Financial

Vodafone sees signs of recovery after another torrid quarter

Reuters

Britain's Vodafone said it was finally seeing early signs of a turnaround due to a growing number of customers and the take-up of more expensive 4G services, following yet another torrid quarter hit by fierce competition in Europe.

The world's second-largest mobile operator has reported record falls in underlying revenue in the last 18 months, due also to regulator-imposed price cuts and European consumers reducing the number of calls they made during the recession.

Alcatel halves net loss as turnaround strategy kicks in

Reuters

Alcatel-Lucent almost halved its net loss for 2013 as cost-cutting, a tweaked product offering and asset sales under Chief Executive Michel Combes began to take effect.

The telecoms equipment maker, which competes with Sweden's Ericsson (Stockholm), China's Huawei (Beijing) and Nokia's (Helsinki, Finland) NSN unit, said its gross margin was 34 percent and operating profit 307 million euros - both better than expected.

GE acquires API Healthcare in latest "Industrial Internet" move

GE has announced its takeover of software company API Healthcare, describing the move as a part of its “Industrial Internet” strategy and one that will bolster its portfolio of software, data and analytics services.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but GE (Fairfield, CT, USA) said that API Healthcare’s (Hartford, WI, USA) offerings would complement its own portfolio of Hospital Operations Management (HOM) services – provided through its GE Healthcare division – giving hospitals real-time access to operational data.

AutoGrid Systems raises $12.75 million in funding from E.ON, others

Cloud computing player AutoGrid Systems has raised $12.75 million in a fresh round of funding, including support from Germany’s E.ON, one of the world’s largest utility companies.

The company said the investments would be used to expand operations as it looks to promote its big data analytics solutions to energy companies and electricity users globally.

AT&T says does not intend to bid for Vodafone

Reuters

U.S. mobile operator AT&T said on Monday it was not planning to take over Britain's Vodafone, making its intentions clear after a request from the takeover panel following months of speculation.

The statement to the London Stock Exchange rules out the second-largest mobile service provider in the United States from buying Vodafone (Newbury, UK) for the next six months. However the group can still make an offer if Vodafone's board agrees to it, or if a third party enters the fray.

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.

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