MWC wrap-up: Vendors roll out backhaul solutions for small-cell complexity, more

Driven by increased consumer expectations for mobile broadband, solving operator problems by adding small cells to more traditional network topographies in outdoor environments was a recurring theme at this year’s Mobile World Congress. A roundup of some of the backhaul news from the shows follows.

T-Mobile USA to start BlackBerry Z10 business sales on March 11

Reuters

T-Mobile USA, the fourth biggest U.S. mobile service provider, said on Friday that it would start selling the highly anticipated and much delayed BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen smartphone to its business customers on March 11.

The U.S. unit of Deutsche Telekom said business customers could get delivery of the device by the end of next week. It declined to give a date for the consumer launch except to say that it would be before the end of March.

CeBIT: M2M market needs consolidation, says Arthur D. Little

The global M2M market remains too fragmented with too many small players to be a profitable mass-market opportunity.

That, at least, is the view of Ansgar Schlautmann, a principal with management consultancy Arthur D. Little, speaking at this week’s M2M Zone Conference at the CeBIT IT tradeshow in Hannover, Germany.

Schlautmann took a downbeat view of the industry’s current performance, arguing that consolidation is needed to improve its fortunes.

CeBIT: European operators urge M2M standardization, collaboration

European operators have called for greater progress on the development of “horizontal” M2M standards independent of the vertical industries they are addressing.

Speaking at this week’s M2M Zone Conference at the CeBIT tradeshow in Hannover, Jurgen Hase, the head of M2M for Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany), warned operators that if they built up “silos”, as they have done in the past, they would fail.

“We need standards for different layers – not just connectivity,” he told attendees. “Otherwise this will not be scalable enough.”

Verizon, Vodafone mull Verizon Wireless options: report

Reuters

Verizon Communications Inc has weighed several options involving its relationship with Vodafone Group Plc and its joint ownership of Verizon Wireless ranging from ending its wireless venture with the European company to a full merger with Vodafone, Bloomberg reported.

The U.S. and UK mobile-phone operators discussed a full combination as recently as December, according to Bloomberg, which cited people familiar with the situation.

CeBIT: Huawei wins HANA certification from SAP

Huawei’s strategic partnership with SAP has received a boost from the launch of a new rack server that comes with HANA certification.

SAP (Walldorf, Germany) describes HANA as an in-memory computing platform that lets enterprise customers “dramatically accelerate analytics, business processes and predictive analysis”.

Speaking at a press conference during this week’s CeBIT show in Hannover, where the product was unveiled, SAP senior vice president Alex Atzberger said that Huawei (Shenzhen, China) was “the first Chinese hardware partner to be HANA-certified”.

Qualcomm raises dividend, increases share repurchase

Reuters

Qualcomm Inc, the world's leading supplier of chips for cellphones, said it was raising its quarterly cash dividend by 40 percent and introduced a new $5 billion stock repurchase program, sending its shares higher in premarket trading.

The quarterly dividend will increase to 35 cents per share from 25 cents.

The $5 billion stock repurchase program, which has no expiration date, replaces a $4 billion buyback program. About $2.5 billion of "repurchase authority" had been remaining on the previous buyback program.

BCE's $2.9 billion Astral purchase clears a hurdle in Canada

Reuters

Canada's Competition Bureau has approved BCE Inc's plan to acquire Astral Media Inc for C$3 billion ($2.9 billion), but the Bell parent's offer to buy the media company must still pass muster with the telecommunications regulator.

The competition watchdog said on Monday its approval carried the condition that BCE (Montreal, Canada), a growing broadcaster, must sell some of Astral's pay and specialty television channels, including several Disney channels.

Telecom Italia Media sells La7 channel for 1 million euros

Reuters

Telecom Italia Media said on Monday it would pump money into its cash-burning La7 channel before offloading it to media firm Cairo Communication for a token price.

The Italian broadcaster, controlled by telecoms group Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy), has agreed to sell its flagship network for 1 million euros in a deal that underscores the difficulties of Italy's media industry.

"I have taken on a hot potato," the head of Cairo Communication (Milan, Italy), Urbano Cairo, said in a radio interview after a Telecom Italia Media board meeting on Monday to approve the deal.

CeBIT: Germany must reform to lead "fourth industrial revolution", says Steinbruck

Germany has the potential to be at the forefront of the digital revolution currently under way, but only if it is prepared to make dramatic improvements in its business environment and increase spending on education.

That was the message delivered by Peer Steinbruck, the SPD party’s designated candidate for the role of Germany’s Chancellor in the 2013 general elections, during this morning’s keynote speech at the CeBIT tradeshow in Hannover.

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