TeliaSonera backs Nyberg, denies bribery allegations

Scandinavian operator TeliaSonera (Stockholm, Sweden) has been forced to affirm its support for chief executive Lars Nyberg after press reports suggested the operator had hired a recruitment consultant to find his replacement.

Nyberg has been caught up in a scandal surrounding TeliaSonera’s operation in Uzbekistan, where it stands accused of bribery and money laundering.

Telecom Italia under attack by TIM Brasil shareholder

One of TIM Brasil’s minority shareholders has filed a lawsuit against Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy), which owns 67% of the Brazilian operator, claiming the Italian company’s mismanagement has resulted in substantial losses for investors.

According to a Reuters report, JVCO Participações blames Telecom Italia for wiping 10 billion reais ($4.9 billion) off the value of TIM Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). In a statement, the investment group said that Telecom Italia “has exercised its controlling power abusively, causing losses to TIM and its shareholders”.

Verizon Wireless says ahead of target on high-speed network


Verizon Wireless (New York, USA) said it is about two months ahead of schedule in its network upgrade as it will have high-speed wireless service in 400 markets by October 18, ahead of its year-end target for this milestone.

Since late 2010, Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc (Newbury, UK), has been upgrading its network with a high-speed wireless technology known as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

Vivendi looking into sale of Maroc Telecom stake

Vivendi (Paris, France) is considering a sale of its controlling stake in Morocco’s largest telecoms operator, according to the Financial Times.

The French media conglomerate has reportedly hired Lazard and Crédit Agricole banks to look into the sale of its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom (Rabat, Morocco).

Such a divestment could raise as much as €4 billion for Vivendi, according to financiers cited by the FT.

Hutchison, EU set for talks on Orange Austria bid

Hutchison 3G (Hong Kong) is set to meet EU authorities on Wednesday this week to present the case for its planned takeover of Orange Austria, reports Reuters.

The mooted €1.3 billion acquisition has run into opposition from Joaquin Almunia, the EU’s competition commissioner, who fears the merger will result in a poorer deal for Austrian telecoms consumers and higher wholesale rates for MVNOs.

Italy's Wind calls for mobile network sharing


Italy's third-largest mobile phone company Wind (Rome, Italy) called for peers to share their frequencies and antennas to help roll out a superfast network.

"I believe there is awareness among all mobile operators that there is the need to place, into a specifically created company, frequencies and networks," Wind Chief Executive Maximo Ibarra said on the sidelines of an event in Capri on Friday.

"Competition will be on services," he said.

Qtel doubles stake in Kuwait's Wataniya

In one of the biggest telecoms deals of the year so far, Qtel (Doha, Qatar) has raised its stake in Wataniya (Kuwait City, Kuwait) from 52.5% to 92.1% for a fee of 519.1 million Kuwaiti dinars ($1.85 billion), hoping to boost the performance of Kuwait’s number-two operator.

Qtel, which has emerged as a major regional player over the last few years, says that increasing its stake in Wataniya represents a major step forwards in its ongoing expansion strategy.

Deutsche Telekom in T-Mobile USA-MetroPCS merger talks


Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) is in talks to merge its T-Mobile USA (Bellevue, USA) unit with MetroPCS (Richardson, USA) and take a majority stake in the combined wireless service provider, the German company said on Tuesday.

Deutsche Telekom, which has been looking for a way to bolster its customer-losing U.S. business, cautioned in a regulatory filing that the transaction was not a done deal because key issues had not yet been finalized.

Ofcom solves UK's 4G dilemma

But was it good fortune or part of a grand plan?

Either Ofcom has been spectacularly serendipitous or it has played a canny game. The UK telecoms regulator this week said it would be able to release spectrum earmarked for ‘4G’ LTE services sooner than it had originally thought possible. The announcement will soothe the tempers of Vodafone (Newbury, UK) and O2 (London, UK) executives, who were infuriated by Ofcom’s earlier decision to give rival EE (London, UK) a 4G headstart using frequencies it already owns. But did the regulator plan it this way from the outset?

Clearwire witnessing shareholder exodus

US wireless broadband operator Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) may be witnessing a shareholder exodus, with cable operator Comcast (Philadelphia, USA) becoming the latest investor to sour on the stock.

Comcast has not sold its 6% stake in Clearwire, but it has converted the holding into commonly traded shares, prompting speculation it is on the verge of doing so.

The news comes just days after Time Warner (New York, USA) began selling its 7.8% stake in the business. Other investors, including web giant Google (Mountain View, USA), have also sold their Clearwire shares.

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