Financial

SoftBank expects to complete Sprint takeover on July 10

Japan’s SoftBank has said it expects to complete its takeover of Sprint on July 10 just days after US regulatory authorities cleared the deal as well as Sprint’s related acquisition of Clearwire shares it does not already own.

SoftBank (Tokyo, Japan) is set to pay $21.6 billion for a 78% stake in Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA), the third-biggest operator in the US, as it looks to capitalize on soaring demand for mobile broadband services.

Telenor threatens to quit Pakistan's 3G auction: report

Norway’s Telenor says it might withdraw from Pakistan’s upcoming auction for 3G spectrum licenses following a government decision to increase taxes imposed on telecom operators in the country, reports The Express Tribune.

In an interview with the publication, Lars Christian Luel, the chief executive of Telenor (Fornebu, Norway), attacked the targeting of the telecoms industry by tax collectors, saying operators are not “money-making machines”.

Vodafone enterprise unit to open new hubs in Africa

The UK’s Vodafone has unveiled plans to open two new regional hubs in Africa to support the growing demand for its enterprise services.

Vodafone Global Enterprise (VGE), which caters to corporate customers, plans to establish hubs in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana to provide greater support for more than 600 of its multinational customers with operations in Africa.

VGE serves some 1,700 customers internationally and says revenues have been growing fast in Africa, exceeding €1 billion ($1.29 billion) in the last financial year.

S&P cuts Nokia rating further on Siemens venture buyout

Reuters

Standard & Poor's downgraded Nokia further into junk territory on Friday, warning that the Finnish telecom firm's plan to take over Siemens AG's stake in their joint network equipment venture would strain its finances.

The ratings agency downgraded the one-time tech darling by one notch to B+ from BB- citing pressure on its net cash after Nokia (Helsinki, Finland) said on Monday it would buy Siemens's (Munich, Germany) 50 percent share in Nokia Siemens Networks.

Japan's DoCoMo holds out to iPhone mania, but at what cost?

Reuters

NTT DoCoMo Inc, Japan's largest mobile provider and a pioneer of the mobile Internet, is one of just a few holdouts among the world's big mobile carriers not offering Apple Inc's iPhone to its 60 million customers.

It is paying heavily for that obstinacy - with a net 3.2 million users jumping ship to its two domestic rivals over the last 4-1/2 years - but is determined to protect the walled garden of services it has built around its own smartphones.

India Telecom Commission supports allowing 100% foreign investment

India’s Telecom Commission has backed a proposed rule change that would allow foreign companies to take full ownership of telecoms assets in the country, reports Reuters.

At present, overseas investors are prohibited from owning more than 74% of an Indian telecoms business – a regulation that has forced companies like Vodafone (Newbury, UK), Telenor (Fornebu, Norway) and Sistema (Moscow, Russia) to find domestic partners.

Telecom Italia, Hutchison talks stalled ahead of board meeting: sources

Reuters

Hutchison Whampoa is losing patience with Telecom Italia over lack of progress on a proposed merger of their Italian mobile phone units, people familiar with the talks said, casting doubt on prospects for a deal.

The Hong Kong-based conglomerate, backed by Asian magnate Li Ka Shing, favors consolidation to bolster its position in its six European markets and is eager to do a deal in Italy, where it is the smallest mobile operator with a 10 percent market share.

Spanish mobile bills to fall after regulator rate cut

Reuters

Spain's telecoms watchdog cut the fees mobile operators can charge each other for connecting calls on Monday, which is likely to lower customer phone bills in a nation battling recession.

Competition in the Spanish market has heated up in recent months for operators Telefonica (Madrid, Spain), Vodafone (Alcobendas, Spain), Orange (Pozuelo de Alarcon, Spain) and Yoigo (Alcobendas, Spain) as they struggle to cling on to customers in the country, where 27 percent of the workforce is unemployed.

EU roaming rates slashed from July

New rules introduced by the European Union (EU) mean the cost of using mobile services when travelling between EU countries will fall from the beginning of this week.

Prices for making calls look set to fall by up to 17% a minute, with those for receiving calls dropping by 11% a minute, while the cost of sending a text message will come down by around 11%.

The biggest cuts, however, are to the cost of using mobile data services.

Nokia to buy out Siemens equipment venture; shares surge

Reuters

Nokia shares surged on Monday after it announced plans to buy out partner Siemans AG's share of their valuable network equipment joint venture, betting on the technology to run 4G networks after it stumbled as a maker of smartphones.

Loss-making Nokia (Helsinki, Finland) gains full control of the profitable venture Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) for $2.2 billion, a cheaper than-expected price, analysts said, although they also noted the acquisition would put pressure on Nokia's balance sheet.

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