Broadband services

Eurobites: Orange Gets EC Nod on Jazztel

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ireland's eircom rejects takeover offer; BT appeals against "margin squeeze" test; Amino buys cloud TV specialist; UFO sighted in York.

  • The European Commission has approved Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s proposed €3.4 billion (US$4.4 billion) acquisition of Jazztel plc , a Spanish broadband provider, following the French giant's agreement to a number of concessions. As part of the authorization, Orange will sell a fiber network representing 720,000 building units, largely comprising what the carrier describes as "redundant connections between the existing networks of Orange and Jazztel." The acquisition will strengthen Orange's position in Spain, particularly in relation to Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), which acquired cable operator Ono there in 2014. (See Fiber Sizzles in Spain as Orange Targets Jazztel.)

  • Ireland's eir has rejected a takeover bid of between €3.2 billion and €3.3 billion, reports Reuters. The operator said the offer, from an unnamed bidder, was "very credible" but ultimately undervalued the business.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has lodged an appeal with the UK's Competition Appeals Tribunal against regulator Ofcom 's new "margin squeeze" test, claiming that the test as it stands would hamper its ability to compete with Sky in the pay-TV market. As the Daily Telegraph reports, the appeal could herald BT's first battle with Ofcom's recently installed CEO, Sharon White. (See BT, EE Put Squeeze on Broadband Rivals.)

  • UK-based set-top box and IPTV/OTT video gateway vendor Amino Technologies plc (London: AMO) is acquiring Finnish cloud TV platform specialist Booxmedia for "an initial consideration of €7.9 million" ($8.8 million). The acquisition will enable Amino to "to offer 'TV everywhere' solutions to new market segments in OTT multiscreen TV."

  • UK competitive broadband service providers TalkTalk and Sky have unveiled the brand for the Gigabit broadband FTTH service they are set to launch in the UK city of York, where they will be using the fiber network built by CityFibre , the competitive wholesale dark fiber operator. The brand? Ultra Fibre Optic, or UFO. The website used for the launch makes use of that "pun": "News is spreading fast, with UFO sightings around the city: TalkTalk and Sky are busy making York the UK's first Ultra Fibre Optic city." Exciting for York's residential and business customers though that is, there are currently no details available about pricing or the date when commercial services will go live, though that is expected to happen in the third quarter of this year. So, currently, you could say that UFO stands for Unspecified Fiber Offer. (See CityFibre, TalkTalk & Sky to Speed Up York FTTH Rollout and CityFibre Aims for BT's Wholesale Business.)

  • T-Venture , the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), has successfully sold its shares in Munich-based Lantiq Semiconductor , which was founded as a spin-off of Infineon Technologies AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: IFX) in 2009 and later acquired by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC).

  • TalkTalk Business, the enterprise arm of the UK quad-play challenger, has unveiled a new SIP product following the acquisition of tIPicall. Prospective customers will be offered, amongst other things, free SIP trunking with on-net data.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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