Firefox takes on smartphone powers Apple, Google

Reuters

Mozilla, makers of the popular Firefox Internet browser, is preparing to challenge Google and Apple's grip on smartphone software.

A new Firefox operating system for mobile devices is set for a July release after winning the backing of 13 wireless service providers around the globe, including Spain's Telefonica (Madrid, Spain), China Unicom (Beijing, China) and America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico).

Ericsson wins major LTE deal with Telefonica UK

Network equipment maker Ericsson has struck an important deal with Telefonica O2 for the rollout of the operator’s 4G network in the large UK market.

Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) is to provide the whole of Telefonica O2’s (Slough, UK) core network, using Evolved Packet Core (EPC) technology, and 50% of the nationwide network using technology that supports 2G, 3G and 4G standards.

Divide between European and US telcos widens

Reuters

When the bosses of global mobile operators meet in Barcelona this week, there will be an elephant in the room: the widening gap between fast-growing and richly-valued U.S. telecoms companies and their ailing European counterparts.

A overcrowded market, tough regulations and recession are hampering European telcos' ability to invest in faster networks, increasing the risk that the region's flagging economy falls further behind the United States and parts of Asia.

Leap Wireless customer losses disappoint, shares fall

Reuters

Leap Wireless International Inc reported a 1.5 percent decline in quarterly revenue as it lost far more customers than Wall Street had feared, sending its shares down 7 percent.

The wireless service provider for budget-conscious customers who pay for calls in advance, said it lost 337,000 net customers in the fourth quarter. The average expectation on Wall Street was for losses of 55,000 customers, according to analysts.

France Telecom net income tumbles 79% on writedowns

Net income at France Telecom has tumbled by 79%, to €820 million ($1.1 billion), for the 2012 financial year, with writedowns on investments in Poland, Egypt and Romania largely to blame for the sharp decline.

The French incumbent has also reported a 2.7% decrease in revenues, to €43.5 billion, as tough competition in its domestic market and adverse regulatory measures took their toll.

Nokia Siemens Networks appoints new chief financial officer

Nokia Siemens Networks has revealed that Samih Elhage will become its new chief financial officer, replacing Marco Shroeter, who is to leave the company “with immediate effect”.

Previously the chief operating officer, Elhage will continue to report to chief executive Rajiv Suri, but the role of chief operating officer is to be “discontinued”.

T-Mobile USA hopes for prepaid growth with GoSmart brand

Reuters

T-Mobile USA, the No. 4 U.S. mobile provider, on Tuesday launched GoSmart Mobile, a nationwide prepaid wireless brand that will sell cellphone services to customers who want to pay for calls in advance.

The wireless operator, a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG (Bonn, Germany), has agreed to merge with smaller rival MetroPCS Communications (Richardson, USA). It is hoping to benefit from growth in the prepaid market to regain customers lost to rivals.

Rostelecom bets on mobile internet, cloud to grow

Reuters

Rostelecom hopes mobile broadband will offset declines in its core fixed-line calls business as it seeks a greater share of Russia's increasingly competitive telecoms market, CEO Alexander Provotorov told Reuters.

The state-controlled former long-distance call monopoly was beefed up in 2011 through a merger with several regional operators to challenge private players in more lucrative market segments such as mobile, broadband and pay TV.

China says US hacking accusations lack technical proof

Reuters

Accusations by a U.S. computer security company that a secretive Chinese military unit is likely behind a series of hacking attacks are scientifically flawed and hence unreliable, China's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

The statement came after the White House said overnight that the Obama administration has repeatedly taken up its concerns about cyber-theft at the highest levels of the Chinese government, including with Chinese military officials.

Australia's Leighton moots A$619.5 million deal with Ontario Teachers'

Australia’s Leighton Holdings Ltd says it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Teachers’) over the A$619.5 million ($638.4 million) sale of a 70% stake in its telecoms assets, which include Nextgen Networks, Metronode and Infoplex.

The Australian contractor, which is majority owned by Hochtief (Essen, Germany), has been looking to offload various assets to reduce its debts and had claimed in September that several parties were interested in acquiring its telecoms businesses.

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