Financial

Vodafone to boost UK capex by 50% as it prepares for 4G: Financial Times

Vodafone looks set to increase capital expenditure on its UK network by more than 50% this year as it rolls out new 4G networks, according to the UK’s Financial Times.

The operator won spectrum allowing it to deploy the next-generation mobile-phone technology in a government auction in February, spending a total of £802.8m on frequencies in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum bands, but was recently reported to have delayed the launch of commercial 4G services until the end of the summer from an original target of May or June.

Credit impact of Telecom Italia spinoff depends on regulation: Fitch

The credit impact on Telecom Italia of spinning off its fixed-line network depends on the details of the agreement the Italian incumbent strikes with the country’s regulatory authorities, according to Fitch Ratings.

In a statement published this week, the ratings agency says there would be a strategic advantage in maintaining control of the network, especially as there is no infrastructure-based competition from cable companies in Italy.

Altimo not to re-bid for Orascom Telecom shares

Russian investment group Altimo has said it has no intention of embarking on a second attempt to buy out minority shareholders in Orascom Telecom, after Egyptian financial authorities scuppered its efforts to reopen the original tender.

Altimo (Moscow, Russia) indirectly owns 24.85% of Orascom Telecom (Cairo, Egypt) through its 47.85% stake in VimpelCom (Amsterdam, Netherlands), the Egyptian company’s majority owner.

Rogers, Videotron extend reach with network-sharing deal

Reuters

Rogers Communications Inc and Quebecor Inc's Videotron wireless arm plan to build and operate a shared high-speed wireless network in and around Québec, a cost-saving arrangement that is expected to stoke competition in the French-speaking Canadian province.

Rogers (Toronto, Canada), the nation's largest wireless provider, now spends far more on its network than its main rivals, Telus Corp (Burnaby, Canada) and BCE Inc's Bell (Montreal, Canada) unit, do on their shared network.

India authorities dismiss Nokia tax appeal

Reuters

Indian authorities dismissed Nokia's appeals over an income tax demand of 20.8 billion Indian rupees ($370 million), the phone company said, a setback for its efforts to resolve the dispute in a crucial market.

Nokia's (Helsinki, Finland) India unit was served in March with the tax demand for five years starting from 2006/07, in one of several tax disputes involving a foreign company in India.

The Finnish phone company said on Friday that it will examine all options, including taking the case back to the Delhi High Court. ($1 = 56.2450 Indian rupees)

Sprint, SoftBank reach deal with US over security concerns

Reuters

Sprint Nextel Corp and Japan's SoftBank Corp have reached an agreement with U.S. authorities on the national security aspects of the Japanese firm's pending $20.1 billion deal to win control of the U.S. wireless carrier, people familiar with the matter said.

As a part of that agreement, the U.S. government will have a veto over new equipment purchases by Sprint in certain circumstances if the two companies merge, one source said.

Etisalat gets shareholder support for Maroc Tel bid: sources

Reuters

Gulf telecom operator Etisalat has secured shareholder approval for the financing package to back its bid for Vivendi's 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Etisalat (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) is vying with its regional rival, Qatar-backed Ooredoo (Doha), for control of the biggest fixed and mobile operator in the kingdom of Morocco.

Media-and-telecom conglomerate Vivendi (Paris, France) is selling the unit as part of a portfolio revamp aimed at reducing telecom exposure to focus more on media.

Deutsche Telekom mulling Eastern European acquisitions

Deutsche Telekom is mulling two acquisitions in Eastern Europe as it looks to reinvigorate operations in a region beset by regulatory and economic challenges, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires.

Citing sources familiar with the matter, Dow Jones claims the German incumbent is pursuing a takeover of GTS Central Europe (Warsaw, Poland), a broadband optical and IP network provider.

Currently owned by a group of financial investors, Deutsche Telekom (Bonn, Germany) is said to be in discussions to pay around €600 million ($775.7 million) for the asset.

Crest urges changing Clearwire minority vote threshold

Reuters

Crest Financial, an investor in Clearwire Corp, said on Tuesday that the voting threshold for approval of Sprint Nextel Corp's purchase of Clearwire should exclude strategic investors such as Comcast Corp and Intel.

Sprint (Overland Park, KS, USA), Clearwire's majority owner, needs approval from more than 50 percent of Clearwire's minority shareholders in order to go ahead with its proposed $3.40-per-share purchase of the rest of Clearwire (Bellevue, WA, USA).

Cisco challenges Microsoft buy of Skype in EU court

Reuters

Cisco Systems Inc, the world's leading network equipment maker, will try to convince Europe's second highest court on Wednesday that it should overturn the EU's approval of Microsoft's purchase of Skype.

If Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) wins the challenge at the Luxembourg-based general court, the European Commission would have to annul its decision, which allowed Microsoft (Seattle, WA, USA) to buy the Internet video and voice company without having to make any concessions.

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