Middle East telcos mull alliance in Facebook fight

Reuters

Middle East telecommunications firms are discussing the idea of creating a pan-Arab online platform that would earn them more revenue from their networks by challenging Facebook (Menlo Park, USA) and other Internet behemoths of the West.

The ambitious project faces technical and financial obstacles and may never be implemented on a large scale.

Insight: Italy's slow internet set for reboot

Reuters

IMM Hydraulics, a small exporter of hoses for industries such as agriculture and mining, is the kind of firm that should be at the center of Italy's efforts to rekindle its stagnant economy.

Instead, the company, located in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, is wrestling with a basic impediment to profitability: a woefully slow broadband connection. With just 2 megabits (MB) per second, IMM Hydraulics' broadband connection lags behind the 5 MB typical in Italian cities, which in turn is well behind an average of 12 MB in France and 16 MB in Germany.

Telekom Austria slashes dividends as Slim raises stake

Telekom Austria (Vienna, Austria) has slashed its dividends by 87% in the same week that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim secured a 23% share in the incumbent operator.

In a statement released this week, the company said it would cut its dividend from €0.38 to €0.05 per share this year and maintain that figure throughout 2013.

Temasek selling up to 500 million SingTel shares: term sheet

Reuters

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (Singapore) will sell as many as 500 million shares in Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singapore) to raise up to $1.34 billion, according to a term sheet seen by IFR late on Tuesday.

The transaction comprises a base size of 400 million SingTel shares at S$3.20 and S$3.25, which works out to around S$1.3 billion ($1.06 billion). It includes an upsize option for another 100 million shares that if exercised will raise the deal size to $1.34 billion.

A Temasek spokesman confirmed the sale.

Broadband still unaffordable in many emerging markets, says ITU

The International Telecommunications Union has said broadband services remain unaffordable in many parts of the developing world and urged governments to work on lowering their cost.

In a new report published this week, the international standards body said that in 2011 broadband access cost more than half of national average income in 30 economies and more than national average income in 19 economies.

While the price of broadband access was less than 2% of average income in 49 economies, most of those were in the developed world.

Verizon to pay more than $250 million in Tivo settlement

Reuters

TiVo Inc (Alviso, USA) will receive at least $250.4 million from Verizon Communications Inc (New York, USA) as part of a patent litigation settlement, the video recorder pioneer said on Monday, sending its shares up 5 percent.

TiVo has had to turn to litigation to generate revenue from licensing fees as the company has struggled to fight competition from low-cost rivals in recent years.

The settlement, which marks a big victory for TiVo, follows a similar deal it reached in January with AT&T Inc (Dallas, USA), which agreed to pay $215 million.

Emerging Asia-Pac telecoms revenues to grow by $94 billion to 2016

Telecoms retail revenues in emerging Asia-Pacific markets are forecast to increase from $229.7 billion in 2011 to $323.7 billion by 2016, according to a new report from Analysys Mason.

Growth will be driven by the adoption of data services on smartphones and other mobile devices, with 3G and 4G connections accounting for 46% of the total by 2016.

The study looks at Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand, noting that China and India account for 68% of the region’s population, 64% of active SIMs and 75% of retail revenues.

Time Warner to sell Clearwire stake

Time Warner Cable (New York, USA) intends to sell its 7.8% stake in mobile broadband provider Clearwire (Kirkland, USA), according to Dow Jones Newswires.

The cable operator has made clear its plans in a regulatory filing and also notified other Clearwire investors, which have the option of purchasing all or part of the stake.

Time Warner paid around $550 million for its interest in Clearwire back in 2008, but the shares would fetch only about $73.3 million at current prices.

Alcatel-Lucent wins broadband deal in Colombia

Alcatel-Lucent (Paris, France) has signed a contract with Azteca Comunicaciones Colombia (Bogota, Colombia) to build a broadband network in the Latin American country.

The operator aims to connect 753 municipalities and bring high-quality TV, video, voice and high-speed data services to millions of consumers and business users.

As a major supplier on the project, Alcatel-Lucent will deploy broadband infrastructure in some 216 of those municipalities.

UK government scraps planning regulations for superfast broadband

The UK government hopes to speed progress to a superfast broadband future by allowing operators to roll out their networks without gaining the planning approval normally required by authorities.

Under new rules announced by Maria Miller, who replaced Jeremy Hunt as culture secretary in a cabinet reshuffle earlier this month, operators will be able to install street cabinets and other broadband equipment without first seeking approval from local councils.

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