LightSquared investigation deadline extended

Reuters

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Shelley C. Chapman this afternoon extended a critical document discovery deadline in the LightSquared bankruptcy proceedings.

The deadline was extended to September 28 from September 11 in U.S. bankruptcy court, effectively allowing the parties involved more time.

A group of lenders holding over $1.08 billion of secured debt at LightSquared LP, the company's main operating subsidiary, seeks to investigate the propriety of a $279 million loan extended to the holding company for LightSquared last July.

Cellcom, Partner plan internet TV as mobile competition bites

Reuters

Israel's two largest mobile phone operators Cellcom and Partner Communications are planning television-over-Internet services as weak earnings highlighted their need for profitable new earnings streams.

Haim Romano, Partner's chief executive, said on Tuesday the company was working to accelerate TV Internet services. "Once the conditions are ripe, Partner will offer an innovative, quality and attractive solution also in this area," he said.

Cellcom CEO Nir Sztern also said he was examining Internet TV as well as an entry to the cellular credit card business.

Big retailers to take to mobile payments: WSJ

Reuters

Big retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores, Target Corp and Japan's 7-Eleven are planning to develop a mobile payment network, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people involved in the initiative.

The Merchant Customers Exchange (MCX) is an initiative taken by these retailers to match similar services from Google, which began operating it last year on its Android devices, the WSJ said.

It was unclear how much each merchant would contribute to the network's development, the paper said.

Smart meter industry left disappointed by Brazil ruling

Brazil’s energy regulator has stunned the industry by announcing that smart meters will be installed at existing premises only if customers request them.

The National Agency of Electrical Energy (ANEEL) has given suppliers 18 months to offer consumers electronic meters under two separate schemes. Suppliers must install meters at no cost if consumers opt simply for time-of-usage tariffs, but can charge installation fees if customers choose plans that provide specific details about the service.

RIM attracting interest from healthcare, smart grid sectors

BB10, the operating system set to replace QNX on Research in Motion’s BlackBerry devices, is attracting interest from companies in the healthcare and smart grid industries, according to a story published earlier this week on CNET.

RIM CEO Thorsten Heins is reported to have told CNET that healthcare and smart grid businesses have already shown interest in the new operating system and that BB10 could ultimately support devices used across a range of industries.

India to pilot new smart grid project in Kerala

Indian authorities have given the green light to a new pilot of smart grid technology in the state of Kerala, according to a report in the Times of India newspaper.

The pilot will target 2,500 so-called “industrial consumers” in Kerala and benefit from a total investment of 280 million rupees ($5 million), with 40% of the funding to come in the form of a government grant.

State authorities hope the introduction of smart grids will help address the frequent power failures and voltage problems that plague industries in Kerala.

Mitsui announces $15 million investment in Viridity

Japanese IT and engineering conglomerate Mitsui has announced plans to invest $15 million in Viridity Energy (Philadelphia, USA), an energy-demand specialist.

The investment is pending approval by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but it would give Mitsui an equity stake in Viridity, of an undisclosed amount, and a position on Viridity’s board.

Harman agrees to buy India's Interchain Solution

US-based Harman has entered into an agreement to buy Interchain Solution, an Indian company that specializes in telematics, fleet management, in-vehicle infotainment and location-based services.

The deal is subject to “customary closing conditions” but Harman expects it to close in late August.

Harman sees the acquisition as a way to expand its presence in the large Indian market and augment its own automotive infotainment and telematics offerings.

Massachusetts smart grid pilot gets DPU go-ahead

America’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has approved a pilot project by National Grid to install smart meters at the premises of 15,000 customers in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The customer sample represents about 1.2% of National Grid’s electricity customers and will allow the utility to see how a smart grid could help to reduce outages and improve operational efficiency over a two-year period.

US wireless subscriber growth declines sharply

America’s mobile-phone market is showing signs of maturity as operators focus on raising revenue generated by existing customers.

According to a new report from Dow Jones Newswires, the four biggest mobile-phone operators in the US signed up just 405,000 contract customers in the second quarter of the year, less than a half the number they acquired during the same period of 2011.

With penetration now topping 100%, operators are finding it harder than ever to attract new business.

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