Broadband services

Eurobites: Telecom Italia Mulls European M&A

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: rural broadband rumblings in the UK; smart metering in the Middle East; KPN sells contact center unit.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has hinted that consolidation in Europe could be on the cards, according to a Reuters report, citing a Brazilian newspaper. CEO Marco Patuano said that while his company had considered M&A action in Brazil -- where it controls around 67% of mobile operator TIM Participacoes S.A. -- it had come to the conclusion that it wasn't the right time, but that the direction of the market in Europe meant that consolidation there was vital. Are we entering an era of buy or die? The bankers will be hoping so.

  • The rumblings of discontent regarding rural broadband access in the UK continue. The Financial Times reports (subscription required) that an influential group of MPs has warned that some rural communities are being denied broadband of even the most basic variety while providers focus on improving already-decent speeds in easier-to-reach areas. The farming community is particularly unhappy, not least because claims for European subsidy funding will have to be made online as from the end of this year. Time for FTTB (fiber-to-the-barn).

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has teamed up with energy management firm Landis+Gyr to implement smart metering and smart grid projects in the Middle East. Under the terms of the deal, the pair will support utility providers across the region with smart grid offerings. (See Ericsson Teams Up for Smart Grid Solution in Middle East .)

  • Dutch incumbent KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) is selling its German contact center business, SNT Deutschland, to Livia Group for an undisclosed amount. In 2014, SNT generated revenues of approximately €90 million (US$102 million). (See KPN Sells SNT Deutschland to Livia.)

  • Sky is close to unveiling its 4K TV-capable set-top box, which could be a vital weapon in its fight with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) over the soccer fans' wallet, reports the Daily Telegraph. The box will also offer multiscreen viewing and the ability to store recorded programs online for access on the move. BT trumped Sky by winning exclusive rights to show Champions League European soccer next season.

  • South African operator Vodacom Pty. Ltd. has signed a multi-million-dollar deal with billing software provider Redknee Inc. (Toronto TSX: RKN). Vodacom will upgrade to the latest version of Redknee Unified to help support its data/LTE growth strategy. (See Vodacom Upgrades Its BSS With Redknee.)

  • Kerrang! A Scottish startup is attracting attention with a WiFi device that, says the company, obviates the need for a cable running from an electric guitar to an amp, reports the Daily Telegraph. The device, called "Jack," can transmit sound "nearly 13 times quicker" than conventional Bluetooth, according to its creator, John Crawford. Yes, but can you still turn the volume up to 11?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • PaulERainford 2/3/2015 | 11:35:48 AM
    Rural broadband To be fair to the farmers, it is quite hard for them to make subsidy claims online when they haven't got any broadband. Someone didn't think it through...
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