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Small cells

Euronews: Virgin Eyes 4G Femto Spectrum

Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Nokia Networks start the week in today's trawl through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • As the U.K.'s mobile operators tussle over rules for the upcoming 4G spectrum auction, they are not the only operators that want a share of those frequencies. Cable operator Virgin Media is interested in using some of the 2.6GHz spectrum to deploy indoor femtocells, according to a report in The Observer and confirmed by a company spokesman to Light Reading. U.K. regulator Ofcom has proposed that a portion of the 2.6GHz spectrum be designated for short-range, low-power use, such as indoor femtocells, and this is what Virgin has an interest in. In an emailed statement to Light Reading, a spokesman said: "These frequencies could be shared by companies beyond just the mobile network operators such that consumers will benefit most from greater innovation and a better quality wireless internet experience." Plans for the 4G auction in the U.K., however, have yet to be finalized. (See Euronews: Ofcom Slams Obstructive UK Operators and Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan .)

  • As the pattern of protest followed by violent clampdown continues in Syria, the BBC reports that import and use of Apple's iPhone has been banned in the country, according to a document posted on a Lebanese news website.

  • The first step on the road to a single pan-European patents system -- as opposed to the country-by-country system that currently applies -- is likely to be made today, the Wall Street Journal reports. This could have implications for the likes of Samsung Corp. and Apple, a pair that has been embroiled in a long-running patents spat in courts across Europe. (See Euronews: Samsung/Apple Circus Hits The Hague and Apple vs. Android Patent Spat Goes Global.)

  • The Hungarian government has been busy telling the European Commission that its so-called "Robin Hood tax" on the telecom sector is not illegal and that it will not, as Brussels has demanded, be abolished, reports Reuters. (See Euronews: Oct. 18.)

  • Vip, the Serbian mobile operator, is getting its eco-credentials in order by taking part in a trial of a base station provided by Nokia Siemens Networks that has no connection to the main electricity grid and is instead powered by solar and wind energy. NSN's base station uses solar panels, wind turbines and deep-cycling batteries, with diesel generators for backup. (See VIP Mobile Tests NSN's Green Base Stations.)

  • Two of the major lenders to eir , the beleaguered Irish incumbent, have put forward debt restructuring proposals, reports Reuters. The world still awaits proposals from eircom's owners, Singapore Technologies Telemedia (STT) and trade union ESOT. (See Lenders to Lean on Eircom.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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