Also in today's regional roundup: Nokia deploys small cells for Ooredoo; Serbia and Kosovo reach telecom rapprochement; Millicom hires Gordon; Huawei wins SBC deal with Telefónica.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) are buying L-band spectrum (1452 – 1492 MHz) from Qualcomm UK Spectrum (QUKS), a subsidiary of chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), to support the growing demand for mobile data services in the UK. Each operator has agreed to buy 20 MHz of the spectrum. Qualcomm says the spectrum "can be used for Supplemental Downlink (SDL), helping Mobile Network Operators to meet the global demand for increased mobile data traffic." Financial details were not disclosed, though according to a Bloomberg report the deals are worth a combined total of about £200 million ($313 million). Once regulatory authority Ofcom approves the deals, which is expected, the operators should be able to start using the airwaves from next year following equipment upgrades. Qualcomm had announced plans to sell the licenses back in June and appears to have made a huge profit on the transaction, having originally paid as little as £8.33 million ($13.04 million) for the airwaves in 2008.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has struck a deal with Qatar's Ooredoo to roll out small cells in various hotspots. The Finnish vendor, which is in the process of acquiring rival Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), said its 3G and 4G small-cell technology would be used to support services in so-called "high-traffic" areas, including a number of indoor and outdoor locations in the capital city of Doha. According to Nokia, its experts used analytics tools to identify the hotspots before installing the Flexi Zone-branded small cells in necessary places, such as cafes and restaurant rooftops. The goal is to boost capacity and coverage as well as to reduce latency. (See Ooredoo Qatar to Deploy Nokia Small Cells.)
The governments of Serbia and Kosovo were reported to have moved closer to establishing normal relations by signing important energy and telecom agreements. According to Reuters, the telecom agreement will see Kosovo acquire its own telephone country code, a move that represents a tacit recognition of the country's sovereignty by Serbia, which controlled Kosovo before 1998, when the two countries went to war.
Emerging-markets operator Millicom International Cellular SA (Nasdaq: MICC) has appointed Cynthia Gordon as executive vice president and CEO of its Africa division. Gordon is to assume her new role on September 21 and will be responsible for operations in the six African markets of Tanzania, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Rwanda and Chad. Gordon has more than 20 years of experience in the telecom sector, having previously worked in senior executive roles at France's Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Qatar's Ooredoo.
China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has won the contract for Telefónica 's session border controller (SBC) project in Spain, claiming to have seen off competition from various rivals during a competitive tender. Under the contract, Huawei will provide SBCs to Telefónica in Spain over the next two years, helping the operator to support services based on voice over LTE, RCS (Rich Communications Suite) and voice over broadband. In its statement on the award, Huawei noted that its SE2900 technology is capable of supporting an evolution to NFV, which forms an integral part of Telefónica's networks strategy.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading