Exclusive: HTC scales back production lines as cash flow worsens - sources

Reuters

Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp has halted at least one of its four main manufacturing lines, accounting for at least a fifth of total capacity, and is outsourcing production as a sales slump puts pressure on its cash flow, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

A Reuters reporter who visited an HTC (Taipei, Taiwan) factory at the company's former headquarters in Taoyuan, about an hour's drive from Taipei, saw loading docks shuttered and a sign on a locked lobby door that read: "Lobby is temporarily closed for use. Thank you for your cooperation."

EE reports revenue decline despite 4G gains

UK operator EE says it has now signed up nearly 1.2 million 4G customers less than a year after first launching services, while reporting a decline in revenues for the three months ending September.

The company’s 4G progress means it has easily beaten an end-of-year target of capturing one million customers and now covers about 60% of the UK’s population with the high-speed technology.

Rivals Telefonica (Slough, UK) and Vodafone (Newbury, UK) launched 4G services at the end of August but have yet to extend networks outside a handful of the country’s biggest cities.

China Mobile profits hit by 4G investments, OTT competition

China Mobile has reported falling profits for the first nine months of the year, with investments in a 4G network and the cost of subsidizing smartphones taking a toll on the operator’s performance.

China’s biggest mobile operator by customer numbers flagged a 9.4% increase in revenue, to RMB463 billion ($76 billion), for the nine months ending September, but said profits slid by 1.9%, to RMB91.5 billion, over the same period.

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.

SoftBank to spend $1.26 billion for majority Brightstar stake

Reuters

Japan's SoftBank Corp said on Friday it had agreed to pay $1.26 billion for a 57 percent stake in privately held cellphone distributor Brightstar Corp as it looks to boost its bargaining power with handset makers.

SoftBank (Tokyo, Japan), which owns 80 percent of No. 3 U.S. mobile operator Sprint Corp (Overland Park, KS, USA), said that under the agreement its ownership of Brightstar (Miami, FL, USA) would increase to 70 percent over the next five years, or upon certain unspecified events.

Exclusive: Motorola looking to exit wireless LAN business - sources

Reuters

Motorola Solutions Inc is exploring the sale of its underperforming wireless LAN business, which has grappled with declining share in a market dominated by rivals such as Cisco Systems Inc, people familiar with the matter said.

An exit from the wireless LAN market would come as Motorola (Schaumberg, IL, USA), the provider of data communications and telecommunications equipment, seeks to focus on its core government and public safety division.

Telekom Austria says does not expect hostile move by Carlos Slim

Reuters

Telekom Austria Chief Executive Hannes Ametsreiter said on Friday he did not expect key shareholder Carlos Slim's America Movil to make any unfriendly moves towards the Austrian company.

"The Mexicans have shown themselves to be good partners. One thing I think they won't do is to act in a hostile way. I think you can rule that out," he told the Gewinn Messe retail investor fair.

He added he did not know if America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico) intended to increase its near 23 percent stake.

Bernabe quits as GSMA chairman

Erstwhile Telecom Italia chief executive Franco Bernabe has resigned from his role as chairman of the GSM Association.

The move was expected, coming shortly after Bernabe stood down from his position as chairman and chief executive of Italian phone incumbent Telecom Italia (Milan, Italy).

Small-cell backhaul poised for takeoff in 2014: Infonetics Research

The market for small-cell backhaul in outdoor settings is poised for rampant growth next year, according to a new study from Infonetics Research.

Operators are increasingly looking to small-cell technology to plug gaps in existing coverage and boost the capability of their networks.

Pressure on current investments is growing as consumers rush to adopt new smartphones and other devices that can be used to access high-speed internet services.

Telefonica may struggle to sell Czech business for premium: Bloomberg

Spain’s Telefonica may find it difficult to sell its Czech subsidiary to PPF Group for a satisfactory price, according to Bloomberg.

The operator this week revealed it was in discussions with the investment group, owned by Czech billionaire Petr Kellner, as it considers “strategic alternatives” for Telefonica Czech Republic, in which it currently holds a stake of about 70%.

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