Iliad puts France Telecom on defensive

French telecoms incumbent France Telecom has managed to slow its loss of mobile-phone customers, many of whom were believed to be defecting to new rival Iliad.

France Telecom lost a staggering 615,000 customers in the first quarter of the year, when Iliad first entered the market, but customer losses for the second quarter were a less troubling 155,000.

Iliad has an established fixed broadband operation in France but won a licence to provide mobile-phone services in 2009, finally launching earlier this year.

Apple blames rare miss on new iPhone anticipation, economy

Reuters

Apple Inc results fell short of Wall Street's lofty expectations as a sagging European economy and a pause in iPhone sales ahead of a new version saw revenues slip from the previous quarter.

Shares fell more than 5 percent to $570.81 in late trade after the world's most valuable technology company - which beats expectations with near regularity - reported its second quarterly miss in less than a year.

Apple's suppliers also felt the pain. Shares of LG Display, Toshiba and Hon Hai sank between 5 and 7 percent.

Spectrum spat could still delay UK 4G auction

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.

New data pricing from Verizon, AT&T may complicate family life

Reuters

Arguments around U.S. family dinner tables may soon go from who talked too much on the phone this month to who used up the family's Internet service.

Thanks to new metered pricing plans for Internet access unveiled by top U.S. cellular providers Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc families will be able to share a single data allowance for multiple devices. A drawback is the higher price of data in these plans.

Bezeq launches public WiFi access free to customers

Reuters

Bezeq Israel Telecom has launched Israel's first free public WiFi service as the country's largest telecoms group seeks to maintain its leadership amid increasing competition.

Customers agreeing to securely share a small part of their home Internet bandwidth will have free WiFi access when using smartphones, tablets and laptops at potentially hundreds of thousands of hot spots across the country.

TI sees third-quarter revenue hurt by weak orders

Reuters

Texas Instruments Inc's second-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations but the company warned that its third-quarter revenue would be weaker than usual for this time of year as customers are cautious due to global economic uncertainties.

Shares of TI, which makes chips for a wide range of products such as cellphones and industrial equipment, fell 1 percent in extended trade after it said Monday that orders weakened in June and that its backlog for shipments due in September is also lighter than expected.

Cisco to cut about 1,300 jobs

Reuters

Network equipment maker Cisco Systems said on Monday that it plans to cut about 1,300 jobs as part of ongoing efforts to restructure the company.

"We are performing a focused set of limited restructurings that will collectively impact approximately 2 percent of our global employee population," the company said in an emailed statement.

These actions are part of a continuous process to simplify the company and assess the economic environment in certain parts of the world, it said.

VC funding for smart grids "extremely weak"

Venture capital (VC) funding for smart grids has remained “extremely weak” for the past three quarters, according to new data from Mercom Capital, a market-research company.

In its latest quarterly update, Mercom reveals that VC funding was only $66 million in the second quarter of this year, covering just nine deals. In the same period of 2011, VCs invested as much as $112 million in 16 deals, but funding dropped to $97 million the following quarter and to just $66 million in the final quarter of the year.

Web-connected industrial controls stoke security fears

Reuters

Until a few days ago, anyone who had done a bit of digging into the security of industrial control systems could have reached into the website of a Kansas agricultural concern and turned off all its windmills.

The owner had left the system connected to the open Internet without any password protections, despite warnings from Canadian manufacturer Endurance Wind Power. A cyber researcher found the vulnerability along with thousands of other exposed industrial controls, many of them in critical facilities.

Sprint to offer auto insurers tracking technology

Reuters

U.S. wireless carrier Sprint said on Thursday it will move into the hot market for tracking technology that lets auto insurers monitor how, where and when their customers drive.

Sprint said its new Integrated Insurance Solutions unit would let companies offer what are known as "usage-based insurance" programs.

Such programs, most notably Progressive Corp's "Snapshot", track variables such as driver speed, location and braking via a diagnostic device plugged into the car. Insurers analyze the data and use it to offer the best drivers discounts.

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