Mobile services

Eurobites: 3 Sparks Rumble in UK's Spectrum Jungle

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Etisalat gives VoLTE a try; Sigfox rolls into Singapore; public service broadcasting holds steady.

  • A full-on spectrum spat is brewing in the UK, reports The Telegraph, with Three UK CEO Dave Dyson calling for new regulation that would prevent any single operator from owning more than 30% of total mobile spectrum. Naturally, 3's aspirations have been dismissed by rivals BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Vodafone UK as a call for special treatment. 3's desire for a larger slice of the spectrum cake is largely prompted by its failure to merge with Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), a deal that was vetoed by both the European Union and Ofcom , the UK's regulatory authority. (See Eurobites: EU vetoes O2/3 combo and Brexit Batters Telefónica's O2 Sale Plans.)

  • UAE-based Etisalat is hoping to strike back against over-the-top chat apps from the likes of Facebook and Google by introduced high-definition voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) calling, reports The National.

  • France's Sigfox has teamed up with power company Engie and local operator UnaBiz to extend Sigfox's global Internet of Things (IoT) network to Singapore. The rollout of the network will form part of Singapore's ongoing Smart Nation Initiative.

  • The viewing figures for public service broadcasting in the UK appear to be holding steady, despite the continuing rise of alternative content channels, such as the OTT options provided by Amazon Prime and Sky's Now TV. This is one of the findings of Ofcom's latest PSB Annual Research Report, which found that the main five public service channels in the UK accounted for 51% of all broadcast viewing in 2015, a figure that has changed little in the last three years. Ten years ago PSBs held a 70% share of the viewing figures.

  • And talking of relative newcomers to the UK broadcast sector, mobile operator EE is attempting to lure new customers with the promise of six months' free access to the BT Sport app, which screens, among other sporting goodies, UEFA Champions League soccer and the European Rugby Champions Cup. Once the free period has expired, customers will be charged £5 (US$6.48) a month for the service. EE became part of BT in January. (See BT Gets Final Go-Ahead for $17.9B EE Takeover and Confirmed: BT's Got Euroballs.)

  • UK-based set-top box specialist Amino Technologies plc (London: AMO) saw revenues soar 84% year-on-year, to £33 million ($42.7 million), in its first-half results, while profits rose 58% to £14.4 million ($18.6 million). During the period, 2015 acquisitions Booxmedia and Entone were brought fully into the Amino fold. (See Amino Reports 'Encouraging' H1 Results, Amino Scoops Up Set-Top Company Entone and Amino Acquires Cloud TV Player Booxmedia.)

  • Cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has identified the next 30 UK locations that are to be offered the opportunity to be connected up to its fiber network and benefit from downlink speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s. Most of the locations are to be found close to a line that runs from Hampshire in the south to North Yorkshire in the north, though there are a couple of Welsh outliers, one near Bridgend and the other in the Rhondda. They are due to be connected by spring 2017. (See Virgin Media Plots £3B Invasion of BT Turf.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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