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Following on from February’s update (http://boards.fool.com/1106/mobile-operator-news-29830124.as...), with the usual rule of only posting non-Vodafone news already in the public domain, here are a few Euro telco headlines.

I’ve highlighted A few odds and ends that may be interesting from a wider-investment perspective ….


Pan-Market Operator News – General/Consumer

• The EU reached a preliminary deal on new roaming rules, which introduces “a long-term structural solution, with lower prices, more choice and a new smart approach for data and Internet browsing.” The new rules are expected to come into force on 1 July 2012.
• Orange’s CEO made ten commitments to support the EU’s “Digital Agenda for Europe” initiative, including:
? Roll out 4G/LTE networks in all Orange EU markets by 2015.
? Offer all companies in the EU high quality and secure access to services from green data centres located in Europe; and ensure customers retain full ownership of their data files.
? Provide 3m SIM-based NFC devices to EU Union customers in 2012, 10m in 2013.
? Launch RCS services in 5 European countries in 2013 and provide 20m RCS phones in 15 countries
? Provide digitised health services to one third of EU hospitals and 20% of citizens.
? Offer customers the right to master, monitor and manage the personal information that they provide; and equip them with a personal data “dashboard” by 2015.
• Orange launched the free “TweetVox” micro blogging app, which combines voice and location services, on Apple's App Store and Google Play.
• Orange announced Sony Mobile Communications as its global handset partner as part of its pan-European sponsorship of the UEFA Euro 2012 football championship.
? Telefonica announced “a strategic agreement with BOKU, the global leader in online mobile payments, to enhance its payments capabilities.” Telefonica joined other investors in raising additional funding of $35m for BOKU.
? FT and Publicis accelerated their plans for investing in digital companies by each buying 24.5% stakes in Iris Capital Management and creating a €300m “OP Ventures” fund. Israeli mobile advertising company MyThings subsequently received a $15m investment.

Pan-Market Operator News – Enterprise

? OBS launched two mobile terminal management solutions: Device Management Premium for large corporations and Device Management Express for smaller firms.
? Telefónica Digital and Intel completed the “first phase of a joint innovative research program to prove technologies that will allow… enterprises to seamlessly migrate computing workloads from their local data center to a third-party public cloud.”
? DT partnered with Deloitte, HYVE and RWTH Aachen University to launch Idea Bird - an open innovation platform, which aims to generate ideas and identify trends in M2M.
? DT promoted its M2M service portal and its “M2M Solution Factory” portal at CeBIT.
? DT, Alcatel-Lucent and Airbus tested “high-speed broadband for in-flight services to passengers using a direct-air-to-ground communication system based on LTE.”
? T-Systems won a €160m cloud deal with British American Tobacco. In related news, OBS signed a $100m outsourcing contract with Japan Tobacco International.


Pan-Market News – Adjacent Players

? Apple launched the “new iPad,” the third version of its tablet:
? Runs on iOS 5.1, uses an AX5 chip and features a “Retina” display and (optional) LTE connectivity.
? Launched on 16 March in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK - with wide operator support.
? Achieved a record-breaking first weekend of sales, reaching 3m shipments.
? Launched on 25 March in 25 additional markets, including Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania and Spain.
? Same price as iPad 2 (starting at $499 for basic 16 GB Wi-Fi version, with LTE costing $130 more). iPad 2 16 GB drops to $399 or $529 with 3G
? Apple will spend $45bn of its $100bn cash pile on shareholder dividends and a US$10bn share buyback programme over the next three years. CEO Tim Cook said the move would not affect Apple’s ability to innovate, invest or make acquisitions.
? Google launched Google Play – a cloud-based content storage service that encompasses Android Market, movies, the Google eBookstore and Google Music.
? Google acquired payments technology company TxVia to complement its payments capabilities and to "accelerate innovation towards our full Google Wallet vision.”
? Google is reportedly encouraging tablet vendors to produce dual OS tablets, which will allow customers to switch easily between Android 5.0 and Windows 8.
? Google is preparing to open an online store that will sell Google tablets as well as tablets made by Samsung and Asus directly to consumers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
? Sony will launch two Google TV set top boxes in Western Europe in September.
? Nokia will shut down its “Ovi Share” service (formerly known as Twango) on 31 May.
? Microsoft and Nokia plan to invest "up to" €18m in a newly-created mobile app development programme at Finland’s Aalto University over the next three years.
? Microsoft launched Windows Phone Marketplace in 13 more counties – including Romania and Turkey.
? Skype will launch a $12m marketing campaign in the US and UK, which introduces the line “It's time for Skype.” The campaign may be adapted for other markets.
? Skype plans to recruit 400 software engineers, product managers and designers in 5 cities, including London and Prague. By contrast, Yahoo! is cutting 2000 jobs.
? RIM’s CEO said: "We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment." RIM subsequently denied that it is withdrawing from the consumer market, stating that it will “go after targeted consumer segments “
? Samsung partnered with OpenX Technologies to launch the “Samsung AdHub Market”, which will offer advertisers inventory across smartphones and tablets from H2 11.

Germany

? E-Plus plans to launch a new discount mobile brand called “Yourfone” on 2 May. The new brand will be headed by former Klarmobil managing director Harmut Herrmann.
? Telefonica announced a new product for O2 Business customers called Dual Line in April. Customers will no longer need separate mobiles for private and work communications.
? Mobilcom-debitel started allowing customers in its shops to exchange their old handsets as part payment for a new device or as vouchers to pay for their monthly phone bills.
? Mobilcom-debitel launched a “digital lifestyle” product called SmartHome, allowing users to remotely control individual radiators and heaters in their homes on their smartphone.
• Telefonica and Masternaut launched the “O2 Fleet Store” M2M offering for vehicle fleet management.

Italy

? Ossama Bessada - VimpelCom's EVP of Europe and North America, and the CEO of Wind Italy - intends to leave the company at the end of June because of family reasons.

Spain

? Movistar is reportedly planning to let all of its customers use mobile VoIP, not just high-end customers, and to stop throttling customers’ data speed.
? Telefonica lost a court challenge relating to a €152m antitrust fine for abusing its dominant position in Spanish internet market.
? Telefonica and the Alcala local authorities agreed a deal to transform Alcala into a “smart city.” The contract covers the joint development of internet of things, open data, mobile payments, digital management and cloud-based services.

UK

? Everything Everywhere received regulatory approval to refarm some of its 1800Mhz spectrum for LTE services later this year.
? T-Mobile started informing customers of a 3.7% price rise, which it is blaming on the rising costs of its business and network investment.
? O2 has launched its new “Best Ever Pay Monthly tariffs” offering consumers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB. The “On & On” tariffs are available for £26 a month on a 12 month SIMO deal or from £36 a month for a new handset on a 24 month contract.
? O2 began encouraging existing PAYG customers to switch to pay monthly contracts by offering very competitive promotions on 12 month deals with selected smartphones.
? O2 launched a £12m “fresh thinking” advertising campaign, focusing on how technology is changing people's lives. O2 also launched a voice activated website, where users can talk to an O2 Guru who can show them O2’s services.
? O2 Health launched “Help at Hand” – a mobile telecare service aimed at elderly or other vulnerable people. The service is expected to roll out across Telefonica’s footprint.
? Google will detail its concerns about “Project Oscar” – the mobile payments and marketing JV between Vodafone, O2 and EE - to the European Commission.
? The Office of Fair Trading accepted Groupon’s undertakings to change its trading practices that breach consumer protection regulations.

France

? Bouygues and Orange confirmed they would launch LTE services by the year-end or early 2013. They will trial services in the 800MHz band respectively in Lyon and Marseille.
? Orange opened its HSPA+ service to consumers on 5 April, having previously offered the service to business customers.
? Orange's low-cost youth brand Sosh started selling reconditioned smartphones. In related news, Bouygues started selling second-hand phones to “B&You” subscribers.
? Bouygues halved its number of mid-tier “Eden” mobile subscriptions, and cut its unlimited plans with subsidised smartphones.
? Consumer group UFC Que Choisir threatened Free with legal action if Free keeps failing to inform customers about service faults.

Portugal

? All three operators launched LTE. TMN launched with 20% population coverage, which it aims to increase to 80% by 30 April, while Optimus expects to have 80% population coverage by the year-end.
? Portugal Telecom launched the “tmn wallet,” a mobile payments pilot for employees in its Lisbon offices.

Greece

? The regulator has not yet approved OTE’s retail LLU and VDSL pricing.
? Panos Germanos, the former owner of retail chain Germanos (acquired by Cosmote in 2006) and current owner of Multirama and Public retail chains, is discussing the acquisition of a 10% stake in WIND.
? Cosmote, Wind and Vodafone are participating in the Public Power Corporation tender for 60k wireless electricity meters.

Ireland

? Eircom was granted an interim examiner after the judge said he was satisfied the company was insolvent and has a reasonable prospect of survival.
? Three launched a new prepay proposition for €20 per month, which includes free any network texts, free on-net calls and free any network weekend calls.
? Three introduced a new business plan: Business Saver from €35 ex VAT for 10+ mobiles and from €40 ex VAT for 2-9 mobiles.

Netherlands

? Telfort introduced handset leasing. An iPhone 4S 16GB will cost €24/month over 2 years plus the costs of calling, texting and surfing.
? KPN started investigating why some customers couldn’t make emergency calls and installed a technical workaround.
? KPN began offering HD Voice as a regular service, following a trial in January. Users will automatically get high-quality voice calls when they use HD devices - at no extra cost.
? Ziggo will offer mobile services via Wi-Fi modems, using its cable network for backhaul, rather than become a traditional mobile operator.

Romania

? RCS&RDS plans to introduce subsidised smartphones, which customers will be able to acquire in monthly installments.
? RCS&RDS reached the milestone of 0.5m mobile broadband customers, making the company the MBB market leader by connections – but not by revenue.

Czech Republic

? T-Mobile opened a ”data showroom” at Roztyly. Visitors can get a hands-on experience of various data services, including satellite TV, ADSL, Premium Voice Line, bulk messaging apps, partnership solutions and smartphone apps.
? T-Mobile will become the first Czech operator to offer HSPA+ download speeds of up to 42 Mbps when it launches services in Zlin and Mlada Boleslav on 16 April.
? O2 launched a "Best Price Guarantee" on selected handsets.

Hungary

? Tesco Mobile launched with a “double top-up values” promotion. Clubcard points are also integrated into the tariffs.
? Maygar Telekom (DT) began selling electricity and gas services across the whole country, having attracted 50k customers in test areas.
? T-Mobile introduced the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE – Hungary’s first 4G tablet.
? The regulator approved the creation of MPVI Mobil Zrt - the state-owned mobile operator that secured the fourth licence in the recent spectrum auction.

Turkey

• Turkcell launched an M2M platform, uniting all of its M2M solutions under a single umbrella. Turkcell has 750k SIMs on the platform but thinks there are “potentially” 150m devices that could be connected.
• Turkcell and Istanbul University began testing a remote monitoring service links diabetes patients with their doctors.
• Turkcell started using HP’s CloudSystem Service Provider to provide its business customers with infrastructure-as-a-service and communications-as-a-service solutions.
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