Mobile services

Eurobites: Italy Blesses €20B Wind/3 Italia Merger

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT to roll out NYC-style WiFi kiosks in London; Dubai, Huawei team up on airport data centers; the Internet of Pets.

  • Italy's Ministry of Economic Development has given the go-ahead to the merger of 3 Italia and Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA , the Financial Times reports (subscription required), clearing the final hurdle to the €20 billion (US$21.75 billion) deal. Wind is owned by VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP), which has its headquarters in Amsterdam but most of its customers in Russia, while 3 Italia is part of the globe-girdling Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) empire. The European Commission cleared the deal last month, but only after the two protagonists agreed to sell some of their assets to France's Iliad (Euronext: ILD), which is set to become Italy's fourth mobile operator. (See Eurobites: Hutch, VimpelCom's Italian Job Gets EC Blessing.)

  • London is to follow in the footsteps of New York City by allowing kiosks that offer free, ad-supported WiFi to be installed on its streets. The project is a joint venture between BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Intersection (the people behind LinkNYC) and Primesight, a UK advertising company. BT says the kiosks will offer downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s, and will offer services such as device charging and access to maps as well as the WiFi connection. The kiosks will be funded by advertising displayed on their digital displays. (See Qualcomm Spills LinkNYC's Guts.)

    An 'artist's impression' of one of the BT kiosks that will offer free WiFi on London's streets.
    An "artist's impression" of one of the BT kiosks that will offer free WiFi on London's streets.

  • The Dubai airports authority has teamed up with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to build what the Chinese giant is describing as the world's first Tier 3-certified modular data center complex, at Dubai International airport (DXB). This will be the first of two modular facilities that Huawei is building for the authority, which will act as a pair of "mirrored" data centers connected by a dedicated fiber link, providing, it is hoped, a stable environment for the authority's private cloud.

  • It's the Even Newer IP -- the Internet of Pets. Tractive, an Austria-based developer of hardware, apps and sundry gadgets for pet owners, has signed an IoT connectivity contract with Orange Business Services , under the terms of which OBS will provide Tractive with SIM cards for the Tractive GPS product that helps pet owners locate their missing four-legged loved ones.

    He's not lost, he's just window shopping.
    He's not lost, he's just window shopping.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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