Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange/Bouygues talks drag on; Ericsson and Telefónica demo LTE-U; Sigfox hires a Wolff.
The European Commission has opened what it calls an "in-depth investigation" into the proposed joint venture between VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) subsidiary Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA and Hutchison's H3G Italy . The Commission is worried that the venture, which would create the largest Italian mobile operator by subscribers, could lead to higher prices and less choice for customers. It is the latest sign that the EC's competition authority, now led by Margrethe Vestager, is taking a harder line on market consolidation within EU member states.
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Telefónica have demonstrated live, over-the-air delivery of LTE-U over the Spanish giant's network, using Ericsson's RBS 6402 small cell. LTE-U enables operators to use unlicensed 5GHz spectrum in combination with their licensed LTE spectrum.
The Egyptian stock exchange suspended trading of shares in state-owned Telecom Egypt on Wednesday after the government replaced all its representatives on the operator's board of directors, reports Gulf News.
NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) has been chosen to update Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) 's IP network in Sweden and Norway. Under the terms of a five-year deal, the vendor will supply routing, switching and security equipment, as well as training, spare parts, technical support and maintenance services.
UK regulator Ofcom has published its Smartphone Cities report, which provides information on mobile network performance across five UK cities, namely Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London and Norwich. EE came out well in the tests, with the fastest downlink speeds in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Liverpool and London. Interestingly, London had the slowest average downlink speeds across all operators, at just 12 Mbit/s.
A group of Swiss banks and retailers are looking to work together with Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) on a mobile payments platform for the country, reports Reuters. Initial progress on the project is expected by early May.