China Mobile profits unchanged as device subsidies take toll

China Mobile has reported net profit of RMB27.88 billion ($4.5 billion) for the first three months of 2013, just 0.3% higher than in the same quarter of 2012, as efforts to increase the usage of smartphone data services ate into its revenues.

The rate of growth is the lowest that China Mobile (Beijing, China) has reported in three quarters and came despite a 5.7% increase in quarterly revenues, to RMB134.7 billion.

SK Telecom boasts 10 million LTE subscribers

South Korean operator SK Telecom claims to have broken through the 10-million mark for its LTE subscriber numbers just one year and nine months after first launching the service.

The country’s biggest operator said it reached the milestone on 19 April and would aim to have signed up a total of 15 million customers by the end of this year.

It also expects to introduce a commercial service based on LTE-Advanced – a standard that promises even faster connection speeds than LTE – in September.

Brazil launches 4G wireless service with few smartphone options


As Brazil rushes to introduce a blazing-fast fourth-generation wireless network before the 2014 World Cup, fewer than a dozen compatible smartphones will be available in stores, compared with the hundreds of models on sale worldwide.

And the phones will be operational in a just few cities at first.

The launch of 4G services is crucial for Brazil to modernize its thinly stretched telecommunications infrastructure and ease the burden on 3G networks, which currently support over 68 million data users, according to regulator Anatel.

Westbase, CradlePoint launch new M2M router in Europe

Westbase Technology and CradlePoint say they have launched a new M2M router in Europe designed for critical enterprise applications that require round-the-clock connectivity.

Manufactured by CradlePoint (Boise, ID, USA), the new router works on HSPA+ and LTE networks and is intended for use in a range of vertical sectors, including energy, retail, finance, security and transport.

Clearwire considering interest payment default as Sprint deal looms


Clearwire Corp is "actively considering" defaulting on a $255 million interest payment due June 1 on about $4.5 billion of outstanding debt, according to a proxy filing on Friday, as a shareholder vote approaches on Sprint-Nextel Corp's takeover offer.

The company, which urged investors to vote in favor of Sprint's buyout offer, warned that failure to close a deal may force it to contemplate a financial restructuring, which in turn could entail filing for bankruptcy.

US spectrum sale must spur wireless competition - Justice Department


Smaller wireless carriers should be able to get a fair share of spectrum in the forthcoming U.S. auction to ensure the market is competitive, the Justice Department told the Federal Communications Commission in a filing made public on Friday.

The filing underlines the high value of the low-frequency spectrum that will be auctioned off, and delivers a blow to the two largest U.S. providers, Verizon Communications Inc (New York City, NY, USA) and AT&T Inc (Dallas, TX, USA) , in their efforts to acquire those airwaves.

Italy's Wind to invest $1.3 billion in network with Huawei


Italian mobile phone operator Wind is to spend $1.3 billion on building a fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband network to step up competition to rivals Telecom Italia and Vodafone.

The investment will use technology from Italy's Sirti (Milan, Italy) and Huawei Technologies (Shenzhen, China) , the firms said in a statement on Friday, giving a boost to the Chinese telecoms equipment maker as it battles for work on 4G networks across Europe.

Deutsche Tel deal change paves way to cut US exposure


Sweetening the terms of a U.S. merger not only improves Deutsche Telekom's chances of getting a deal done, but may also pave the way for what some investors and bankers think it really wants - to reduce its exposure to a highly competitive market.

The German group's T-Mobile USA (Bellevue, WA, USA) unit lacks the critical mass to take on bigger U.S. rivals Verizon (New York City, NY, USA), AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) and Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) and has been losing market share.

Brazil says new 4G mobile band not ready for World Cup


Visitors to Brazil for the 2014 soccer World Cup will not be able to use the latest wireless technology operating on a frequency used widely in the United States and Europe, the head of telecom regulator Anatel told Reuters.

Anatel president Jõao Rezende said in an interview that the 700 MHz spectrum won't be ready for the big event. Instead, he said, tourists can buy local 4G chips that will work on Brazil's 2.5 GHz network - or settle for slower service.

EE aims for 1 million 4G customers, to double 4G speeds

UK mobile operator EE says it is aiming to sign 1 million customers up to its 4G service by the end of the year and hopes to attract new business by doubling connection speeds from their current level.

Speaking at a press conference in London, chief executive Olaf Swantee said the operator – a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) and France Telecom (Paris, France) – would start doubling average 4G speeds to 20Mbps by dedicating 20MHz of its 1800MHz spectrum to the service, compared with the 10MHz it uses today.

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