Mobile services

Eurobites: Orange in M&A Talks With Bouygues – Report

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: European Commission wants a word with Qualcomm; Deutsche Telekom launches secure public cloud; connecting Africa.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) is in preliminary talks to buy the phone and TV businesses of Bouygues Telecom , the French conglomerate, according to a Bloomberg report. Bouygues has found the going tough in the mobile market since the arrival of low-cost Iliad (Euronext: ILD) on the scene in 2012, though last month it appeared to have turned a corner, raising its profitability targets for the year. Earlier this year it rejected a takeover bid from rival Altice , which had hoped to merge Bouygues with its Numericable-SFR unit. One analyst cited by Bloomberg believes Orange may offer as much as €10 billion (US$11 billion) for the operator. (See France's Bouygues Hikes Profitability Targets and Bouygues Says 'Non' to Altice.)

  • The European Commission has sent two Statements of Objections to Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), informing the chip maker that it believes that Qualcomm may have illegally paid an unnamed major customer for exclusively using its chipsets and sold chipsets below cost price in a bid to push Icera Inc. out of the market.

  • But the Commission has other things on its To Do list, according to MEPs (members of the European Parliament). Responding to the Commission's annual competition report for 2014, MEPs said that the Commission should speed up and extend the scope of its investigation into why Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) offers its Android operating system only in conjunction with other Google services, and why device manufacturers allegedly may not pre-install rival offerings.

  • Russian operator Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has launched MTS Connect, an OTT (over-the-top) service for making calls, sending messages and sharing files based on Rich Communications Services (RCS) technology. MTS Connect will be available to MTS customers to download as an app on iOS and Android smartphones, initially in Moscow.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has launched what it says is a "highly secure" public cloud based on a Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) platform. The cloud, which will be managed by T-Systems International GmbH , is targeted at the Internet of Things. The service will be available to businesses at contract-free prices starting at €0.05 per hour. In a separate move, the German incumbent has set up a new unit focused on security offerings, which will in time swallow up the existing security departments from elsewhere in the Deutsche Telekom group. It will be headed up by Dr. Ferri Abolhassan, currently managing director of the IT division at T-Systems.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has announced that the 14,530km system upgrade -- from 10G to 100G -- of the West African Cable System (WACS) has gone live. WACS, which launched in 2012, is owned and operated by a consortium of 18 international and regional carriers. (See Africa's Data Dilemma.)

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is to create a nationwide WiFi network for its customers, with hotspots available at a range of UK locations, including high streets and airports, reports Broadband TV News.

  • SSE Enterprise Telecoms, a UK provider of network infrastructure and data center services, has opened a third network operation center, in the southern English county of Berkshire.

  • AirWave Wireless Inc. , which currently operates the UK's public-safety network and is about to be acquired by Motorola Solutions Inc. (NYSE: MSI), has dropped a legal injunction that was attempting to block work on the network's replacement, reports the Daily Telegraph. Mobile joint venture EE is slated to run the replacement emergency network on its 4G network. (See Motorola Pays $1.2B for UK Public-Safety Operator.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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