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Eurobites: DT Takes Full Control of Slovak Telecom

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT wants EE acquisition fast-tracked; Swedish startup launches mobile money gizmo; AlcaLu partners with KT on 5G; Nokia offers LTE-in-a-box.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s €900 million (US$1.01 billion) bid for the 49% of Slovak Telekom it doesn't already own has been accepted by the Slovakian government. Slovak Telecom, which is already a fully consolidated subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, is the market leader in fixed-line voice and fixed broadband, and the number two in mobile. In a statement, Claudia Nemat, board member for Europe and Technology at Deutsche Telekom, said it was Slovak Telecom's position as the only operator in the country with quad-play capabilities that was its main attraction.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has asked the UK's Competition and Markets Authority to fast-track the approval process relating to its proposed acquisition of mobile operator EE . In a statement, BT suggested that the Authority should move directly to Phase 2 of its investigation to help speed things up. BT, not surprisingly, maintains that the acquisition would not lessen competition in the UK market -- on the contrary, it will "lead to greater competition," according to CEO Gavin Patterson.

  • Swedish startup IZettle is launching a credit card reader that allows customers to pay by just tapping it with their smartphone or bank card, reports Bloomberg. The reader works with Apple Pay and Google Wallet, among other mobile payment apps, as well as with the traditional chip-and-PIN system. It will be launched first in the UK next month, and then be rolled out to other markets.

  • Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has signed a 5G collaboration agreement with South Korean carrier KT Corp. , initially focusing on AlcaLu's virtualized radio access network (vRAN) technology.

  • Nokia Networks has launched what it is calling an "LTE network in a box" for use in remote or rural locations and in areas that require temporary coverage, such as disaster zones. The vendor says the solution is essentially a compact macro basestation with integrated core network functions, can support thousands of users and can operate on FDD or TDD spectrum.

  • Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT), Russia's biggest mobile operator, has reported a 14.3% year-on-year drop in net income for the January-to-March quarter, to 10.9 billion rubles ($220 million), due mainly to the sharp depreciation of the Russian currency in recent months. The result was better than analysts had expected, according to a Reuters report, thanks to strong performances in Russia and Ukraine, the operator's second-largest market, in spite of difficult economic conditions. Group revenues rose by 2.7%, to RUB100.2 billion ($2 billion), compared with the same period last year.

  • Following Sigve Brekke's upgrading to overall president and CEO of Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), Morten Sørby has been named head of Telenor's Asia region. Sørby has been with the Nordic operator since 1993, most recently as CEO of Uninor , Telenor's wholly owned subsidiary in India.

  • On this day, 21 years ago, The Guardian carried a report on what was then the nascent and still niche phenomenon of the Internet and World Wide Web. Among other nuggets, it revealed that "on a typical day last month," this new-fangled content carrier had added "an Internet Chess Server, an electronic clearing house for health science information, some new technical services and the TV series Blake's 7 (scripts and video excerpts)." The report also predicted that "to call someone a geek may yet become a compliment." That last one's probably still a work in progress.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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