Numericable agrees $18.5 billion takeover of Vivendi's SFR

French cable operator Numericable has agreed a €13.5 billion ($18.5 billion) takeover of Vivendi’s SFR, beating off competition from communications rival Bouygues for the country’s second-biggest mobile operator.

The acquisition promises to radically alter the shape of the French telecoms market, putting Numericable (Paris, France) in control of mobile assets and giving it the opportunity to challenge telecoms incumbent Orange (Paris, France) in the market for bundled services that include fixed, broadband and mobile elements.

Reliance Jio, RCOM form closer ties

Reliance Jio Infocomm has announced another network-sharing deal with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in a further sign of improving relations between India’s Ambani brothers.

The so-called Master Service Agreement will give Reliance Jio (Mumbai, India) access to RCOM’s (Mumbai, India) nationwide inter-city fiber network, which it hopes will help to speed up its deployment of a 4G network across India.

Reliance Jio said the agreement was based on “arm’s length pricing at prevailing market prices”.

US knocks plans for European communication network

Reuters

The United States on Friday criticized proposals to build a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States, warning that such rules could breach international trade laws.

In its annual review of telecommunications trade barriers, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said impediments to cross-border data flows were a serious and growing concern.

EU Parliament votes to end roaming, protect 'net neutrality'

Reuters

The European Parliament voted to end mobile phone roaming fees by 2016 and barred telecoms operators from prioritizing some Internet traffic over others, moves that will cheer Europe's consumers and frustrate industry seeking new forms of revenue.

In a session in Brussels, lawmakers backed telecom reform legislation that will phase out roaming fees across the 28-country European Union by December 2015, bolster consumer protections on mobile and broadband contracts and seek to make the sale of mobile licenses more uniform across Europe.

Vodafone to add 150 shops, create 1,400 jobs in UK

Reuters

Vodafone Group Plc said on Thursday it would add 150 shops and create 1,400 jobs across the United Kingdom during the next 12 months in a 100 million pound ($166.33 million) investment.

The British group said the expansion is part of the company's plans to invest 1 billion pounds ($1.66 billion) in the United Kingdom in 2014 where it serves 19 million customers.

Vodafone (Newbury, UK) last year in June said that it would increase its UK expenditure by more than 50 percent to nearly 1 billion pounds.

Juniper to cut 6 percent jobs, focus on high growth businesses

Reuters

Network gear maker Juniper Networks Inc, which is under pressure from investor Elliott Management Corp to slim down, said it plans to reduce its global workforce by 6 percent and focus on its high-growth businesses.

Juniper (Sunnyvale, CA, USA) said most of the cuts would impact middle management positions and that it expected to incur cash charges of about $35 million in the first quarter, related to severance and other expenses.

The company had 9,483 full-time employees as of December 31.

UK startup Senaptic aims to steal M2M thunder

Several prominent tech entrepreneurs have come together to form a new M2M company that aims to steal the initiative from network operators entering the M2M market.

Calling itself Senaptic (Cambridge), the UK-based organization has developed its own wireless technology, known as ultra narrow band, which uses spectrum in the ISM band and is incorporated in Apella, a suite of M2M packages that Senaptic is offering to specific vertical markets, including utility companies and municipal authorities deploying so-called smart-city infrastructure.

Google's Nest halts home alarm system sales over possible defect

Reuters

Nest Labs Inc, the maker of smart thermostats that Google Inc acquired for $3.2 billion, called a halt to all sales of its smoke alarms on Thursday after it discovered a possible defect that could cause users to turn it off unintentionally.

Nest co-founder and Chief Executive Tony Faddell said that, under a unique set of circumstances the alarm's "Nest Wave" feature, which allows a user to switch off the device with a wave of the hand, could be inadvertently activated.

ComEd beats job-creation targets for smart-grid rollout

Illinois energy utility Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) says its smart grid program has beaten the targets set for job creation in 2013, supporting a total of 2,871 full-time positions.

The positions included nearly 1,000 full-time jobs at the utility and its contractors as well as more than 1,800 roles it says were created “indirectly”.

Accenture to manage smart-meter rollout for FirstEnergy

Managed services and consulting giant Accenture is to manage the rollout of some two million smart meters being carried out in Pennsylvania by utility group FirstEnergy.

The deployment is taking place across four of FirstEnergy’s (Akron, OH, USA) utility businesses – Met-Ed, Penelec, Penn Power and West Penn Power – and represents one of the largest rollouts of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in North America.

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