigantic financial hole that was dug for the industry, the impact of EU-imposed cuts on roaming charges would scarcely be being felt today. As it is it's now just additional salt in the wound.

    Then again the EU did drive the creation of the single currency which made a big contribution to the big hike in the disposable incomes of European consumers until 2007/2008 that was then followed by the subsequent crash in those disposable incomes over the last five years.

    Let he who is without sin etc etc.
    [email protected] 9/11/2013 | 8:26:41 AM
    Re: With every upside.... Yes, they have been arguing that case for years, as you would expect them to. What I wonder is whether the EC has done  an impact model and  thought about the real-world consequences (rather than just dismissing such scenarios as the defensive moaning of the operators).


    No gain without pain. I just wonder who will suffer the most.
    Gabriel Brown 9/11/2013 | 7:38:56 AM
    Re: With every upside.... Bit late for that argument Ray. The operators have been trying that line for years.

    Edit: I do agree, though, about the unintended consequences of regulation. IIRC Vodafone was blocked from offering pan-Europe tariffs (or discounted roaming) by EC competition authorities when it acquired Mannesmann. That worked out well.
    [email protected] 9/11/2013 | 7:25:13 AM
    With every upside.... I wonder how much the EC as considered the implications of a single market and an end to roaming fees, in terms of the knock-on effects on other charges, jobs, industry consolidation etc...

    Killing roaming charges makes for a great headline and looks like great news for pan-European travellers -- quite how it will work out in the medium and long-term for service providers and customers alike is another matter. I think it will hasten the demise of the European mobile operators as we know them.
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