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Eurobites: Bouygues Deal Decision Imminent

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EC sets date for 'Nokalu' decision; Ericsson does LTE FDD/TDD carrier aggregation in Portugal; Glastonbury latest.

  • Today, at around 5 p.m. French time, the head of Bouygues will decide whether he is ready to sell the conglomerate's telecom business to Altice, reports Reuters. Martin Bouygues, whose father built the company, has in effect the final say on whether the $11.3 billion bid from Altice will be accepted or not. However, even if Martin Bouygues approves, it seems the French government doesn't. France's economy minister said on Monday that the deal could create an operator that is "too big to fail." (See Altice Confirms Bid for Bouygues Telecom and Altice's Bouygues Bid Creates 700MHz Confusion.)

  • On the subject of French acquisitions, Reuters reports that European Union antitrust regulators have set a date for their pronouncement on whether Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) 's proposed $17.7 billion takeover of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) can go ahead: July 27. The deal has already been approved by antitrust authorities in the US, Brazil and Serbia. (See Eurobites: 'NokaLu' Clears Another Hurdle, Nokia's Suri Defends AlcaLu Deal Against Critics, Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On? and Nokia Makes €15.6B Bid for Alcatel-Lucent.)

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is to implement LTE FDD/TDD carrier aggregation technology on its Portuguese network later this year. Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which is supplying the technology, claims this is the first such deployment in a commercial network. Adding TDD to the already installed FDD network "significantly" enchances the total downlink data capacity and improves the overall mobile broadband experience for the customer, says Ericsson. Elsewhere on the Iberian peninsula, Vodafone Spain is trialing LTE Broadcast technology with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , in theory allowing the distribution of multimedia content to an unlimited number of users. During a match between Valencia and Celta, a chosen few users could have real-time access to five channels of multimedia content being broadcast from the game, by using smartphones that support the new eMBMS technology.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Coriant have achieved what the vendor claims is a world record in C-band transmission capacity and distance in a field trial over a 762km link connecting the French cities of Lyon and Marseille. The trial used 16QAM (24 Tbit/s) and 64QAM (38.4 Tbit/s) modulation formats in a live networking environment.

  • The UK Post Office has launched a low-cost mobile service on the network of EE , the country's biggest mobile operator. The organization is offering calls to landlines and mobiles at a cost of £0.08 ($0.13) per minute -- which it claims is 77% cheaper than prices charged by certain other providers -- and bundles of voice minutes, texts and data for as little as £5 ($7.89). The Post Office announced the MVNO deal with EE as far back as July 2014 and had originally intended to launch the service about six months ago. Presumably it got lost in the post.

  • The merger of the respective Danish operations of Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) and Sweden's Telia Company looks likely to face objections from EU antitrust regulators, according to a Reuters report. Concessions from one or both parties may be needed to ease the deal over the finishing line.

  • The drug-addled mudbath that is the Glastonbury Festival starts Wednesday. The Who, and lots of other acts Team Eurobites has never heard of, will be appearing on stage, albeit as tiny dots in the middle distance. Mobile operator EE will be providing a "charging bull" (see below) for the event, allowing festival-goers to both charge up their mobiles and access WiFi. Team Eurobites wants one for its communal chillax garden. It's inspired by Field Marshall, a real-life but now sadly deceased bull from the Glastonbury area, who held the title of "Britain's Biggest Bull."

    He likes to moooove it, moooove it.
    He likes to moooove it, moooove it.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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