Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio form network-sharing partnership

Indian operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm have announced a network-sharing plan aimed at avoiding “duplication of infrastructure” and lowering costs.

The companies said they would share inter- and intra-city fiber-optic networks, submarine cable networks, towers, internet broadband services and other technologies that might emerge in future.

Besides avoiding duplication and freeing up capital for other projects, the operators said that comprehensive network sharing would help to “preserve the environment”.

Telecom Italia to sell Argentina unit, towers in new strategy

Reuters

Telecom Italia will sell its Argentina unit and other assets while issuing a convertible bond, aiming to raise around 4 billion euros ($5.3 billion) to stave off a credit rating downgrade and strengthen operations in Italy and Brazil.

Italy's biggest telecoms operator, which is in the middle of a strategy shift under new Chief Executive Marco Patuano, said it had received an unsolicited offer for its 22.7 percent stake in Telecom Argentina (Buenos Aires, Argentina) and planned to sell.

AT&T agrees $4.85 billion towers deal with Crown Castle

AT&T has agreed a $4.85 billion deal with infrastructure company Crown Castle in a deal aimed at improving its financial flexibility and value to shareholders.

The US operator is to lease rights to approximately 9,100 of its towers to Crown Castle (Houston, TX, USA) –which will also buy another 600 towers outright – and then sublease capacity on those towers as and when required.

AT&T explores potential sale of wireless towers

Reuters

AT&T Inc said on Friday it is exploring options such as a sale of its wireless broadcast towers but noted that its ability to reach a deal would depend on the terms it is able to reach with the buyer for its ongoing use of the towers.

When wireless service providers sell broadcast towers they typically lease back space from tower operators so they can continue to offer their services without interruption.

Bloomberg reported earlier this week that AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) had hired bankers for a sale of its towers that could fetch about $5 billion.

Vodafone Netherlands invests in small cells for enterprise customers

Vodafone Netherlands has become the world’s first operator to deploy an entirely scalable small cell system for its enterprise customers.

The technology is being supplied by SpiderCloud Wireless (San Jose, CA, USA) and is designed to boost in-building capacity and coverage for the operator’s range of enterprise customers.

The system can be installed much faster than older small-cell technologies and incorporates a node allowing the operator to control more than 100 multi-access small cells.

American Tower extends network reach with $3.3 billion deal

Reuters

American Tower Corp said it would buy the parent of telecom tower operator Global Tower Partners for $3.3 billion as it seeks a bigger share of the billions of dollars that U.S. telecom carriers are spending to upgrade their networks.

American Tower (Boston, MA, USA) shares rose about 4.5 percent in late morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange as investors cheered the acquisition, the latest in a string of deals in the sector.

NII Holdings sells LatAm assets to American Tower for $811 million

In a classic sale-and-leaseback arrangement, NII Holdings has agreed the $811 million sale of nearly 4,500 towers in Latin America to infrastructure company American Tower.

The company, which operates mobile businesses under the Nextel brand in Latin America, is to sell 2,790 towers in Brazil, for the sum of $413 million, and another 1,666 in Mexico, for $398 million.

NII Holdings (Reston, VA, USA) will then lease the towers from their new owner for a period of at least 12 years.

Indonesia's Protelindo to receive $50 million from World Bank

Indonesian tower owner and operator Protelindo is to receive a $50 million investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank.

The investment is intended to help Protelindo (Jakarta, Indonesia) build more towers and expand mobile coverage on the islands of Java, Sumatra and Kalimantan, as well as other parts of the country.

Researchers hack Verizon device, turn it into mobile spy station

Reuters

Two security experts said they have figured out how to spy on Verizon Wireless mobile phone customers by hacking into devices the U.S. carrier sells to boost wireless signals indoors.

The finding, which the experts demonstrated to Reuters and will further detail at two hacking conferences this summer, comes at a time of intense global debate about electronic privacy, after top-secret U.S. surveillance programs were leaked by a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, last month.

Small cells go large to help meet data demand

Reuters

Small cell radio equipment that boosts network coverage is providing big opportunities for telecom operators as they face growing demand for smartphone Internet access in busy streets, shopping centers and stadiums.

The devices - small radio nodes which provide network coverage over a range of between 10 and 200 meters - have been used by businesses and consumers to provide a signal in areas of poor coverage for years.

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