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Eurobites: IoT Drives UK Merger

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TalkTalk TV takes off; SFR numbers heading south; Nokia pays off 5,000 at troublesome Indian plant.

  • It was an odd name to start with and now it's even odder. Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW), the UK's long-established (in telecom terms) independent mobile phone retailer, is to merge with electricals store chain Dixons to become -- wait for it -- Dixons Carphone. According to this BBC report, the move has been made very much with the so-called Internet of Things (IoT) in mind. In simple terms, the idea is that Dixons knows about the refrigerators/washing machines/tumble dryers, and Carphone Warehouse knows about the connectivity issues that will, so the theory goes, turn all these dumb white goods into smart appliances in the near future, with mobile devices and wireless connectivity playing a key role. The deal, which will see the two companies as equal partners, is worth £3.8 billion ($6.3 billion).

  • TalkTalk , the UK broadband provider and budget pay-TV operator, is seeing its TV service investment pay off, at least in terms of subscriber numbers. In its full-year financials, the company reveals that it now has the fastest-growing TV business in the UK, attracting more than 1 million customers in its 18 months since launch and 687,000 in the year to March 31. Indeed, CEO Dido Harding claims that TalkTalk is growing "faster than all the other UK TV operators put together." Investment in its TV service, however, put a large dent in its profits, with full-year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) down from £290 million (US$486 million) in 2013 to £213 million ($357 million) this time around.

  • French mobile operator SFR , which is the process of being sold by Vivendi to Numericable-SFR , saw its first-quarter revenues fall 5.8% year-on-year to €2.44 billion ($3.33 billion), while EBITDA slipped 11% to €625 million ($853 million). Earlier this month SFR renewed its enterprise-oriented collaboration with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) in France for another four years, providing fixed and mobile services to multinationals as well as roaming services. (See Eurobites: Numericable Wins SFR M&A Tussle.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has announced that 5,000 workers at its plant in Chennai, India, have accepted voluntary redundancy terms after the vendor was unable to reach an agreement with the authorities over a tax dispute related to the plant, reports Bloomberg. The plant was originally intended to form part of the handsets unit sale to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), but was removed from the deal because of the tax implications.

  • Sweden's Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has launched its IPX (Internet Protocol Exchange) solution, which is intended to enable the company to provide data-heavy services such as streaming content, HD Voice, and LTE roaming on top of the Tele2 Eurocore data backbone. Tele2 has 14 million customers in ten countries.

  • Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. wants to bring its "smart cities" vision to Europe, and has used a recent forum in Beijing to forge links with the relevant government authorities to drive its program forward. More than 200 delegates took part in the forum, discussing the key smart city issues and how technology in general -- and telecom technology in particular -- can play its part. (See Huawei, Governments to Develop Green Smart Cities.)

  • Telia Company is to acquire a stake in Zound Industries, the Swedish startup behind "electronic accessory" brands Urbanears, Marshall, Coloud, and Molami. The plan is that TeliaSonera will be able to incorporate über-trendy earphones and headphones and such on its handsets. Here at cost-conscious Eurobites Towers, we prefer to use those ones you get for free on airplanes.

    Urbanears: Cool or what?
    Urbanears: Cool or what?

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • PaulERainford 5/16/2014 | 12:15:45 PM
    Re: TeliaSonera I think streaming music is gonna be part of the deal, hence the hideous headphones. When I need headphones, I borrow my daughter's One Direction ones. Now THAT'S style.
    sarahthomas1011 5/16/2014 | 11:35:30 AM
    TeliaSonera Do TeliaSonera's plans extend into streaming music at all, or is that really just about those hideous headphones?
    sarahthomas1011 5/16/2014 | 11:34:32 AM
    Carphones? Sounds like Dixons Carphones is a very forward-thinking company...so why's the name so backward? Carphones?! I remember those!
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