Telefonica set to sell $3.6 billion Czech stake: sources

Reuters

Spanish telecoms group Telefonica has started preparing the sale of its $3.6 billion stake in its listed Czech unit, three sector bankers closely following the process but not directly involved said on Monday.

Telefonica (Madrid, Spain), which aims to cut its debt to under 47 billion euros ($64 billion) by the end of the year, has sold a number of assets to pay down borrowings, including its Irish business O2.

Analysts have long tipped Telefonica Czech Republic as an asset the group might shed. Telefonica reported net debt of 49.8 billion euros in mid-year results.

TIM CEO says Telecom Italia trying not to sell: paper

Reuters

Brazilian phone company TIM Participacoes SA is not up for sale, its chief executive told a local newspaper, denying reports that Telecom Italia SpA wants to sell its 67 percent stake.

A sale of Brazil's No. 2 wireless company is one option being considered by Telecom Italia's (Milan, Italy) new chief executive, Marco Patuano, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last week. Patuano is under pressure from Telecom Italia's top shareholder, Spanish group Telefonica SA (Madrid, Spain), to cut debt through asset sales.

Vodafone claims 100,000 4G customers, extends LTE coverage

UK operator Vodafone says it will extend 4G services to Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester this month and claims to have signed up more than 100,000 customers since it began offering the service in late August.

The company plans to switch on its 4G network in Liverpool on October 17, activate services in Glasgow on October 24 and add Manchester to the list soon after that.

Last month, Vodafone (Newbury, UK) launched 4G services in the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, having made services available in London in late August.

Telstra boasts 3.2 million 4G subscribers just two years after launch

Australian telecoms incumbent Telstra says more than 3.2 million 4G devices are now operating on its network just two years after it first launched the high-speed technology.

Telstra’s (Melbourne, Australia) ability to convert customers to 4G looks impressive considering that UK operator EE (Hatfield) – which provides services in a much bigger market, in terms of population, but over a much smaller geographical area – took ten months to sign up one million 4G customers despite being a monopoly provider of the technology over that period.

Mobile internet access prices fall by 17.7%: ABI Research

The average price of mobile internet access has fallen by 17.7% over the past year, according to the latest study by ABI Research.

The market-research company regularly monitors internet prices in a range of countries and notes a sharp drop in costs to the consumer between September 2012 and September 2013.

Zain Bahrain strikes managed-services deal with Ericsson

Middle Eastern telecoms operator Zain Bahrain has signed a managed-services deal with Ericsson as it looks to free up resources for investment in higher-end services and offerings.

The four-year agreement will see the operator transfer responsibility to Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) for handling the day-to-day operations of its network.

Similar deals have been struck in other parts of the world as companies try to improve their operating efficiency and focus efforts on improving their service offerings.

Telecom firms urge EU to reconsider plan to overhaul sector

Reuters

Telecom firm bosses on Tuesday urged the European Commission to reconsider a major reform package which includes a price cap on cross-border phone calls and an end to roaming fees, and to allow more consolidation in the sector.

Their opposition throws up obstacles for the proposals championed by EU telecom chief Neelie Kroes which aim to spur companies to invest to help Europe catch up with the fast mobile and broadband networks in the United States and Asia.

AT&T CEO sees 'huge opportunity' in Europe

Reuters

AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson on Tuesday said that he sees a "huge opportunity for somebody" in Europe to invest in mobile broadband and reap the big profits already being generated from such services in the United States.

Stephenson, who has been exploring opportunities for AT&T (Dallas, TX, USA) to expand into Europe, said Europe has the potential to be "incredibly exciting" during his appearance at an industry conference held by ETNO, the European telecommunications lobby.

Telecom Italia eyes Italy restructuring, halts network plan - union

Reuters

Telecom Italia's new chief executive Marco Patuano will unveil a business plan outlining the future of its South American units and a possible corporate restructuring in Italy at a board meeting on November 7, trade union officials said.

Patuano told a meeting with unions on Friday the heavily indebted former phone monopoly had put on hold a plan to spin off its fixed-line network because the right regulatory conditions were not in place, they said in a joint statement.

South Korea tops ITU's ICT development index again

South Korea has topped a ranking of ICT development for the third year in a row, with Sweden and Iceland coming second and third respectively.

The ICT development index prepared by the International Telecommunications Union ranks a total of 157 countries on the basis of ICT usage, access and skills.

Frequently cited as one of the world’s most connected countries, South Korea leads the rankings, with a number of countries in Scandinavia and northern Europe also performing strongly.

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