U.S. FCC warns against blocking personal Wi-Fi access

Advises consumers who suspected such activities to file a complaint

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday warned hotels and other entities against blocking personal Wi-Fi access, or hot spots, saying it was illegal and could incur heavy fines.

Cablevision to launch WiFi phone service for data-hungry users

Such services could pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers

Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Cablevision System Corp said on Monday it would launch in February a wireless Internet phone service to give users an alternative to pricier data plans from cellular companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

The "Freewheel" phone service, which runs on any WiFi connection, is an attempt by Cablevision to retain and potentially add subscribers at a time when cable companies are losing out to lower-priced, bundled TV and Internet services from telecom firms.

AT&T to buy NII Holdings' wireless business in Mexico

Plans to combine Nextel Mexico with Iusacell, which the company acquired in November

Reuters

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc said it will buy bankrupt NII Holdings Inc's wireless business in Mexico for $1.875 billion, less outstanding net debt.

NII Holdings, the parent of Nextel operators in Latin America, filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States in September after struggling with $5.8 billion in debt and fierce competition in Brazil and Mexico.

AT&T plans to combine Nextel Mexico with Iusacell, which the company acquired in November for $1.7 billion.

Samsung talks to BlackBerry about $7.5 billion buyout - source

With a takeover of Blackberry, Samsung could make greater inroads into the corporate market

Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics recently offered to buy BlackBerry Ltd for as much as $7.5 billion, seeking its valuable patents as it battles Apple in the corporate market, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents seen by Reuters.

South Korea's Samsung proposed an initial price range of $13.35 to $15.49 per share, representing a premium of 38 percent to 60 percent over BlackBerry's current trading price, the source said on Wednesday.

Hutchison to buy Telefonica UK unit for $15.4 billion

Move comes only weeks after former BT entered exclusive talks with the owners of EE

Reuters

MADRID/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa Ltd has agreed to buy Telefonica's British mobile unit O2 for up to 10.25 billion pounds ($15.4 billion), hastening the consolidation of Britain's telecoms industry.

Hutchison already operates the Three Mobile network in Britain, and buying second-ranked O2, which has about 22 million subscribers, from the Spanish group will make it the top mobile operator in the country.

In China, VPN internet access tools suffer further disruptions

Technological arms race to one-up China's 'Great Firewall'

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - Internet services that allow people to freely access blocked websites and apps from within China have seen more severe disruptions this week, said three providers, moves that Chinese state media said were justified.

The services affected include popular Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers Astrill, StrongVPN and Golden Frog, which are engaged in a technological arms race to one-up China's highly sophisticated Great Firewall internet censorship system.

Samsung's Tizen smartphone makes poor first impression in India

Initial reaction of analysts and consumers after its Jan. 14 launch suggests the Z1 will struggle to get ahead

Reuters

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's first smartphone to run on its own operating system received a frosty welcome after its launch in India, with reviewers and consumers criticising its low-resolution cameras and dearth of software applications.

The South Korean giant's latest handset stands out not so much for its no-frills specifications but for what lies under the hood - the Tizen operating system Samsung has developed to rival Google Inc's Android platform.

Satellite startup Planet Labs raises $95 million

One of several startups aiming to harness technology allowing satellites to become smaller and less expensive

Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Planet Labs, a San Francisco-based private satellite operator founded by former NASA scientists, said on Tuesday it had raised $95 million to help build its business of selling satellite images and data to customers.

Data Collective, whose partner Zachary Bogue will join Planet Labs' board, led an equity funding round of $70 million. Western Technology Investment provided a debt facility of $25 million. All existing investors, including SpaceX backer Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, participated in the latest equity round.

Ericsson files complaint against Apple over tech license payments

Responding to a lawsuit from the iPhone maker earlier this month

Reuters

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Swedish telecom equipment supplier Ericsson said on Wednesday it filed a complaint against Apple Inc over mobile technology license payments, responding to a lawsuit from the iPhone maker earlier this month.

Ericsson said in its filing to a U.S. district court that Apple's license to use technology developed by the Swedish firm and used in many smartphones and tablet computers had expired, and that two years of negotiations had not led to a new deal.

Ericsson wants the court to determine whether its license offer to Apple is fair.

Facebook, Xiaomi discussed possible investment in the Chinese smartphone maker

Sources say Facebook wants to get into China, and Xiaomi is keen to expand outside

Reuters

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) - Mark Zuckerberg and Xiaomi Inc CEO Lei Jun discussed a potential investment by Facebook in China's top smartphone maker ahead of its $1.1 billion fundraising last month, but a deal never materialized, several people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

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