Bouygues gains regulatory permission for 4G at 1800MHz

French telecoms regulator ARCEP has introduced rules allowing Bouygues Telecom, the country’s third-biggest operator, to use its 1800MHz spectrum to provide 4G services.

Until now, the spectrum has been reserved for use with much older, 2G services, but the ARCEP decision means Bouygues (Paris, France) will be able to introduce LTE technology in the 1800MHz band from October 1 this year.

It will, however, be forced to relinquish some of its 1800MHz holdings so it does not gain an unfair advantage over its rivals.

For China Mobile, 4G and iPhone key to unlocking Apple demand

Reuters

China Mobile Ltd said it plans to spend 41.7 billion yuan ($6.7 billion) developing 4G technology this year, hoping to tap pent-up demand for Apple Inc smartphones as it gets an iPhone model that will finally run on its network.

The world's largest mobile carrier - with more than twice as many subscribers as there are people in the United States - already has more than 10 million of its customers owning an iPhone even though the gadget doesn't properly work with the Chinese firm's homegrown TD-SCDMA 3G technology, which is not compatible with global technologies.

Sistema wins LTE-suitable spectrum in India auction

SSTL, the Indian unit of Russian investment company Sistema, has announced it will pay $665 million for 800MHz spectrum in eight of the 21 telecoms ‘circles’ where it had licenses revoked by authorities last year.

The company was the sole bidder in a government auction of frequencies used to support CDMA-based services.

SSTL’s new licenses are valid for 20 years and cover the regions of Delhi, Kolkata, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (West) and West Bengal.

Czech regulator suspends 4G auction

The Czech telecoms regulator has taken the unusual step of suspending a 4G spectrum auction because bid prices had risen too high.

In a statement on its website, the CTU said that bid prices had reached about CZK20 billion ($1 billion), nearly three times the minimum amount of CZK7.4 billion established at the outset of the auction.

The regulator’s fear seems to be that operators will pass those costs on to 4G consumers, inhibiting the take-up of high-speed mobile internet services in the Czech market.

Clearwire to tap Sprint money but continue Dish talks

Reuters

Wireless service provider Clearwire Corp said on Wednesday it would draw on $80 million in financing from Sprint Nextel Corp, which is seeking to buy it, but vowed to continue talks with rival bidder Dish Network Corp.

Shares of Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) fell 3 cents to $3.17 after the decision, which could end Dish (Meridian, USA) Chairman Charlie Ergen's effort to buy Clearwire. But the stock was still above Sprint's offer of $2.97 per share, showing that investors still held out hope for a higher valuation.

Korean operators warn Europe of "curse" of 4G networks

Reuters

South Korean telecom executives have a message for European cousins who have long looked on in envy at the highly connected Asian market: Be careful what you wish for.

South Korea, the world's most wired country with 30 percent of its 50 million mobile users on superfast networks, has inspired many European operators ahead of their own rollout of networks based on LTE, or fourth-generation technology.

Verizon Wireless eyes first international LTE roaming partners this year

Reuters

Verizon Wireless expects to sign its first international roaming agreement later this year for customers of its fastest wireless service who travel overseas, according to a top executive for the No. 1 U.S. mobile provider.

While Verizon Wireless (New York, USA) has 200 partnerships with overseas operators for its older, third-generation mobile service, it has not yet been able to set up agreements for its fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) data service, which was first offered in the United States in late 2010.

Ericsson wins major LTE deal with Telefonica UK

Network equipment maker Ericsson has struck an important deal with Telefonica O2 for the rollout of the operator’s 4G network in the large UK market.

Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) is to provide the whole of Telefonica O2’s (Slough, UK) core network, using Evolved Packet Core (EPC) technology, and 50% of the nationwide network using technology that supports 2G, 3G and 4G standards.

France Telecom net income tumbles 79% on writedowns

Net income at France Telecom has tumbled by 79%, to €820 million ($1.1 billion), for the 2012 financial year, with writedowns on investments in Poland, Egypt and Romania largely to blame for the sharp decline.

The French incumbent has also reported a 2.7% decrease in revenues, to €43.5 billion, as tough competition in its domestic market and adverse regulatory measures took their toll.

UK 4G auction raises $3.61 billion, misses govt target

The UK’s 4G auction has fallen well short of government expectations, raising just £2.34 billion ($3.61 billion) compared with a target of £3.5 billion.

The country’s four existing mobile network operators – EE (Hatfield, UK), Telefonica O2 (Slough, UK), Vodafone (Newbury, UK) and Three (Maidenhead, UK) – all picked up new frequencies, as did fixed-line incumbent BT (London, UK), bidding through its Niche Spectrum Ventures subsidiary.

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