Eurobites: MTN Eyes Majority Stake in Telkom

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT begins ₤1 billion share placement; mobile edge startup raises funds from SoftBank and Akamia; Ofcom's green light for white spaces.

  • South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. Group is eyeing a majority stake in landline operator Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) as a way to take on market leader Vodacom Pty. Ltd. , according to Bloomberg. Unnamed sources say exploratory discussions have been taking place in recent months, though no final decision has been made. Telkom has a market value of $3.4 billion and is 40% controlled by the state.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has begun a ₤1 billion ($1.53 billion) placement of shares to help fund its £12.5 billion ($19.2 billion) acquisition of mobile operator EE and pay for its share of Premier League soccer TV rights over the next three years, reports the Daily Telegraph. The UK incumbent will issue new ordinary shares of 5 pence each to institutional investors. (See BT Locks Down £12.5B EE Takeover Deal and BT, Sky Splash £5.1B on Premier League Rights.)

  • Saguna Networks , the Israeli mobile edge computing specialist, has closed a funding round in which it attracted investment from SoftBank Corp. and Akamai Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM). Saguna aims to help mobile operators improve user experience, monetization and network economics by bringing Internet content and applications into the radio access network (RAN), as close as possible to mobile users. Saguna plans to use the funding -- amount undisclosed -- to expand its presence in North America, Asia and Europe, and for product development. (See Saguna Raises Funds From SoftBank, Akamai.)

  • UK regulator Ofcom has given its approval for the use of so-called "white space" technology for wireless applications. "White spaces" are the gaps in radio spectrum in TV frequency bands, and they have the advantage of being able to travel longer distances and go more easily through walls than the bands used by some other wireless, such as Bluetooth and WiFi.

  • Nokia Networks and Coriant are claiming a first with their extension of the intelligent self-organizing network (SON) principle to mobile backhaul, allowing network systems to adapt automatically to a rise or fall in the amount of traffic. The companies are planning to demonstrate their proof-of-concept at Mobile World Congress.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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