Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ericsson and Etisalat plan future together; Slim's Austrian alliance; antitrust warning.
Vodafone Germany claims it is the first European operator to have carried out live tests with LTE Broadcast, which is more long-windedly known as evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS). The trial took place at the home ground of the soccer team with the longest fan support scarves ever, Borussia Mönchengladbach, relaying action from their game against 1899 Hoffenheim. LTE Broadcast uses Single Frequency Network technology (like DVB-T) to distribute the signal to an unlimited number of recipients, who need an LTE-enabled device with an LTE Broadcast app. The final score was 2-2, in case you wondered. (See Vodafone Trials LTE Broadcast in Germany.)
It's day two, of course, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is still in announcement-overdrive mode: Today it's telling the world that it's collaborating with UAE's Etisalat in a partnership that will see the operator launch trials of Ericsson technologies such as the aforementioned LTE Broadcast, Ericsson Radio Dot System, and Ericsson's heterogeneous network smarts. The pair will also work together on what they describe as a "mobile identity-based service," using it as a foundation for so-called m-government, m-commerce and m-health services. (See Ericsson Dials Up Operator Support for Radio Dot.)
Carlos Slim, the billionaire owner of América Móvil S.A. de C.V. who is looking at increasing his presence in Europe, is getting positive feedback from the Austrian government on a possible alliance to control Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA), reports Reuters. América Móvil already holds a 27% stake in Telekom Austria, while the Austrian state has a 28% slice. (See Euronews: Austria Braced for Slim Bid .)
Still in Austria, the head of the country's antitrust authority has said that the European Union should learn lessons from the fact that Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY)'s acquisition of Orange Austria Telecommunication GmbH. ended up raising prices for the consumer, reports Bloomberg. Theodor Thanner warned that Brussels' tendency to wave deals through was bad for competition, adding that the same thing should not be allowed to happen with major deals currently being examined in Ireland and Germany. (See Euronews: EC to Thwart Telefónica's German M&A Plan?)
An important vote on the proposed scrapping of roaming charges within the European Union has been postponed for "procedural reasons," according to a Reuters report. The European Parliament's industry committee was to have taken a show of hands on the ending of roaming fees by 2016, among other agenda items, but a new date for the meeting is to be set in the next few days. (See Continental Shift and Euronews: EU Bigwigs Push Back Kroes Plan.)
Telia Carrier has flicked the switch on 4G roaming in Spain, for customers of Telia , NetCom AS , and Yoigo .
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading