India's smartphone wars: Google's Android One adds to Samsung's worries

World's third-biggest and fastest growing smartphone market offers fertile ground for immediate results

Reuters

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Google Inc's partnership with three Indian phone makers is set to rev up fast-growing demand for lower priced smartphones, and spell more trouble for Samsung Electronics which is rapidly losing share in emerging markets.

Micromax Infomatics Ltd, Karbonn Mobiles and Spice Group are the first phone manufacturers to sign up for Google's Android One initiative, which provides specifications for key hardware parts. Some of the new phones are due to hit the market this month.

United Internet to buy KKR's stake in Versatel for $769 mln

German ISP was expected to post flat 2014 revenues of about 548 million euros

Reuters

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German internet service provider United Internet said on Wednesday it had agreed to acquire buyout group KKR's 74.9 percent stake in cable group Versatel for about 586 million euros ($769 million) in cash.

United Internet, which already controls 25.1 percent of Versatel, had said last month it was considering a complete takeover of the company, which owns Germany's second-largest fiber optic cable network with a length of about 37,000 kilometers.

Telecom Italia in a bind after losing GVT bid battle

Seven bankers and investors tell Reuters the telco lacks a clear direction

Reuters

PARIS/LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) - Telecom Italia has lost a promising path to earnings growth by failing to secure Brazilian broadband business GVT and may now turn from hunter to hunted in a fast-consolidating telecoms industry.

Winning the auction for French media company Vivendi's GVT was vital for both Telecom Italia and its rival, Spain's Telefonica, as their European markets have been shrinking. Italy was gripped by a mobile price war for much of last year, revenue is falling and competition remains tough.

China Unicom, Telecom expand 4G network trials to 40 Chinese cities

The carriers also hope to recoup some subscribers lost to China Mobile

Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) - China Unicom and China Telecom, the country's No.2 and No.3 mobile carriers, have received government approval to test their 4G high-speed networks in a total of 40 cities, up from 16 previously, they said on Thursday.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which allowed both mobile operators to test their new LTE hybrid network beginning in June, approved 24 additional trial cities including Beijing, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Dongguan and Xiamen.

SoftBank's first Sony smartphone deal takes aim at U.S. market

Release of Xperia Z3 expected at IFA tech expo in Berlin

Reuters

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's SoftBank Corp and its U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp will offer a Sony smartphone for the first time, sources with knowledge of the matter said, as the two technology titans confront daunting challenges in the U.S. market.

The deal could give a much-needed boost to Sony's struggling mobile division, which last month said it no longer expected to make a profit in the year to next March. It will also bolster Sprint's handset line-up as it seeks to stem a flight in subscribers.

Sprint grabs lifeline with rural U.S. roaming deals

Experts say Verizon has only comparable alternative for rural carriers to offer nationwide 4G roaming

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With plans for a T-Mobile US Inc merger in tatters, Sprint Corp is expanding a roaming program with rural cellphone companies that could provide a much-needed way for the debt-laden wireless carrier to cheaply increase its footprint.

In March, Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son struck a roaming deal with the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA), which represents many U.S. rural and regional carriers, to use each other's networks for roaming at a mutually attractive price.

AT&T sues Cox Communications for patent infringement

Patents relate to methods for improving the quality and reducing the costs of telecom services

Reuters

(Reuters) - AT&T <T.N> is suing Cox Communications for infringing eight patents dealing with network quality after the regional cable provider ignored its complaints about the issue and made "billions" off of the technology, according to a new lawsuit.

In the suit filed Friday in Delaware federal court against Cox and more than 30 of its regional units, AT&T said that Cox had been warned about the claims of patent infringement as far back as 2009. It said Cox delayed negotiations and refused to take a license for the technologies.

Intel hires senior Qualcomm exec to boost mobile business

Faintuch previously oversaw rival's networking and connectivity businesses

Reuters

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Chipmaker Intel Corp <INTC.O> has hired Amir Faintuch, a senior executive at rival Qualcomm Inc <QCOM.O>, to step up efforts in mobile and Internet-connected gadgets.

Hiring a senior executive from a major competitor is rare for Intel, which is known in Silicon Valley for its insular culture, and it reflects the eagerness of the Santa Clara, California, chipmaker to improve its struggling mobile business.

Brazil telecom battle heats up as Oi tries to buy, split TIM

Move adds a new twist to the bidding war for Vivendi SA's Brazilian broadband unit GVT

Reuters

RIO DE JANEIRO/PARIS (Reuters) - Brazil’s Grupo Oi SA unveiled plans on Wednesday to take over Telecom Italia's local mobile unit, in a move sources said was aimed at breaking up the country’s second-biggest wireless carrier and upstaging merger bids by foreign rivals.

Oi said on Wednesday that it hired Brazilian investment bank and shareholder Grupo BTG Pactual SA to explore alternatives to acquire Telecom Italia SpA's 67 percent stake in TIM Participações SA, the country's second biggest wireless carrier.

South Korea's Daum, Kakao shareholders approve merger

Combined entity will be called Daum Kakao, pending shareholder approval

Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - Shareholders of South Korean internet portal operator Daum Communications Corp and messaging app company Kakao Corp on Wednesday approved a merger of the two firms in an all-stock deal that values Kakao at more than $3 billion.

Kakao's KakaoTalk is the undisputed chat leader in South Korea, but its global user base is far smaller than the likes of Facebook Inc's WhatsApp or Naver Corp's Line.

The merger with Daum, South Korea's No. 2 internet search company, will give Kakao new lines of revenue and boost its resources for overseas expansion.

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