Euronews: BT Banks £159M From Stake Sale
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Euronews: BT Banks £159M From Stake Sale
BT has raised £158.6 million (US$251.2 million) from the sale of a 14.1 percent stake in Indian Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) specialist Tech Mahindra Ltd. and it may not be done yet. "Following this sale, BT has a 9.1 percent shareholding in Tech Mahindra, but further sales may be considered in the future," the operator stated in an announcement to the London Stock Exchange. It also added: "Tech Mahindra remains a key supplier to BT." (See Tech Mahindra Wins BT Deal.)Still with BT, the U.K. operator has struck an interconnect agreement with Russia's Rostelecom .Deutsche Telekom announced an exclusive partnership with Spotify during the IFA consumer electronics tradeshow in Berlin. In addition, and following the launch of Joyn services by Vodafone Germany earlier this week, DT confirmed that it plans to launch its Rich Communication Suite (RCS) services in December. The German giant also unveiled a revamp of its TelekomCloud service and Entertain to go, an extension of its IPTV service to mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops. (See Vodafone Joyns Fight Against OTT Threat .)Dutch optical and packet device vendor AimValley BV has teamed up with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) to publish an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) draft standard for Transparent SDH/Sonet over Packet (TSoP) circuit emulation capabilities. (See AimValley Proposes TSoP Standard.)ZTE will launch its first Intel-powered Android Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone, the Grand X IN, in Europe during September.No wonder its rivals have been feeling the heat. French competitive operator Iliad signed up 3.6 million mobile customers, more than 5 percent of the country's total wireless market, in less than six months. The operator, which trades under the brand Free, generated €320 million ($403 million) in revenues from its new mobile business during the first half of this year. Its group revenues reached €1.44 billion ($1.8 billion), up 39 percent year-on-year, while its net profit dropped 45 percent to €80 million ($100.7 million). See this press release for the full details. The operator, which has 5.15 million fixed broadband customers, recently agreed to a major loan from the European Investment bank to help fund its fiber-based broadband rollout. (See France's Free Banks on FTTH.)
OS Watch: Samsung Beats Nokia to Windows 8
The South Korean handset maker, fresh off its courtroom loss to Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), unveiled the Ativ (vita, which means life in Latin, backwards) at IFA in Berlin. The HSPA+ handset features a dual-core processor, 4.8-inch HD super-AMOLED display, support for Near-Field Communications (NFC) and, of course, is based on the latest version of Microsoft's operating system. Samsung hasn't revealed when the phone will launch, on what carriers or how much it will cost. (See Jury: Apple Guilty, But Samsung Much Guiltier.)Nokia is planning its big Windows 8 device unveiling at an event on Sept. 5. (See Euronews: Nokia Won't Waver on Windows.)In other mobile OS news:Huawei makes over Android: Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. has big plans for Android, including six new devices and a new user interface. The company talked up its Android transformation at IFA, noting that its Android skin, the Emotion UI, will be easier for consumers to use and features only one home page for icons. As for the six devices, Huawei plans to launch four smartphones and two tablets in October, all of which will feature Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich. (See Huawei, ZTE Look to Handsets for Growth.)Sony gets Android happy: Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) is getting in on the Android action too, announcing three new Ice Cream Sandwich-powered smartphones and one tablet in Berlin this week. Sony says Jelly Bean updates are to come for all four. Sony has struggled to keep up in the mobile device market and has promised deeper convergence of its hardware, content and network services businesses after its spinoff from Sony Ericsson. The company tells Reuters that it has not seen much impact from Android-related patent problems like Samsung has, so at least it has that going for it. (See Sony Mobile Lays Off 15 Percent of Workforce and Sony Builds Up Its 'Sonyness'.)Samsung threatens LTE retaliation: For most, however, the fallout from the Apple and Samsung trial is far from over. Samsung has fired the latest shot, promising The Korea Times that it would immediately sue if Apple releases any products using Long Term Evolution (LTE), which the next iPhone is largely expected to include. Samsung also said it plans to work more closely with the U.S. wireless operators to design devices that stay far away from the Apple look and feel. (See Will the iPhone 5 Be a North American Roamer?)No more Fire at Amazon: Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) says it's entirely sold out of its Kindle Fire tablets as the company is expected to launch the next generation of its Android tablet early next month. All of the top 10 best-selling items on its online storefront since the Kindle Fire launched last year are Kindle devices and content, the company said, adding that the Fire has captured 22 percent of tablet sales in the U.S. (See Rumor: Amazon Firing Up 7-Inch Tablet Market? )
HBO, Netflix Set for OTT Video Clash
HBO and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) will soon lock horns in the Nordic region as HBO takes the unprecedented step of offering a standalone, over-the-top subscription streaming service in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland in mid-October. HBO Nordic, a joint venture of HBO Inc. and Parsifal International, will also pitch HBO's traditional subscription service and TV Everywhere platform to the area's pay-TV operators, but expects its streaming-only service to sell for less than €10 (US$12.58) per month. The Nordic offering will provide access to new episodes from HBO originals, as well as all past seasons, and subtitle them in the local language. While HBO gets ready to test the waters on this distribution model as it enters a new market, the premium programmer has so far resisted the urge to offer a standalone, direct-to-consumer OTT service in the U.S., where it's still highly reliant on its MSO relationships.
Word of HBO's entry into those countries caused Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to take a jab via Facebook: "Excited to see HBO join us in offering standalone streaming service in Scandinavia. ... What about the USA? We thought the first match-up would be in Albania." Hastings is talking some trash because his company's preparing to launch its streaming service in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland before the end of 2012. (See Netflix Adds European Targets .)Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) will show off a Docsis 3.0 modem prototype at next week's IBC show in Amsterdam that can bond 24 downstream channels and leverage the full "media gateway" configuration of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s new Puma6 chipset, the company tells Light Reading Cable. Hitron Technologies Inc. is the only D3 modem vendor so far to introduce a device that uses the full capabilities of the Puma6, which puts cable within shouting distance of a (shared) 1Gbit/s downstream pipe. Arris won't say when it plans to release its first 24-channel modem, but the vendor has already unveiled a data/voice gateway, the TG1652, that uses a Puma 6 with a 16-channel downstream. (See Intel's New Docsis 3.0 Chip Guns for 1-Gig .)Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) will shut down its TV AdWords business in the "next few months," reasoning that video distribution is spreading to a wide range of devices. Google will instead amp up its efforts involving more Internet-centric clients, including Web publishers and corporate cousin YouTube Inc. . As for the boob tube itself, Google says it still sees some opportunities coming via way of its Google TV platform. Google TV Ads in AdWords launched in 2007, and did manage to sign on several partners, including Dish Network Corp. (Nasdaq: DISH), Cox Media, DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), Suddenlink Communications and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), among others.There were some scary moments Wednesday at Charter Communications Inc. 's St. Louis headquarters when the building was evacuated due to a bomb scare. The building was cleared out after someone wrote the word "bomb" on the door of a break room refrigerator, the St. Louis Business Journal reported, noting that no explosive devices have been found, but the investigation is still ongoing.The summer Olympics postmortem continued this week with Verizon noting that its 4.5 million FiOS TV subs launched the NBC-branded iTV app more than 3.5 million times during the games, and spent more than two minutes on average per session with the enhanced content. The vast majority used the iTV app, powered by Ensequence Inc. , to access news headlines surrounding the games, while just 10 percent used it to watch on-demand videos.
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