Telenor buys into Asian, South American classifieds market


Norwegian telecoms group Telenor entered the online classifieds market on Monday, taking a stake in a Southeast Asian venture and establishing a South American business, it said in a statement.

Telenor (Fornebu, Norway) will take a 33.3 percent stake in Southeast Asia focused 701 Search, an existing venture between Singapore Press Holdings and Norwegian publishing house Schibsted, and agreed to establish a 50/50 joint venture with Schibsted to create SnT Classifieds with a focus on South America.

Bangladesh network launches 3G services


Grameenphone, majority owned by Norway's Telenor, on Sunday launched Bangladesh's first mobile 3G (third generation) network, aiming for national coverage by next April.

The dominant provider, which has 44 percent of the market and paid $210 million for 10 megahertz of 3G spectrum in September, pledged to do its best to make the service available at "affordable" prices.

There are some 107 mobile phone users among Bangladesh's population of over 160 million but it lacks internet services, with barely 36,000 subscribers by either mobile or fixed lines.

Etisalat talks to buy Vivendi's Maroc Tel stake extended to October 31


Exclusive talks for Etisalat to buy Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom have been extended to October 31, the United Arab Emirates' former telecom monopoly said on Sunday.

Vivendi (Paris, France) in July entered into exclusive negotiations with Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) - the UAE's No.1 telecom operator - to sell its majority holding stake in Maroc Telecom (Rabat, Morocco) for 3.9 billion euros ($5.28 billion) in cash.

AT&T strikes Wi-Fi sharing deal with Fon

AT&T has become the first US operator to broker a deal with Wi-Fi sharing community Fon.

The deal will give AT&T customers access to Fon (Madrid, Spain) networks overseas, while allowing members of the community to use AT&T’s (Dallas, TX, USA) Wi-Fi services in the US.

Fon works by pooling Wi-Fi hotspots provided by the various operators that have signed up to the service, allowing Wi-Fi customers of AT&T, for instance, to use facilities provided by KPN (Amsterdam, Netherlands).

SFR to provide Napster services to 4G customers

Customers of SFR’s 4G services will have access to online music from Napster thanks to a new partnership between the two companies.

The deal is the latest example of collaboration between operators and so-called over-the-top (OTT) providers, which have traditionally been viewed as a threat to the revenues operators generate from traditional telecoms activities.

Ntelos reaches settlement with Sprint

Ntelos Holdings says it has reached a settlement with Sprint over disputes related to a strategic network alliance (SNA) between the two operators.

Under a deal dating back to 1999, Ntelos (Waynesboro, VA, USA) provides PCS services on a wholesale basis to Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA) customers in parts of western Virginia and West Virginia, but in the last year or two the companies have fallen out over billing, among other issues.

Although terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Ntelos described it as a satisfactory outcome for both companies.

4G networks to handle more data than 3G by 2016: ABI Research

4G networks are set to handle more data traffic than 3G ones by 2016, according to a new study from ABI Research.

Although 4G infrastructure supported just 2.9% of all mobile subscriptions at the end of June 2013, it is on course to account for more than 20% of all mobile data traffic by the end of this year, according to ABI Research.

The market-research company also predicts that 4G networks will account for two thirds of all data by 2018.

Aggressive 4G deployment and the falling price of 4G smartphones and tablets are the main drivers of this development.

Telefonica tightens hold on Telecom Italia, avoids takeover bid


Spanish telecoms group Telefonica has struck a deal to gradually secure control of Telecom Italia and its lucrative South American business without having to launch a full takeover bid.

The multi-part 860 million euro ($1.2 billion) cash and shares deal secured on Tuesday will allow Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) to raise its stake in Telco, the holding company controlling about 22 percent of Telecom Italia (Milan, Italy), allowing Telco's other investors, Intesa Sanpaolo (Turin, Italy), Generali (Trieste, Italy) and Mediobanca (Milan, Italy) to eventually bow out.

Russia's Megafon in talks to start bank


Megafon, Russia's second-largest mobile phone company, may start up a bank to capitalize on growing interest among consumers in managing their finances on-the-go and to cross-sell services to existing customers.

Russian mobile operators, trying to boost profits in a maturing market, have been searching for avenues to earn more from their subscriber base.

Megafon (Moscow, Russia) would be following Russia's top mobile phone operator MTS (Moscow, Russia), which this year bought a stake in a bank from its parent company Sistema (Moscow, Russia).

AT&T deals for European wireless assets depend on price - CEO


AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said on Tuesday his company would buy wireless assets in Europe if there were available at the right price.

Stephenson declined to comment on potential deals during an appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference. The executive said European operators were far behind the United states in investments in wireless broadband, mainly because regulatory policies regarding spectrum licenses discouraged investments in the region.

But he said when the policies change, broadband investments should take off.

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