Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: French startup has grand designs on IoT; Deutsche Telekom does CRM deal; domestic strife for Telefónica.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s plan to make a return to the consumer mobile market in the UK may have hit a significant bump in the road, according to a Daily Telegraph report. An unnamed source told the newspaper that, in tests, BT is having problems with WiFi handoff for voice calls, with calls suffering from interruption as they transfer from a WiFi connection to a cellular connection. WiFi handoff is a major plank of BT's mobile strategy -- without it functioning properly it would be over-reliant on the the national 4G spectrum it is leasing off EE , and that would push up its operating costs. (See BT Embraces Small Cells for Mobile Push, BT's Wireless Re-Entry Starts With Small Cells, Euronews: BT Signs 4G MVNO Deal and Euronews: BT's Back in Wireless.)
More evidence that the Internet of Things (IoT) is being seen as the Next Big Thing (NBT): The Financial Times reports (subscription required) that French startup Sigfox is looking to raise at least €50 million (US$62.7 million) to fund the construction of a European cellular network aimed squarely at the IoT, comprising billions of tiny chips and sensors. Sigfox currently provides Spanish security group Securitas with a network to connect smart home security systems.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has agreed a reseller deal with Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) vendor SugarCRM, under the terms of which DT's T-Systems International GmbH unit will resell Sugar as a hosted cloud solution on its infrastructure, focusing initially on the German, Austrian and Swiss markets. (See D Telekom Resells SugarCRM as Cloud Service.)
The domestic mobile market doesn't get any easier for Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF): The operator has lost subscribers in Spain for the 19th successive month, according to Reuters, citing a report by the Spanish telecom watchdog covering July's numbers. Telefonica now has 16.42 million mobile customers. Meanwhile, rivals Orange Spain and Vodafone España S.A. -- which have recently taken over Spanish (non-mobile) operators Jazztel plc and ONO respectively -- have increased their market share.
The European Commission has approved the $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook . After due consideration, the Commission concluded that the two are not close competitors and that consumers "would continue to have a wide choice of alternative consumer communications apps after the transaction." (See Eurobites: EC Probes Facebook/WhatsApp Deal and Facebook to Acquire WhatsApp for $16B.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading