Telenor warns Europe falling behind US in telecoms


Europe has fallen behind the United States in mobile telephone network development because its regulatory framework is fragmented and does not provide incentives for investment, the head of Norwegian telecoms group Telenor told Reuters.

European fourth-generation (4G) network frequencies are too expensive, the investment cost is high and operators, particularly in countries affected by drawn out recessions, lack the pricing power to make the investment worthwhile, Chief Executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas said in an interview.

Deutsche Telekom finance chief to replace CEO Obermann


Deutsche Telekom chief executive Rene Obermann has unexpectedly announced he will step down at the end of 2013 and be succeeded by finance director Timotheus Hoettges.

Hoettges, 50, said on Thursday he was not planning major changes to strategy and would continue Obermann's drive of investing in the United States and Germany as the firm battles to return to revenue growth against a tough economic backdrop.

"I have worked with Obermann for 12 years, and I don't expect to change a lot in the way that we do things," he told journalists during a conference call.

Clearwire, Sprint set up $120 million breakup fee


Sprint Corp promised to pay Clearwire Corp a $120 million breakup fee if its $2.2 billion purchase of roughly half of the smaller wireless service provider does not go ahead.

At the same time, Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) said on Tuesday it agreed to a "no-shop" provision, meaning it cannot seek other offers but could consider unsolicited offers.

Clearwire and Sprint (Overland Park, USA), its majority owner, announced details of their merger agreement in a regulatory filing the day after Sprint agreed buy out the rest of Clearwire for $2.97 per share.

Telenet rejects low offer price from Liberty Global

Belgian cable company Telenet remains opposed to a takeover bid from majority owner Liberty Global (LGI), with independent directors saying the offer price of €35 ($47) per share is too low.

In a statement quoted by Dow Jones Newswires, Telenet’s directors said “the current offer does not sufficiently reflect the value of the company and its prospects”. The statement went on to say the directors “would consider recommending an offer from LGI if it were made at a price between €39 and €40”.

Telefonica transfers shares of Peru unit to LatAm Co


Telefonica SA said on Tuesday it transferred about half of the shares of its Peruvian unit to its Latin American holding company in an internal deal worth $1.5 billion.

The move is part of a broader plan, which the Spanish telephony giant said this month it was considering, to list up to 15 percent of the firm that groups together its Latin American assets from a dozen countries.

The potential listing of the company, called Telefonica Latinoamerica Holding SL, could generate cash to pay down $7.8 billion in debt.

Phone competition arrives in north of Canada

Residents of Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Inuvik are unfamiliar with the concept of choice in telecoms. While most Canadians witnessed the demise of the old-fashioned monopoly system about 15 years ago, those in the vast territories reached via the 867 area code have had to make do with a sole provider in the shape of NorthwesTel, a subsidiary of BCE.

Until now, that is. The launch of a new local phone service was this week announced by Iristel (Markham, Canada), promising consumers and businesses significantly lower fees than they currently pay, with no need to change numbers.

Clearwire accepts slightly sweeter bid from Sprint


Clearwire Corp agreed to sell a roughly 50 percent stake for $2.2 billion to majority shareholder Sprint Nextel Corp, which would then have full ownership of spectrum that will help it offer high-speed wireless services.

The $2.97-per-share deal is only 7 cents per share higher than a bid many minority shareholders said was too low days before. Clearwire (Bellevue, USA) shares slid 9.8 percent to $3.04 in premarket trading.

Softbank signs $19.7 billion loan for Sprint acquisition

Japan’s Softbank says its board has approved the signing of a bridge loan contract for up to JPY1.65 trillion ($19.7 billion), which the company plans to use to fund its purchase of a controlling stake in US operator Sprint.

Softbank (Tokyo, Japan), Japan’s third-largest mobile-phone operator, announced plans to buy 70% of Sprint back in October for a fee of approximately $20 billion.

The deal would mark the largest foreign acquisition by a Japanese company of all time.

Alcatel-Lucent to build Tunisia fixed-line network for Qtel

Franco-American equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent has struck a deal with Qtel to build a high-speed, fibre-based network in Tunisia, as the Qatari incumbent prepares to enter the North African country’s fixed-line market.

In a statement, Alcatel-Lucent (Paris, France) said it had signed a four-year agreement with Tunisiana – a Qtel (Doha, Qatar) subsidiary that currently provides mobile-phone services in Tunisia – to build a fixed-line network that will support voice, high-speed broadband and video services for residential and business customers.

Softbank caps Sprint's Clearwire bid; investors want more


Sprint Nextel Corp's $2.1 billion offer to buy out Clearwire Corp appeared to be running into trouble on Thursday, as some shareholders said they wanted more money while Softbank Corp set a cap on how much Sprint could pay.

Sprint (Overland Park, USA), which owns 50.45 percent of Clearwire (Bellevue, USA), offered $2.90 per share for the rest of the company and said it would also provide interim financing of $800 million to the cash-strapped company. Any deal would need approval by Softbank (Tokyo, Japan), which has agreed to buy 70 percent of Sprint for about $20 billion.

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