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Eurobites: Regulator Casts Doubt on O2/3 Deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sky speaks up for O2/3 deal; Nokia's patents settlement with Samsung doesn't impress investors; Telenor buys analytics firm.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s acquisition of EE may be all systems go, but will the proposed merger of Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) and Three UK get the go-ahead from the powers-that-be? Well, it's certainly not a shoo-in, not least because the head of UK regulator Ofcom , Sharon White, has said the merger could push up prices for UK mobile phone users, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). The £10.5 billion (US$15 billion) deal goes before the European Commission this week, which is expected to issue a list of objections on competition grounds. (See UK Needs O2/3 to Challenge BT/EE – Analyst, Telefónica Seals $15.2B O2 Sale to Hutchison and Eurobites: Ofcom Sounds Alarm on O2 Deal.)

  • Pay-TV operator Sky , however, has given its blessing to the O2/3 deal, as the Daily Telegraph reports. Mai Fyfield, Sky's chief strategy officer, said that it is a good thing for all the MVNOs sitting on that network that future investment in the network is guaranteed. "If it's blocked there is going to be a question over what happened to Telefónica," she said. "They don't look like they are interested in being a long-term owner."

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) says it has received a positive decision from the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in relation to its patent license battle with Samsung Corp. but, as Reuters reports, investors weren't thrilled by the financial terms of the settlement. Nokia said the deal would increase sales at its Nokia Technologies patents unit to around €1.02 billion ($1.12 billion) in 2015, including catch-up payments, compared with €578 million ($628.6 million) in 2014.

  • Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is to acquire Tapad, a US-based analytics firm, for $360 million. The Scandinavian link is Norwegian entrepreneur Are Traasdahl, who established Tapad in 2010. Tapad claims to offer its customers a "holistic" view of consumers across a range of devices and screens.

  • Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has launched a nationwide 4G network in Croatia that covers 90% of the country's population and offers downlink speeds of up to 150 Mbit/s. The operator says that once its joint venture in Kazakhstan is concluded it will offer 4G right across its footprint.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is boasting that 100 operators now use its Radio Dot System, a small cells technology that it says improves indoor app coverage in office buildings, shopping malls, college campuses and hospitals. The latest Dot convert is China's Sichuan Mobile. Ericsson introduce Radio Dot in 2014. (See Ericsson Claims 100 Operator Users for Radio Dot.)

  • Lincolnshire County Council, a regional authority in eastern England, has been hit by a "ransomware" cyber attack, reports the BBC. As a result of Friday's attack, which demanded a £1 million ($1.43 million) ransom be paid to un-encrypt the affected data, the authority closed down its computer systems for four days.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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