Facebook launching project to make internet more affordable

Reuters

Facebook Inc's (Menlo Park, CA, USA) Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg has enlisted Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (Seoul, South Korea), Qualcomm Inc (San Diego, CA, USA) and four other companies for a project aimed at bringing Internet access to people around the world who can't afford it, mirroring efforts by Google Inc (Mountain View, CA, USA) and others.

The project is called Internet.org and will be launched Wednesday. It focuses on enabling the next 5 billion people without access to come online, Zuckerberg said.

Al Jazeera America launches, but AT&T won't carry network

Reuters

New cable network Al Jazeera America introduced itself to viewers on Tuesday with reports on political strife in Egypt and the impact of climate change on U.S. cities, shortly after a major pay TV distributor declined to carry the channel.

The decision by AT&T's (Dallas, TX, USA) U-verse pay-TV service stemmed from a contract dispute over terms to carry the new network, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said.

Al Jazeera (Doha, Qatar) responded by suing AT&T for breach of contract in Delaware Chancery Court.

Telekom Austria linked with $1.3 billion bid for Serbia Broadband: Bloomberg

Austrian telecoms incumbent Telekom Austria has been linked with a €1 billion ($1.3 billion) bid for cable company Serbia Broadband in a report from Bloomberg.

Citing sources familiar with the proceedings, Bloomberg says that Telekom Austria (Vienna, Austria) has re-entered bidding for the Serbian company, after dropping off a list of companies examining Serbia Broadband’s (Belgrade, Serbia) books, with other interested parties said to include Providence Equity Partners, Cinven Advisers and Altice Finco.

Indian market grows to more than 900 million customers

The number of telecoms customers in India crossed the 900 million mark in May, according to new data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), with Reliance Communications boasting the biggest number of mobile additions.

In its latest report, the TRAI says the number of mobile customers rose from about 867 million in April to more than 870 million at the end of May, while the fixed-line base shrank by some 140,000 customers to finish the month with some 29.85 million subscribers overall.

Sprint completes trial of 400Gbps technology

US operator Sprint says it has successfully carried out a trial of 400Gbps technology that could help to support the rising demand for data services on both fixed and mobile networks.

The operator has been working with network equipment vendor Ciena (Hanover, MD, USA) on the deployment of the high-speed technology, and says the two companies completed the 400Gbps trial in the Silicon Valley area in July.

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Dutch foundation threatens to block America Movil bid for KPN

An independent Dutch foundation has expressed concern about the proposed acquisition of KPN by Latin American telecoms giant America Movil, casting doubt over the likelihood of a takeover, reports Reuters.

Owned by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico) last week announced plans for a €7.2 billion ($9.56 billion) takeover of the Dutch telecoms incumbent, in which it currently holds a 30% share.

Singtel blames Australia for sales decline, but profits grow

Singaporean telecoms incumbent SingTel has seen a healthy rise in net profit for the three months ending June despite reporting a fall in revenues it blamed on a “more cautious business environment” and weakness in the Australian mobile market.

Singtel’s net income was up by 7%, to SGD1.01 billion ($796 million), compared with the same period of 2012, thanks to the operator’s efforts to cut costs and despite ongoing investments in spectrum, networks and its digital businesses.

MTN adds 12 million customers despite first-half challenges

Pan-African operator MTN Group saw profits and revenues for the first half of the year buoyed by continuing subscriber growth despite pricing pressure across most of its markets.

Profits after tax rose by 19%, to ZAR14.55 billion ($1.46 billion), compared with the same period of 2012, while revenues were up by 9.8%, to ZAR65.25 billion.

Meanwhile, the company’s overall subscriber base grew by 6.5%, compared with end-June 2012, to 201.5 million customers.

Slim-backed Telekom Austria and KPN form network pact

Reuters

Telekom Austria and Dutch group KPN, the European rivals in which Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim has invested, have joined forces to offer internet-based data services to wholesale and large business customers, they said on Tuesday.

The two companies are combining their infrastructure to create a "backbone" optic fiber network across 35 countries whereby Telekom Austria (Vienna, Austria) can use KPN's (The Hague, Netherlands) network for its customers in western Europe and KPN can use Telekom Austria's network in central and eastern Europe.

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