China approves pilot to open mobile telecoms market, boost competition

Reuters

China has approved a pilot scheme allowing private companies to piggy back on the country's three dominant telecommunications providers to offer own-brand mobile services, opening the world's largest mobile phone market to increased competition.

Authorities have approved 11 private "virtual carriers" to resell mobile telecommunications services, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

In telecom merger mania, skeptical eye from Obama administration

Reuters

A pair of potentially transformative U.S. telecoms and cable deals could run afoul of Obama administration regulators who worry that mergers among market leaders would hurt consumers.

With both cable and mobile phone operators grappling with slowing growth, speculation has intensified recently about potential takeovers of No. 4 wireless service provider T-Mobile US Inc (Bellevue, WA, USA) and No. 2 cable service provider Time Warner Cable Inc (New York City, NY, USA).

Mobile security gateway revenues to grow 70% this year: Infonetics Research

The global market for mobile security gateways is expected to generate $70 million in revenues this year, a 70% increase on sales in 2012, according to a new study from Infonetics Research.

“The popularity of SMS and MMS has soared over the last decade, but carriers around the globe are just now beginning to seriously evaluate and deploy SMS/MMS security gateway solutions, forced by economic, regulatory, and attack conditions,” said Jeff Wilson, principal analyst for security at Infonetics Research.

Apple, China Mobile sign long-awaited deal to sell iPhones

Reuters

Apple Inc said it has signed a long-awaited agreement with China Mobile Ltd to sell iPhones through the world's biggest network of mobile phone users.

In a deal that could add billions of dollars to its revenue, Apple (Cupertino, CA, USA) said its smartphones will be available to China Mobile (Beijing, China) customers starting January 17. Pricing and availability details for the iPhone 5S and 5C lines will be disclosed at a later date, it said in a statement.

VimpelCom in talks with Hutchison over Wind Italy: report

VimpelCom is mulling a potential sale or merger of its Italian mobile business, according to the UK’s Financial Times newspaper.

The operator – whose biggest market is Russia – is reportedly in discussions with Hutchison Whampoa about the future of Wind (Rome, Italy), its second-biggest subsidiary and Italy’s third-biggest mobile operator.

Ooredoo launches Algeria's first 3G network

Qatari incumbent Ooredoo has launched what it claims is the first 3G network in Algeria, where it is the smallest of the country’s three mobile network operators.

In a statement, Ooredoo (Doha, Qatar) – formerly known as Qtel – said it had switched on its network in the country’s ten biggest cities just hours after getting the final regulatory sign-off.

Although it promises its 3G services will be available “at no additional cost”, the operator requires customers to procure a second 3G-enabled number (which it will supply) and add this to their SIM cards.

PCCW to pay $2.43 billion for CSL

Hong Kong’s PCCW has announced plans to buy Telstra’s 76% stake in local rival CSL for the sum of $2.43 billion.

The deal will put PCCW (Hong Kong) in control of assets it sold more than ten years ago, reports Bloomberg, and help to reduce the level of competition in Hong Kong’s saturated phone market, where there are approximately twice as many subscriptions as people.

Huawei expects 4G revenues to double in 2014: report

Chinese telecoms equipment vendor Huawei expects annual revenues from its sale of 4G networks to double to about $4 billion between 2013 and 2014, according to a report from Reuters.

Speaking to reporters in Shanghai, David Wang, the president of Huawei’s (Shenzhen, China) wireless network business unit, also said that overall wireless revenues would hit $12.9 billion in 2014, compared with $11.7 billion in 2013.

French government will police quality of 4G services: minister

Reuters

The French government will act to ensure telecom operators provide decent service as they roll out cut-rate plans for new high-speed 4G broadband service, a minister for digital issues said on Sunday.

Low-cost operator Iliad (Paris, France) this month added 4G service to its Free Mobile offers without raising the price, putting pressure on leading telecoms companies Orange (Paris, France), Vivendi's SFR (Paris, France) and Bouygues Telecom (Paris, France) to follow suit with competitive offers.

Orange joins rivals in France's 4G price war: report

Orange is reported to have joined a price war in France’s nascent 4G market, offering the high-speed service to customers on its low-cost Sosh tariffs for no additional charge.

The move follows similar announcements by Iliad (Paris, France) and Bouygues (Paris, France), meaning Vivendi-owned SFR (Paris, France) is the only mobile network operator yet to slash fees for access to its 4G network.

But according to Dow Jones, which reported on the latest development, analysts expect SFR to follow suit in the near future.

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