Mobile services

Eurobites: Iliad Wants Larger Stake in T-Mob

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone Qatar buys state-owned broadband network; mobile data explodes in France; AlcaLu upgrades DE-CIX.

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD) is set to bid for a bigger stake in T-Mobile US Inc. , according to a Bloomberg report. The French operator originally bid for 56.6% of the Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) subsidiary, but it is thought Iliad has attracted some financial partners and will now try for a substantially larger slice, though still offering around $33 a share. (See Could Google, Microsoft Help Iliad Win Over T-Mobile? and Iliad's Bid for T-Mobile: This Ain't No Joke.)

  • Vodafone Qatar QSC , which is 23% owned by Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and 22% owned by the state-run Qatar Foundation, has reached a non-binding agreement to buy state-owned Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN) for 210 million riyals ($57.7 million). QNBN is in the midst of rolling out a fiber network across Qatar, which is expected to be completed in 2017.

  • The volume of data traffic on French mobile networks grew by 88.9% year-on-year in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest market statistics released by regulator Arcep . The watchdog also noted that 4G subscriptions have risen significantly, reaching 5.5 million at the end of June this year, an increase of 1.8 million from a year earlier, while there are now 78.4 million mobile SIM cards in circulation across France, up 4.8% year-on-year. ARCEP says that growth has been "spurred by the growing number of flat rate plans and by M2M market growth." In the fixed line market, there were 25.4 million broadband connections at the end of June, of which 2.3 million were "superfast" (delivering downstream speeds of 30 Mbit/s or more). Of those superfast connections, 715,000 were fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) lines, an increase of 68% compared with a year earlier. (See Arcep Releases Q2 Data on French Market.)

  • DE-CIX, the Frankfurt data center which describes itself as the world's largest IXP node, has upgraded its flagship Apollon Internet exchange with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU)'s new 7950 XRS-40 routing systems. This installation is the first of its kind outside the US, says the vendor.

  • Anite plc , the UK-based test and measurement vendor, is to acquire Xceed Technologies to bolster its analytics capabilities. Xceed will be absorbed into Anite's network testing business in Finland, the home of what was Nemo Technologies before it was acquired by Anite in 2006. The value of the Xceed deal was not disclosed. (See Anite Acquires Xceed Technologies and Anite Completes Nemo Buy.)

  • Orange Business Services has been chosen by Tesla, the electric car maker, to supply wireless connectivity to its fleet of Model S vehicles in France. Tesla drivers (or hopefully more often their passengers) will be able to tap into interactive navigation services, Internet radio, web browsing and remote diagnostics. (See Orange Business Services Teams With Tesla Motors and Connected Cars: Tether Today, Embed in 10.)

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) has signed a five-year deal with eir to supply the Irish operator with radio access solutions for its LTE, 3G and 2G networks. The €80 million ($101 million) deal includes multi-standard radio basestation equipment from the Ericsson RBS 6000 family, LTE RAN software and upgrades of existing 2G and 3G access network software. (See Ericsson Wins €80M Deal With eircom .)

  • UK regulator Ofcom has published a report which concludes that the average download speed delivered by cable broadband services in the UK exceeds that of "fiber" broadband (comprising mainly fiber-to-the-curb lines that use copper for the final connection to the customer's premises). In the six months to May 2014, cable connections delivered an average of 43.3 Mbit/s, compared with fiber at 42.0 Mbit/s. The average UK broadband speed, which includes regular ADSL connections, has now reached 18.7 Mbit/s, found the report.

  • Deutsche Telekom, Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) have been cleared of favoring their own content over that of their rivals by a European Commission investigation, Reuters reports. The probe was prompted by a complaint from US-based Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CCOI). (See Cogent Gearing for Another Peering Battle.)

  • Vodafone's M-Pesa mobile-based money transfer service, which dominates the market in Kenya, could face a stiff challenge from a new SIM card in the pipeline from Equity Bank, The Guardian reports. The card, which is thinner than the traditional SIM, sits on top of an existing SIM card and allows Equity customers to access its money transfer service without needing two phones.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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