Reliance Jio, RCOM form closer ties

Reliance Jio Infocomm has announced another network-sharing deal with Reliance Communications (RCOM) in a further sign of improving relations between India’s Ambani brothers.

The so-called Master Service Agreement will give Reliance Jio (Mumbai, India) access to RCOM’s (Mumbai, India) nationwide inter-city fiber network, which it hopes will help to speed up its deployment of a 4G network across India.

Reliance Jio said the agreement was based on “arm’s length pricing at prevailing market prices”.

US knocks plans for European communication network

Reuters

The United States on Friday criticized proposals to build a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States, warning that such rules could breach international trade laws.

In its annual review of telecommunications trade barriers, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative said impediments to cross-border data flows were a serious and growing concern.

Altice has no plans to raise SFR bid: Bloomberg

Altice has reportedly said it has no plans to increase its offer for Vivendi’s SFR after bidding rival Bouygues raised its own offer last week, according to Bloomberg.

Altice (Paris, France) has the flexibility to revise its bid between now and April 4 – when exclusive talks with Vivendi (Paris, France) are set to end – but believes it has the support of Vivendi, which is likely to face fewer antitrust and other regulatory hurdles in a sale to Altice than one involving Bouygues (Paris, France).

Egypt unified telecom licence to be activated before June 30: minister

Reuters

Egypt's Telecommunications Minister Atef Helmy said on Sunday the country's long awaited unified telecom licence for both mobiles and landlines will be activated within three months.

The licence would allow telecommunication companies to operate fixed-line and mobile networks, which would in turn allow Egypt's fixed-line monopoly Telecom Egypt (Cairo) to offer mobile services.

Deutsche Telekom cuts earnings targets to fund US expansion

Deutsche Telekom has slashed its free cash flow target for 2015 from €6 billion ($8.33 billion) to little more than €4.2 billion owing to the investment demands of its T-Mobile US subsidiary.

Reporting full year results, the operator said it would increase spending on the rollout of its LTE network using the 700MHz frequencies it recently acquired from Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY, USA).

Its goal is to extend coverage to about 250 million people, up from 225 million at the end of 2013.

Mexico telecoms regulator reins in Slim and his empire

Mexico's telecommunications watchdog unveiled a slew of regulations on Friday to claw back the massive telephone business of billionaire Carlos Slim, but said it would not order a break-up of his companies for now.

Mexico is trying to open up its phone and TV industries to more competition following last year's passage of a major telecoms reform that targets the vast market shares enjoyed by Slim and the country's no. 1 broadcaster, Televisa (Mexico City, Mexico).

Germany to invest proceeds from frequency sales in broadband

Reuters

German Infrastructure Minister Alexander Dobrindt said on Friday Berlin will invest the proceeds of planned sales of frequency bands to mobile telephone services in broadband infrastructure expansion.

Germany's right-left coalition government aims to have broadband of at least 50 megabits a second available across the country by 2018, up from a coverage level of 60 percent. For the upgrade an estimated 20 to 34 billion euros is necessary.

(Reporting by Thorsten Severin and Peter Maushagen, editing by David Evans)

SoftBank unit invests in Alibaba-backed online education firm

Reuters

An online education company backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Monday that a unit of Softbank Corp had made a strategic investment in the company for an undisclosed amount.

The investment in TutorGroup from SBI Group (Tokyo, Japan), formerly known as Softbank Finance Group and one of Asia's biggest venture capital firms, follows a capital raising of nearly $100 million for TutorGroup in February from Alibaba (Hangzhou, China), Singapore state investor Temasek Inc and China's Qiming Venture Partners (Shanghai).

Mobile privacy sells in post-Snowden world

Reuters

Following the Snowden snooping revelations, there is growing interest in a range of mobile phone products with one central selling point: privacy.

The latest contender is the Blackphone, an Android software-based mobile which encrypts texts, voice calls and video chats and will be launched at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday.

It aims to tap into the market for so-called mobile security management (MSM) products, which was estimated at $560 million in 2013 and is expected to nearly double in size to $1 billion a year by 2015, according to ABI Research.

Telecom firms mine for gold in big data despite privacy concerns

Reuters

Last year's revelations over the U.S. tapping of phone and internet data gave telecoms firms pause for thought over whether they should sell their "big data" for gain, but the commercial potential could prove irresistible.

Although figures are scarce, analysts think selling data on mobile users' locations, movements, and web browsing habits may grow into a multi billion-dollar market for the business.

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