Merger of Portugal's Optimus and Zon wins board approval

Portuguese operators Optimus and Zon Multimedia look set to merge to form the country’s second-biggest player, behind Portugal Telecom, after directors from both companies gave their blessing to the tie-up.

Under the terms of the deal, Optimus (Porto, Portugal) will be incorporated into Zon (Lisbon, Portugal) and its shareholders will hold a 40% stake in the combined entity, which will operate under the name of Zon Optimus.

Besides controlling 26% of the market, the new company will have revenues of €1.6 billion and an operating profit of about €540 million.

Oi rushes out financial results following CEO departure

Brazilian operator Oi has swiftly published preliminary details of its 2012 earnings after announcing an unexpected change in leadership.

The company surprised observers earlier this week by revealing that Francisco Valim, the chief executive since September 2011, has been replaced by chairman Jose Carneiro da Cunha.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, citing a person familiar with the matter, da Cunha’s appointment is only temporary while the company finds a permanent replacement.

NTT DoCoMo to release low-cost tablet in Japan: Nikkei


Mobile phone service provider NTT DoCoMo Inc will soon release a low-cost tablet computer in Japan priced between 10,000 yen ($110) and 15,000 yen, the Nikkei reported.

The tablet will be made by China's Huawei Technologies Co (Shenzhen, China) and feature a 10-inch screen, the Japanese business daily said.

The new tablet will be able to connect to the Internet via wireless LAN, but will not be compatible with 3G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) high-speed wireless services, the newspaper reported.

Cuba's mystery fiber-optic internet cable stirs to life


An undersea fiber-optic cable that promises to bring Cuban Internet and phone communications into the 21st Century stirred to life this week, two years after it was laid between Venezuela and the Caribbean island.

Financed by the Venezuelan government, the ALBA-1 cable under the Caribbean was laid with much fanfare in 2010 and connected to Cuba in February 2011. Since then it has been dormant and the government silent as to why.

Telehealth to reach 1.8 million patients by 2017

Telehealth services will reach 1.8 million patients worldwide in 2017, up from just 308,000 in 2012, according to a new report from InMedica.

Take-up will be driven by a combination of factors, including the introduction of readmission penalties in the US and the promotion of telehealth as a long-term cost-saving measure in the UK, France and China.

Healthcare providers also want to use telehealth to increase ties to patients and improve the quality of care – often irrespective of the lack of a clear financial return on investment, says InMedica.

Telefonica ramps up offering with Smart M2M

Spanish operator Telefonica is aiming to play a bigger role in the fast-growing M2M market with the launch of a new web-based platform for the connection, management and control of services.

Branded Smart M2M, the platform is designed for customers in a variety of vertical sectors where machines are being connected via SIM cards.

Australian smart-grid revenues to fall 35% between 2012 and 2016

Smart-grid revenues in Australia will shrink to $260 million in 2016 from $400 million in 2012 because of concern about the investment case and disappointing tests of the technologies, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan.

Although several electricity distribution utilities are deploying smart grids, many are reluctant to make substantial investments because of the lack of specific payback periods and the unsatisfactory performances of smart-grid technologies in real application environments, says the market-research company.

Itron smart-grid tech to be used in National Grid pilot

Itron’s smart-grid technology is to be used by National Grid in the rollout of 10,000 smart meters in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The announcement of the deal between the smart-grid specialist and the utility provider follows the successful completion of a so-called ‘early field trial’ (EFT) involving the deployment of 5,000 meters in Worcester from February 2012.

According to Itron (Liberty Lake, USA), National Grid (New York, USA) will begin to roll out the 10,000 meters – in what it calls a “full pilot” – early in 2013.

Atmel and Wasion partner on smart-meter development

Atmel and Wasion Group are to collaborate on the development of smart-grid technology in response to rapid adoption in China and growing interest in other parts of the world.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding they hope will drive the adoption of standards-compliant smart-metering solutions in global markets, based on power line communication (PLC) solutions developed by Atmel (San Jose, USA).

Mobile operators to gain from embedded SIMs: ABI Research

Mobile network operators could have the most to gain from the crossover of embedded SIMs into smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics devices, according to ABI Research, despite the widespread assumption they would lose out from such a development.

According to the market-research company, embedded SIMs could open up new M2M applications – with greater appeal for hesitant consumers – by allowing users to switch networks.

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