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Eurobites: Nokia May Hang On to HERE

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telenor numbers get a lift from Myanmar; Swisscom impresses in Q1; Sky versus Skype.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) may decide to hang onto its mapping business, HERE, after all, according to a Reuters report. A range of companies, including car makers, Facebook and taxi-hailing app developer Uber, have reportedly expressed interest in HERE, which has been valued at up to €6.9 billion (US$7.7 billion), following Nokia's confirmation last month that it might look to offload the unit in preparation for its planned takeover of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU). But Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa stressed on Tuesday that the ongoing company review "will not necessarily" lead to HERE being sold off. The expectation, though, is that a deal could be in the works, with Facebook now being seen as the most likely suitor following the social media giant's decision to use HERE's technology. A spokesman for HERE confirmed to Light Reading that a deal had been agreed between HERE and Facebook that allowed the social media giant to use HERE's map technology for Facebook mobile applications, but no further details were given. (See Eurobites: Nokia's HERE Locates Potential Buyers and Nokia Makes €15.6B Bid for Alcatel-Lucent.)

  • Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is boasting of "all-time high revenues" following the posting of its first-quarter results, with turnover reaching 30.2 billion ($4.02 billion) Norwegian kroner, compared with NOK25.3 billion ($3.37 billion) in the year-ago quarter. As Bloomberg reports, the results prompted the operator to up its full-year profit margin forecast, which in turn led to a jump in its share price. Rising demand for mobile data in Myanmar made a significant contribution to Telenor's healthy numbers.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) reported slight better than expected revenues and earnings for the first quarter of 2015, reports Bloomberg. The operator reported revenues of 2.89 billion Swiss Francs ($3.12 billion), up 2.6% year-on-year, while its EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) declined slightly compared with a year ago to CHF1.05 billion ($1.13 billion), though that was slightly better than financial analysts had been expecting. The Swiss operator, which is investing heavily in its fixed and mobile broadband networks, grew its IPTV subscriber base by more than 14% to 1.2 million and its retail broadband line customer base by 4.1% to 1.9 million, while its mobile user base grew by 2% to 6.56 million. Swisscom noted that mobile data traffic volumes had doubled during the past year. (See Eurobites: Swisscom Claims G.fast First.)

  • The General Court of the European Union has, in its infinite wisdom, decided that there is a chance that the general public will confuse Skype Ltd. with pay-TV operator Sky when it comes to choosing communications services. Among other explanations, the Court has "confirmed that the pronunciation of the vowel 'y' is no shorter in the word 'skype' than it is in the word 'sky'." It's good to have that confirmed. The upshot of the decision is that Skype can continue to use its name in the European Union but cannot register a trademark for the name or its jaunty cloud-based logo.

  • Irish M2M startup Cubic Telecom has secured €18 million ($20.2 million) in investment from chip vendor Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and German car maker Audi. This is the fourth time that Qualcomm has put money into Cubic, which has developed a cloud-based M2M platform. (See Qualcomm, Audi Invest €18M in M2M Specialist Cubic Telecom.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has landed a smart metering deal in Norway, supplying its meters and accompanying software to more than 180,000 homes for energy company Skagerak Nett. (See Ericsson Lands Smart Meter Deal in Norway.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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