Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: 400G in Cape Town; Orange to sell secure smartphone; Dixons Carphone makes hay in the holidays.
French operator Iliad (Euronext: ILD) is considering a move into the UK market, and has already let the UK regulator know it is interested in crossing the English Channel, according to a Financial Times report (subscription required). To make a successful foray into Britain, the report says that Iliad would have to get its hands on infrastructure freed up as a condition of the proposed merger of Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) and Three UK , which has yet to receive the approval of the European competition authorities. Iliad, controlled by buccaneering billionaire Xavier Niel, is viewed by many as the enfant terrible of the French telecom market, having made life difficult for its rivals with keen pricing for both mobile (under the Free brand) and fixed-line services. (See Iliad Plans Next Assault on French Rivals.)
Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s security arm, Orange Cyberdefense, has signed a partnership deal with Atos to sell its Hoox smartphone, which Orange describes as the most secure smartphone on the market. The contract covers the EMEA region. The Hoox smartphone was designed by Bull SA , the technology brand of Atos, and encrypts voice and SMS data and all data stored or exchanged.
Dixons Carphone , UK-based mobile phone retailer, has announced in a trading statement that it performed well in the crucial period covering Black Friday and Christmas, with like-for-like sales up 5% year-on-year in the ten weeks to January 9. It is predicting pre-tax profits for the full year in the range £440 million (US$627 million) to £450 million ($641 million). It also revealed plans to close 134 of its standalone stores in the UK as it rolls out its "3-in-1" store concept, which merges PC World and Currys stores and inserts a Carphone Warehouse, though the company believes that the strategy will not result in net job losses.
Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has combined with South Korea's KT Corp. to carry out what it says is the industry's first trial of eMTC (enhanced Machine Type Communications) using Nokia's radio technology. Also referred to as LTE-M, eMTC is a feature that will be fully standardized with 3GPP Release 13, providing data rates of up to 1 Mbit/s. According to Nokia, operators can deploy LTE-M with a straightforward software upgrade to their existing LTE networks. (See Nokia, KT Trial LTE-M.)
UK regulator Ofcom has introduced a new, voluntary code of conduct for providers of broadband to businesses, which is intended to provide businesses with clearer information about the broadband service being offered before they commit to it. So far, seven broadband providers have signed up to the code -- BT Business, Daisy Communications, KCOM, TalkTalk Business, Virgin Media, XLN and Zen.
UK-based Juniper Research Ltd. is predicting that at least one in three home routers will be used as public WiFi hotspots by 2017, with many of the homeowners involved blissfully unaware that their routers are being used in this way. Several major broadband providers in Europe -- BT, UPC and Virgin Media among them -- have adopted the "homespot" model as a cheap way of expanding their WiFi coverage.
Re: Iliad Eyes UK Market Mind you, that doesn't mean there can't be more disruption in the UK. Israel is a possible comparator. MVNOs, aided by the regulators, have caused havoc for the facilites based MNOs -- arguably, it's a warning for the UK market.
Xavier Niel is a backer of the MVNO Hot Mobile in Israel.
Iliad Eyes UK Market An interesting prospect, but the UK is very different market to France when Free (Iliad) entered. Even after the recent consolidation, the UK is competitive with good pricing. At the time, France was expensive for mobile data and ripe for disruption.