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Broadband services

Eurobites: Orange Agrees €3.4B Jazztel Buy

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Spirent buys Mobilethink; Nokia entrenches in Nigeria; Virgin Media digs trenches, skinny-style; Phones 4u fallout.

  • Vindicating speculation on the matter earlier this month, Salt SA is to bolster its Spanish operations with the planned acquisition of broadband provider Jazztel plc for €3.4 billion (US$4.4 billion). The French giant is putting its faith in the power of the bundle, saying in a statement that it is "accelerating the movement of its customers towards convergent offers." The offer is subject to regulatory approval. (See Eurobites: Orange Eyes Spanish Acquisitions.)

  • British test system specialist Spirent Communications plc is continuing its M&A spree with the acquisition of Mobilethink A.S. , a mobile device management firm based in Denmark, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Tweakker . The deal is worth $20 million. Mobilethink has more than 100 mobile operator and MVNO customers worldwide. (See Spirent Acquires Mobilethink and July M&A Madness! Spirent, SPIT Vendors Lead the Way.)

  • Etisalat Nigeria has extended its managed services contract with Nokia Networks for three more years. Under the terms of the deal, Nokia Networks will manage the operator's 3G and GSM networks, seeking to increase their efficiency and improve the mobile broadband experience for its customers.

  • The billionaire founder of Phones 4u Ltd. , the independent mobile phone retailer that went into administration in the UK on Monday with the likely loss of more than 5,000 jobs, has been doing the media rounds this morning, accusing the major mobile networks of conspiring to eliminate his former company from the high street. In an interview with the BBC's Today program, John Cauldwell said: "I believe the networks have absolutely colluded on this," and he expands on his theme in this Daily Telegraph video interview. Could an Office of Fair Trading investigation be in the offing?

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), the UK cable operator, is trialing a "narrow-trenching" approach to fiber-laying in Papworth, a village in the eastern county of Cambridgeshire. The operator claims the method, which involves digging a trench just 10cm (4 inches) wide instead of the usual 40cm, could reduce the cost of network rollout by a third.

  • And talking of Virgin, Mr Virgin himself, Sir Richard Branson, is one of the investors in Sidecar, a ride-sharing app startup and wannabe rival to Uber in the US, reports Reuters. Sidecar says it has raised $15 million in its most recent funding round.

  • Russian mobile operator VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) is to sell its majority stake in Canada's Wind Mobile to its current minority owner, Globalive Communications Corp. , for around C$300 million ($272 million), according to a Reuters report.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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