Financial

BT to spend another $82.6 million on fiber rollout

UK fixed-line incumbent BT has unveiled plans to spend another £50 million ($82.6 million) on extending fiber broadband services to homes and businesses over the next three years.

In a statement, the operator said the extra investment would benefit more than 30 cities in the UK and more than 400,000 additional premises.

It will mainly focus on equipping city cabinets that were not part of BT’s (London, UK) original plans, deploying fiber to cabinets that serve apartment blocks and laying additional fiber to new build sites in cities.

Vodafone Hutchison Australia appoints new chief executive

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is set to replace departing chief executive Bill Morrow with Inaki Berroeta, who currently heads up the Vodafone Group’s business in Romania.

In a statement, the operator said that Berroeta would take over from Morrow on 1 March, with Morrow to stay on until the end of March to ensure a smooth transition takes place.

After that, Morrow will leave the Vodafone Group to take charge of NBN Co, the government-backed operator that is deploying a high-speed network across Australia.

Google gains entry to home and prized team with $3.2 billion Nest deal

Reuters

Google Inc took its biggest step to go deeper into consumers' homes, announcing a $3.2 billion deal to buy smart thermostat and smoke alarm-maker Nest Labs Inc, scooping up a promising line of products and a prized design team led by the "godfather" of the iPod.

Nest (Palo Alto, CA, USA) will continue to operate as its own distinct brand after the all-cash deal closes, Google (Mountain View, CA, USA) said on Monday.

The deal is the second largest in Google's history after the $12.5 billion acquisition of mobile phone maker Motorola in 2012.

Global M2M revenues to rise 13% annually to $54.5 billion in 2017: IDATE

Rising take-up in the automotive, consumer electronics and utilities sectors will drive a 13% annual increase in global M2M revenues, to €40 billion ($54.5 billion), between now and 2017, according to new research from IDATE.

The market-research company also expects to see the number of M2M modules in use grow by 30% over the same period, rising from 175 million in 2013 to 470 million in 2017.

Europe is expected to be the largest market in terms of revenues, although the Asia-Pacific will dominate when it comes to volumes.

TomTom says fleet-management business grew by 38% in 2013

Dutch navigation company TomTom has revealed that its fleet-management business grew by 38% in 2013 to serve a total of 330,000 connected vehicles.

Fleet-management services are now used by some 27,000 customers in more than 60 countries worldwide, according to the technology player.

“This year-on-year growth reflects our ongoing success in bringing to market products that offer significant value to companies operating vehicle fleets,” said Thomas Schmidt, the managing director of TomTom Business Solutions, which is responsible for the range of fleet-management services.

VC funding in healthcare IT doubles to $2.2 billion in 2013: Mercom

Venture capital (VC) funding in the healthcare IT sector almost doubled in 2013, growing to $2.2 billion across 571 deals, from $1.2 billion across 163 deals in 2012, according to the latest research from Mercom Capital Group.

The sector also managed to raise $648 million in debt and public market financing, notes Mercom, bringing the total corporate funding raised by the sector to nearly $3 billion.

Welldoc raises $20 million in funding for BlueStar rollout

Mobile prescription therapy specialist Welldoc says it has raised $20 million in strategic financing that will help support the rollout of BlueStar, a product that allows diabetes patients to self-manage their treatment.

The funding comes from institutional investors Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Windham Venture Partners and broadens the company’s capitalization beyond its initial group of angel investors.

Welldoc (Baltimore, MD) says that for a limited time it will also explore the possibility of adding co-investors that would contribute “strategic value”.

Price war in US mobile market raises fear of profit hemorrhage

Reuters

New Year's rivalry among U.S. mobile operators has Wall Street worried that the industry's profits could seriously decline.

After months of aggressive moves by T-Mobile US (Bellevue, WA, USA) to lure customers from other carriers, No. 2 operator AT&T Inc (Dallas, TX, USA) counter-attacked on January 3 by offering to pay consumers to switch from T-Mobile.

Days later, No. 3 ranked Sprint Corp (Overland Park, KS, USA) promised big discounts for family and friend groups. On Wednesday, T-Mobile upped the ante, saying it would pay hefty exit costs for converts.

Australia's Telstra to offload majority stake in struggling Sensis

Reuters

Australia's biggest phone company Telstra Corporation Ltd has agreed to sell 70 percent of its directories unit Sensis, offloading a struggling business challenged by digital transition for less than the market had anticipated.

The sale of Sensis, following Telstra's (Melbourne, Australia) sale of Hong Kong mobile phone business last month, would further boost the telco giant's cash war chest to invest in new growth businesses and expand its mobile network.

France's Montebourg presses Alcatel-Lucent to reduce job cuts

Reuters

France's industry minister pressed struggling telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent on Friday to cut fewer jobs as part of a restructuring aimed at stemming years of losses.

The Franco-American group ran into opposition from President Francois Hollande's Socialist government when it said in October it would lay off 10,000 workers worldwide, including 900 in France.

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