UK government scraps planning regulations for superfast broadband

The UK government hopes to speed progress to a superfast broadband future by allowing operators to roll out their networks without gaining the planning approval normally required by authorities.

Under new rules announced by Maria Miller, who replaced Jeremy Hunt as culture secretary in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, operators will be able to install street cabinets and other broadband equipment without first seeking approval from local councils.

Dutch spectrum auction attracts five participants

The Dutch mobile-phone market looks set for a shake-up after five companies signed up to participate in a forthcoming spectrum auction.

Government agency Agentschap Telecom (AT) plans to award spectrum in six separate frequency bands ranging between 800MHz and 2600MHz.

Slots of 2x5MHz will be sold off in the 800MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz, 2100MHz and 2600MHz bands.

The regulator aims to begin the auction on October 31 and says license winners will be allowed to provide voice and data services using whatever technologies they like.

Indian mobile market records first-ever drop in subscriber numbers

India’s mobile-phone market has registered its first-ever decline in subscriber numbers, according to data recently published by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.

The regulatory body says that customer numbers dropped by more than 20 million over the July period, falling from 965.52 million to 944.81 million.

The decline mainly affected Reliance Communications (Mumbai, India), the country’s second-biggest operator, which disconnected some 20.48 million ‘inactive’ customers in July.

China's Huawei negotiating conditions to join US hearing

Reuters

China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (Shenzhen, China), the world's second-biggest telecommunications equipment maker, said it was negotiating the conditions under which it would agree to take part in a U.S. congressional hearing into alleged security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies.

The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee announced earlier on Thursday that it would hold an open hearing on September 13 as part of its investigation into "the national security threats posed by Chinese telecommunications companies working in the United States."

Nokia to start selling make-or-break smartphone in November

Reuters

Nokia (Helsinki, Finland) will start selling its new smartphone, potentially its last chance to break into the most profitable part of mobile phone market and secure its future, in November, sources at European telecoms operators said on Friday.

The Lumia 920, which uses Microsoft's (Seattle, USA) Windows software, is Nokia's bid to catch up with Apple's (Cupertino, USA) iPhone and a string of popular phones using Google's (Mountain View, USA) Android software, like Samsung's (Seoul, South Korea) Galaxy models.

Southeast Asia smart grids to generate $4.5 billion in revenues in 2020: analyst

Investments in smart grids in the Southeast Asia region will lead to a doubling of revenues over the next eight years, according to a new report from Pike Research.

Pike says revenues generated by investments in transmission, substation and distribution upgrades, as well as smart meters, will grow at a compound annual rate of 10%, rising from approximately $1.9 billion in 2011 to about $4.5 billion in 2020.

Huawei launches M2M business in Europe

Huawei (Shenzhen, China) has announced the start of a major M2M push in Europe as it aims to become the dominant player in the nascent industry.

China’s largest networks vendor has spent the last few months signing distribution agreements for its embedded modules in Europe’s biggest markets.

It now counts m2m Germany, Simple Solutions (UK), Sagitron (Spain and Portugal), Matrix (Spain), BE Telecom (Belgium and Israel), Netcom (Poland) and Techship (Sweden) among its partners, and says further deals are in the pipeline this year.

M2M market to be worth $290 billion by 2017: report

The global M2M industry is expected to generate some $290 billion in revenues in 2017, up from just $44 billion this year, according to new research from MarketsandMarkets.

The research company predicts that revenues will grow at a compound annual rate of 30.1% over the next five years as companies take advantage of new M2M opportunities.

EU to clear mobile operators' e-wallet plan: source

Reuters

European Union regulators will approve plans by British mobile operators Vodafone (Newbury, UK), O2 (London, UK) and Everything Everywhere (London, UK) to set up a joint venture to allow users to make payments and purchases with their phones, a person following the deal said on Tuesday.

Vodafone, Telefonica's 02 and Everything Everywhere, owned by France Telecom (Paris, France) and Deutsche Telekom (Berlin, Germany), aim to compete with similar mobile payment services from Google (Mountain View, USA), Apple (Cupertino, USA) and Facebook (Menlo Park, USA).

Satnav battle heats up as drivers look for new gadgets

Reuters

Garmin Ltd (Olathe, USA) and TomTom NV (Amsterdam, Netherlands) are gearing up for battle as the world's two biggest navigation companies plan to lure customers back with new products offering extra features.

Satnav sales have been in decline since 2008 as rivals like Google (Mountain View, USA) and Nokia (Helsinki, Finland) gave away free navigation on smartphones.

Once the darlings of the stock market, TomTom and Garmin have seen the value of their shares drop by more than 90 percent since the end of 2007, when satnav's were the hottest Christmas gifts.

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