Eurobites: French 700MHz Auction Kicks Off

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: German carmakers and Nokia in HERE stand-off; Salo gets help as Microsoft layoffs loom; Ericsson champions 5G.

  • The French government has kick-started the auction of 4G mobile spectrum in the 700MHz band, reports Reuters, hoping to raise at least €2.5 billion (US$2.78 billion) from the sale. In a statement, the government set out the conditions attached to the sale, including the imposition of a "double cap" on the amount of spectrum that each bidder can get. (See Altice's Bouygues Bid Creates 700MHz Confusion.)

  • German carmakers have reached a stand-off with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) over their proposal to jointly buy the Finnish vendor's mapping business, HERE, according to The Financial Express. BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen have been locked in negotiations with Nokia over the HERE business, which analysts estimate is worth between €2-4 billion ($2.2-4.4 billion). (See Carmakers Closing In on Nokia HERE – Report.)

  • Talking of Nokia, the sale of its devices business to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) is now a well-documented disaster (for the US software giant, at least). Microsoft's latest round of job cuts related to the ill-fated acquisition will see around 2,300 people in Finland laid off, with operations in the town of Salo coming to a complete halt, reports YLE. Responding to the news, the Finnish government has said it will submit a supplementary budget in September to help victims of the redundancies program, with Salo being the focus of government help. (See Microsoft Restructures Amidst Nokia Flop and Microsoft to Axe 12,500 Ex-Nokia Employees.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is to coordinate the new METIS-II EU project, which is aiming to develop 5G standards. The project, which falls within the framework of the 5G Infrastructure Public Private Partnership (5G-PPP), brings together 23 vendors, operators and research organizations from around the world for the 5G cause.

  • Shares in Monitise plc , the UK-based mobile payments technology firm, took a tumble Wednesday as Visa Europe announced it was planning to sell its 5.3% stake in the company. As The Telegraph reports, shares in Monitise fell more than 17% on the news, which came in the wake of a sales warning last week.

  • The merger of Telekom Austria Group 's Macedonian subsidiary, Vip Operator, with Telekom Slovenije subsidiary ONE has received the blessing of the Macedonian competition authority. The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015.

  • Vodafone Ireland is to create 200 permanent jobs at a new European sales center in Dublin, reports The Irish Times. The operator is investing €60 million ($66 million) into the new offices.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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