Far from fearing the coming investment from Europe's telecom giants into superfast broadband, smaller cable firms believe they will still beat the big guns to the trigger.
Cable operators Liberty Global (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Ziggo (Utrecht, Netherlands), Kabel Deutschland (Unterfoehring, Germany) and Virgin Media (Hook, UK) have already stolen a march on their less nimble rivals, winning customers and investors with their expansion into broadband.
It's this year's biggest technology acquisition and the largest outbound deal in Japan's history. But game-changing, it is not.
Softbank Corp's <9984.T> pricey $20 billion bid to buy control of No. 3 U.S. telecoms company Sprint Nextel Corp
Either Ofcom has been spectacularly serendipitous or it has played a canny game. The UK telecoms regulator this week said it would be able to release spectrum earmarked for ‘4G’ LTE services sooner than it had originally thought possible. The announcement will soothe the tempers of Vodafone (Newbury, UK) and O2 (London, UK) executives, who were infuriated by Ofcom’s earlier decision to give rival EE (London, UK) a 4G headstart using frequencies it already owns. But did the regulator plan it this way from the outset?
IMM Hydraulics, a small exporter of hoses for industries such as agriculture and mining, is the kind of firm that should be at the center of Italy's efforts to rekindle its stagnant economy.
Instead, the company, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, is wrestling with a basic impediment to profitability: a woefully slow broadband connection. With just 2 megabits (MB) per second, IMM Hydraulics' broadband connection lags behind the 5 MB typical in Italian cities, which in turn is well behind an average of 12 MB in France and 16 MB in Germany.
For mobile service providers like AT&T Inc (Dallas, USA), it's not enough that consumers came out in droves to buy the newest iPhone from Apple Inc (Cupertino, USA).
They need people to dig more deeply into their wallets each month to pay for data services, such as mobile video, to cushion the impact of the iPhone's steep price tag on the carriers' bottom lines.
Stephen Elop only has a few months to show he can turn Nokia (Espoo, Finland) around if he is to survive but the new smartphone is unlikely to woo customers back from Apple (Cupertino, USA) and Samsung (Seoul, South Korea).
Investors and analysts say the chief executive has until early 2013 to prove he made the right choice by partnering with Microsoft (Seattle, USA) Windows or his future at the loss-making company will be called into question.
Apple's iPhone 5, launched to great fanfare in the United States on Wednesday, will not work on superfast mobile broadband networks in much of Europe, potentially confusing consumers and setting back the development of 4G services in the region.
Cisco Systems Inc, the world's biggest network equipment maker, and EMC Corp, the leading data storage company, are increasingly encroaching on each other's turfs, in a sign their long partnership may be unraveling.
Cisco and EMC have for years collaborated on designing, marketing and cross-selling their products, choosing to go after corporate customers as allies instead of competitors.
A few months from now the boldly named Everything Everywhere may be able to boast it is the only 4G operator in the UK. Courting the ire of other mobile networks, communications regulator Ofcom this week took the controversial decision to let the T-Mobile-Orange tie-up launch LTE services later this year using its current 1800MHz spectrum holdings. Vodafone and Telefónica-owned O2 will have to wait until the auction of new airwaves, likely to happen early next year, before they can hope to join it in the 4G market.
Most European countries have already awarded operators the spectrum they need to provide 4G services, but in the UK an auction has been repeatedly held up by disputes between the various stakeholders. In its auction plan published this week, Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, says it expects the process to begin by the end of the year, with bidding to start in early 2013. But a legal challenge that delays it would surprise no one.