Network sales growth fires hope of Ericsson turnaround


A sales recovery at Ericsson's key networks unit raised hopes on Thursday the world's top mobile telecom gear maker is beginning to shake off the global downturn.

Ericsson's (Stockholm, Sweden) biggest business, which builds mobile networks, showed fourth-quarter sales growth - the first rise in more than a year - helping the company as a whole to post year on year sales up 5 percent. Margins in the unit also rose from the previous quarter.

Regulator likely to free more UK airwaves for 4G


Mobile phone operators Vodafone and Three have asked British regulator Ofcom for permission to re-use their existing airwaves for 4G services, following in the footsteps of larger rival EE.

Britain got superfast mobile broadband late last year, long after countries such as the United States and Japan, when Ofcom allowed EE (London, UK) to run 4G services over its allocated spectrum.

Ofcom said on Friday it had started a consultation over liberalizing more of the spectrum that was previously licensed for 2G and 3G mobile services in response to the requests.

EE lowers 4G pricing in response to criticism

UK operator EE has unveiled details of new tariffs for its exclusive ‘4G’ service, following criticism over pricing and usage restrictions and as rivals gear up to launch services of their own.

From January 31 until March 31, consumers will be able to pay just £31 ($49) a month on a 24-month contract, compared with a previous entry-level rate of £36 a month.

The deal comes with unlimited UK calls and texts and a monthly data-usage allowance of 500MB.

Chorus of Clearwire investors against Sprint bid growing louder


Investors holding 29 percent of the outstanding minority shares of Clearwire Corp are unhappy with Sprint's $2.2 billion bid for the wireless service provider and are pushing for a higher offer.

Sprint (Overland Park, USA), the No. 3 U.S. mobile service provider, announced on December 17 an agreement to acquire the outstanding shares of Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) it doesn't already own for $2.97 per share. While Sprint holds a more than 50 percent stake in Clearwire, the deal requires approval from holders of just over 50 percent of Clearwire's minority shares.

Telecom Italia overhauls pricing, updates on NGA progress

Telecom Italia has unveiled new pricing plans, including a single rate for landline calls to fixed and mobile numbers, and provided an update on its LTE and fiber deployments during a meeting with Italian consumer associations.

Marco Patuano, the company’s chief operating officer, said a new single rate of €0.05 per minute will come into effect from April 1.

Irish cellphone entrepreneur banks on a smarter Haiti


When Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien set about building a cellphone company in the western hemisphere's poorest country, there was no shortage of skeptics.

Six years later O'Brien's company Digicel is the largest private investor in Haiti and has 4.8 million users, about half the population. It is a rare beacon of entrepreneurship in a country still struggling to rebuild after the 2010 earthquake.

Western Europe mobile data traffic up 39% between 2011 and 2012

Data traffic on Western Europe’s mobile networks rose by 39% between 2011 and 2012, to 3,077 exabytes, according to a new report from ABI Research.

According to Marina Lu, a research associate at ABI, some 50% of subscribers in Western Europe are now on data plans and “making full use of it”.

With 4G “still attempting to find its feet”, 3G accounted for 64% of total traffic.

Despite the surging use of mobile data services, operators remain under serious pressure in other areas.

Dish Networks aims to outbid Sprint for Clearwire

Satellite television provider Dish Networks has made an offer to buy Clearwire that tops Sprint’s bid to take full control of the beleaguered mobile broadband company.

Dish’s offer values Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) at $3.30 a share, considerably more than the $2.97 that Sprint (Overland Park, USA) has offered for the 50% of Clearwire shares it does not already own.

Dish’s proposal also includes an offer to buy a substantial swathe of Clearwire’s spectrum for about $2.2 billion.

Verizon moots buying Vodafone out of Verizon Wireless: report

Verizon chief executive Lowell McAdam has reportedly once again raised the prospect of buying Vodafone out of Verizon Wireless, saying the move is feasible if not absolutely necessary.

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, McAdam said Verizon (New York, USA) “would love to own all of that asset”, but insisted the partnership between Verizon and Vodafone (Newbury, UK) was functioning well.

Verizon controls 55% of Verizon Wireless, with Vodafone owning the remainder.

T-Mobile USA offers no-contract unlimited 4G for $70 a month

T-Mobile USA has launched a $70-a-month no-contract offer that promises an “unlimited nationwide 4G data” service to customers.

Unveiled at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the deal follows T-Mobile’s announcement last month that it would stop subsidising smartphones in 2013.

Under new arrangements, customers will be required to pay substantial upfront fees for their devices, but will benefit from much lower monthly tariffs.

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