China Mobile profit up 1.5% as 3G business struggles

Competition from over-the-top services and the deficiencies of its own third-generation (3G) mobile-phone technology are costing China Mobile dearly.

The biggest mobile-phone operator in China reported disappointing growth in net profit for the first half of the year of just 1.5%, to 62.2 billion yuan ($9.77 billion), compared with the same period of 2011.

As China’s vast market becomes flooded with handsets, revenues rose just 6.6% to 266.53 billion yuan, a much weaker rate of growth than in previous years.

Qtel makes $2.2 billion offer for Wataniya

Qatar’s Qtel has made a $2.2 billion offer for the 47.5% share of Kuwait’s Wataniya it does not already own.

The operator says it has already won the approval of Kuwait’s Capital Markets Authority for the deal.

The announcement comes just two months after Qtel doubled its stake in Iraq’s Asiacell to 60% for $1.47 billion.

Backed by the cash-rich Qatari state, Qtel is increasing its holdings in fast-growing businesses at a time when other big telecoms operators would struggle to fund deals.

Regulators OK T-Mobile testing of shared use of airwaves

Reuters

U.S. communications regulators will allow T-Mobile USA to test the impact of commercial wireless broadband on a highly sought after swatch of airwaves currently used for government operations, the company said on Wednesday.

Testing by T-Mobile, the U.S. unit of Deutsche Telekom AG
, would gauge potential opportunities and challenges for wireless carriers looking to deploy next generation 4G wireless services on the 1755-1850 megahertz band, while sharing the airwaves with existing government users.

LightSquared investigation deadline extended

Reuters

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Shelley C. Chapman this afternoon extended a critical document discovery deadline in the LightSquared bankruptcy proceedings.

The deadline was extended to September 28 from September 11 in U.S. bankruptcy court, effectively allowing the parties involved more time.

A group of lenders holding over $1.08 billion of secured debt at LightSquared LP, the company's main operating subsidiary, seeks to investigate the propriety of a $279 million loan extended to the holding company for LightSquared last July.

Cellcom, Partner plan internet TV as mobile competition bites

Reuters

Israel's two largest mobile phone operators Cellcom and Partner Communications are planning television-over-Internet services as weak earnings highlighted their need for profitable new earnings streams.

Haim Romano, Partner's chief executive, said on Tuesday the company was working to accelerate TV Internet services. "Once the conditions are ripe, Partner will offer an innovative, quality and attractive solution also in this area," he said.

Cellcom CEO Nir Sztern also said he was examining Internet TV as well as an entry to the cellular credit card business.

US wireless subscriber growth declines sharply

America’s mobile-phone market is showing signs of maturity as operators focus on raising revenue generated by existing customers.

According to a new report from Dow Jones Newswires, the four biggest mobile-phone operators in the US signed up just 405,000 contract customers in the second quarter of the year, less than a half the number they acquired during the same period of 2011.

With penetration now topping 100%, operators are finding it harder than ever to attract new business.

Google to cut 4,000 Motorola Mobility jobs, take $275 million charge

Reuters

Motorola Mobility, which was bought by Google Inc for $12.5 billion, will cut 20 percent of its workforce and shut nearly a third of its offices worldwide, Google said on Monday.

"These changes are designed to return Motorola's mobile devices unit to profitability, after it lost money in fourteen of the last sixteen quarters," Google said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"While lower expenses are likely to lag the immediate negative impact to revenue, Google sees these actions as a key step for Motorola to achieve sustainable profitability."

US lobbyist severs ties with Chinese telecom ZTE

Reuters

A former U.S. lawmaker who lobbied for China's second largest telecommunications-equipment maker, ZTE Corp, severed ties with the company last month after reports that the FBI is investigating ZTE for allegedly selling banned computer equipment to Iran, according to a lobbying disclosure report.

Former Representative Jon Christensen, a Nebraska Republican, filed a termination report to the U.S. Senate's lobbying disclosure database saying he stopped representing the company as of July 13, a day after news broke of the FBI investigation.

RIM looks to sell NewBay, other assets: source

Reuters

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is looking to sell cloud services provider NewBay and some of the other minor assets it recently acquired, as part of a strategic review process, according to a source familiar with the matter.

RIM acquired NewBay, a provider of photo, video, and social-networking tools for smartphones and computers, in October 2011 for reportedly around $100 million, as it sought to roll out a new strategy to stem its steady decline.

RIM declined to comment on the sale report.

Thai AIS enjoys mobile data boom

Thai mobile operator AIS has reported impressive gains in profit and revenues thanks to surging demand for mobile data services, continued growth in its voice business and lower amortization costs.

For the second quarter of the year, AIS saw a 43% increase in net income, compared with the same period last year, to 8.7 billion baht ($277 million), while revenues grew by 12%, to 26.7 billion baht.

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