Telecom Italia Media sells La7 channel for 1 million euros

Reuters

Telecom Italia Media said on Monday it would pump money into its cash-burning La7 channel before offloading it to media firm Cairo Communication for a token price.

The Italian broadcaster, controlled by telecoms group Telecom Italia (Rome, Italy), has agreed to sell its flagship network for 1 million euros in a deal that underscores the difficulties of Italy's media industry.

"I have taken on a hot potato," the head of Cairo Communication (Milan, Italy), Urbano Cairo, said in a radio interview after a Telecom Italia Media board meeting on Monday to approve the deal.

CeBIT: Germany must reform to lead "fourth industrial revolution", says Steinbruck

Germany has the potential to be at the forefront of the digital revolution currently under way, but only if it is prepared to make dramatic improvements in its business environment and increase spending on education.

That was the message delivered by Peer Steinbruck, the SPD party’s designated candidate for the role of Germany’s Chancellor in the 2013 general elections, during this morning’s keynote speech at the CeBIT tradeshow in Hannover.

Deutsche Telekom to connect BMW cars for rental company Sixt

Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and automaker BMW are to provide a connected-car service based on LTE and WiFi technology to Sixt, the country’s biggest car-rental company.

From summer this year, say the companies, a large proportion of BMW (Munich, Germany) cars belonging to Sixt’s (Pullach, Germany) fleet in Germany will be equipped with so-called “BMW ConnectedDrive hotspots”.

Services will be free to use for the first 12 months and Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) already has plans to make the offer available to further customer groups in the future.

Arkessa becomes Three UK's first M2M platform customer

M2M specialist Arkessa claims to be the first company to launch services based on the new wholesale M2M platform being offered by UK mobile-phone operator Three.

The company says it will take advantage of Three’s “ultrafast” network to offer embedded data SIM cards for devices that require high-speed connections for video and other advanced services, including CCTV cameras and remote health-monitoring systems.

Avnet Memec becomes pan-European distributor for Wyless

Semiconductor distributor Avnet Memec is claiming “mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE)” status after signing a deal to become a pan-European distributor for M2M managed-services provider Wyless.

Avnet Memec (Poing, Germany) says that its M2M customers will now benefit from having access to the Wyless (Lawrence, USA) managed network and Wyless’ Porthos-branded management platform, reducing costs and time to market.

Deutsche Telekom finally launches joyn

Deutsche Telekom has finally launched a joyn service in Germany just weeks after blaming technical difficulties for delays to its introduction of the technology.

The German incumbent becomes the latest operator to add joyn, the brand name for the Rich Communication Suite-enhanced (RCS-e) standard backed by the GSM Association (GSMA), to its portfolio of services.

Widely seen as an attempt by operators to fight over-the-top players on their own terms, joyn has been heavily criticised as too little and too late.

Russia set to remove CEO from Rostelecom board: agency

Reuters

Alexander Provotorov, the CEO of Russian telecom firm Rostelecom, looks set to lose his place on the company's board after the government backed a list of candidates that did not include him, according to Russia's Prime news agency.

The government, which has a 53 percent stake in Rostelecom (Moscow, Russia) via state holding company Svyazinvest (Moscow, Russia), has been critical of management's plans to expand in the competitive mobile market, as well as a weak share price, prompting media speculation that Provotorov could be replaced.

Telefonica units pressured by falling mobile calls

Reuters

Telefonica's German and Czech divisions said wireless service revenue fell as customers made fewer calls but spent more time online on smartphones and tablets.

Average mobile phone bills in Europe have fallen 15 percent since 2007, and now account for just 62.6 percent of cash flow for European companies, down from 80 percent then, according to research firm Informa.

At the same time, data volume - usually sold for a flat fee - is expected to double each year until 2015, industry group GSMA has said.

Qtel banks on Morocco ties in Maroc Telecom bid: CEO

Reuters

Qatar Telecom, seeking to complete its North Africa footprint and grow via mobile broadband, said the Gulf country's good rapport with Morocco could give it an edge over other firms bidding for partly state-owned Maroc Telecom.

Qtel (Doha, Qatar) Chief Executive Nasser Marafih told Reuters in an interview the kingdom of Morocco, which owns 30 percent of Maroc Telecom (Rabat, Morocco), would play a role in picking the winner.

Korean operators warn Europe of "curse" of 4G networks

Reuters

South Korean telecom executives have a message for European cousins who have long looked on in envy at the highly connected Asian market: Be careful what you wish for.

South Korea, the world's most wired country with 30 percent of its 50 million mobile users on superfast networks, has inspired many European operators ahead of their own rollout of networks based on LTE, or fourth-generation technology.

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