Vodafone considering takeover of Kabel Deutschland: report

UK operator Vodafone is considering an acquisition of German cable company Kabel Deutschland, according to German publication manager magazin.

Both companies refused to comment on the speculation, but manager magazin claims that Jens Schulte-Bockum, the chief executive of Vodafone Deutschland, and Warren Finegold, the group strategy and business development director for Vodafone (Newbury, UK), have already put a business plan for the takeover in front of Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive.

They also suggest that Colao is in favour of the acquisition.

Telenor ramps up investments to support shift to data

Reuters

Mobile telecoms firm Telenor expects to accelerate investments in data and digital services this year as customers flock to its higher margin products, it said on Wednesday.

Telenor (Fornebu, Norway), which has around 150 million customers in Europe and Asia, will continue to roll out its third generation (3G) service in Thailand and fibre network in Norway to take advantage of "exploding" demand, and could also invest in 3G services elsewhere in Asia and in Denmark.

Nokia protests against Indian tax probe

Reuters

Finnish phone maker Nokia said on Tuesday it was protesting against a tax investigation in India, a crucial market, in the latest dispute involving a foreign company's tax.

Nokia (Helsinki, Finland) said it has not yet received any information on potential claims resulting from the investigation that started in January.

Ericsson and Gemalto aim to simplify M2M adoption

Swedish network-equipment vendor Ericsson has formed an alliance with Dutch digital-security specialist Gemalto aimed at simplifying the adoption of M2M services.

The companies say their partnership will address operators’ need to meet enterprise M2M requirements and for sophisticated business-process integration.

It will combine Ericsson’s Device Connection Platform with Gemalto’s Subscription Management Platform, providing “an integrated M2M solution”.

Kamstrup and Elster team up on smart meters

Smart-meter providers Kamstrup and Elster have struck a deal aimed at strengthening their proposition and providing a “strong integrated smart meter network for utilities”.

The companies say the deal was done partly in response to utilities’ demand for more than one provider of radio-frequency (RF) technology.

Their solution is based on Kamstrup’s standardised RF technology, and Kamstrup (Skanderborg, Denmark) says this will help utilities to avoid “a vendor lock-in”.

Telefonica partners with Generali on usage-based motor insurance

Telefonica has partnered with insurance company Generali Seguros to provide an insurance service to Spanish motorists that calculates premiums according to driving habits.

The companies say the service, branded “Pago como conduzco”, will be of particular benefit to younger drivers with good driving habits.

Customers stand to save up to 40% compared with a conventional policy, argue the companies.

Telecom Italia cuts dividends to fund network rollout

Telecom Italia said it will slash dividends in half and raise some €3 billion ($4 billion) in debt so that it can continue funding the rollout of next-generation networks, but the Italian incumbent is still aiming to lower its high overall level of net debt.

The dividend cut follows similar moves by other European incumbents, including Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) and KPN (The Hague, Netherlands), which are under pressure to invest in faster mobile and fixed-line networks during a period of economic retrenchment.

Swedish Skype-rival Rebtel may list in 2-3 years: CEO

Reuters

Rebtel, which says it is the world's second-biggest provider of voice calls over the Internet after Skype, could go for a stock market listing in the next two to three years if it meets its growth targets, its CEO said.

Voice over Internet (VoIP) players like Rebtel (Stockholm, Sweden) and Skype (Luxembourg) offer calls for free or at a fraction of the cost charged by traditional telecom operators and have been growing rapidly in recent years.

KPN looks to $5.4 billion rights issue to slash debts

Dutch incumbent KPN has announced plans for a €4 billion ($5.4 billion) rights issue as it strives to reduce spiralling debts with its profits and revenues in decline.

The company’s net debt soared to €12 billion for the fourth quarter of 2012 after it spent a whopping €1.4 billion on licenses to provide 4G services in a recent Dutch auction.

As a result, net debt now works out at more than three times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), up from a ratio of 2.3 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Liberty Global buys Virgin Media for $23.3 billion

Pan-European cable company Liberty Global has announced a $23.3 billion acquisition of the UK’s Virgin Media that looks set to shake up the country’s telecoms, broadband and pay-TV markets.

The transaction includes a mixture of cash and Liberty Global (Amsterdam, Netherlands) shares and values Virgin Media (Hook, UK) at $47.87 a share – 24% higher than its closing price on February 4.

The deal will increase Liberty Global’s customer base to 25 million and give the company a major presence in one of Europe’s biggest markets.

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