Euronews: TeliaSonera Denies Bribery
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Euronews: TeliaSonera Denies Bribery
TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN), Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) and VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) lead the charge in today's assault on the EMEA telecom headlines.Lars Nyberg, the CEO of Sweden's TeliaSonera, is steadfastly denying charges of bribery and involvement with money laundering following an investigation into the operator's purchase of a 3G license in Uzbekistan by a Swedish TV program, which broadcast its findings on Wednesday. According to Reuters, TeliaSonera has already faced flak for allowing authorities in Azerbaijan, Belarus and Uzbekistan to use its networks for monitoring dissident activities.The European Commission has decided it does not yet have enough evidence to pursue its planned anti-subsidy case against Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763), according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). The Commission had earlier expressed its belief that the two Chinese vendors had been receiving illegal state subsidies, allowing them to undercut European rivals. (See Euronews: China Warns EU Over Protectionism and Euronews: EC Sharpens Knives Over Huawei, ZTE.)Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) is looking to buy the 49.6 percent share of Belgian cable operator Telenet that it doesn't already own in a deal valued at €1.96 billion ($2.54 billion). The move, if successful, would add further to Liberty Global's European assets, which the company bolstered last year with the acquisition of Germany's Kabel BW. (See Liberty Global Bids for Telenet Total Ownership, Liberty Closes Kabel BW Buy and Liberty Global Scoops Up KBW for $4.5B.)The U.K. government has announced how it plans to share the ?114 million ($184 million) in funding pledged to 10 British cities to accelerate the rollout of high-speed broadband. The BBC reveals that London gets the most, with ?25 million ($40.5 million), while the others have to make do with between ?7 million ($11.3 million) and ?14 million ($22.6 million). (See UK Government Awards Urban Broadband Funds , Great Britain? I Don't Think So, ISPs Shamed by UK Broadband Speed Tests and Broadband Britain: The Wait Goes On.)
Two of Russia's leading mobile operators, MTS and VimpelCom, are considering setting up a joint venture to operate phone masts, reports Reuters. It is thought other partners could also be in on the project, but the two operators declined to name names. (See Euronews: Russians Turn On LTE TDD With NSN , Russian Into LTE TDD and Russian Into LTE.)Joaquin Almunia, vice president of the European Commission and the man in charge of competition matters there, has expressed doubts about whether Hutchison 3G Austria GmbH will be able to do enough to placate the regulators over its €1.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) bid for rival Orange Austria Telecommunication GmbH. , reports Reuters.Following Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE)'s decision to withdraw its Flash player plug-in for Android, the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) is to launch a new media player for those who want to stream its iPlayer catch-up service on Android devices, reports the BBC's own website.
Google Fiber Gets More Active With TV Apps
Google Fiber appears to be ratcheting up its TV Everywhere game as it seeks a software engineer to develop applications for iOS and Android devices.The position requires someone with "solid experience developing multimedia streaming applications" for both platforms who has also developed a commercially shipped app or game title for the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) App Store or Google Play.Google Fiber's filling the slot as it prepares to introduce broadband and subscription TV services next month in the Hanover Heights section of Kansas City, Kan. Last week, it announced a buildout plan for 180 "fiberhoods" (areas with 250 to 1,500 homes) in Kansas City, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo., that qualified for services during the first fiber "rally." The software job is to be based in Waterloo, Ontario, so whoever gets it will be executing things far from Google's fiber front. (See KC Gets Google Fiber for Real in October.)On the subscription video side, Google Fiber has been scurrying to sign carriage deals with major programmers such as Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) and Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and expanding its VoD vaults.Google Fiber was not immediately available for comment about its TV Everywhere plans, but it's expected that many of its new carriage deals include second-screen rights. Its VoD deal with Avail-TVN already includes those rights. (See Avail-TVN Preps Google Fiber for TV Everywhere.)But it's clear that second-screen apps and some form of advanced advertising will play significant roles in the Google Fiber TV service. Every customer that bundles the subscription video package with broadband is to receive a Nexus 7 tablet that will double as a fancy remote control and support live and on-demand video from Google Fiber's TV lineup. (See Google Fiber Bundles TV, Shuns Data Caps.)Update: Some brief additional details on the TV apps and TV Everywhere elements that Google Fiber will support during the early days of its subscription TV service: The app for the Nexus 7 will indeed stream a subset of Google TV's linear TV lineup, but access will be limited to within the reach of the customer's home's Wi-Fi network -- so that falls along the lines of what several other pay-TV operators are doing now. One interesting feature will let users "bump" what they're watching on the tablet to the TV and vice versa. There's not a lot of detail yet on how much programming Google Fiber TV will offer outside the home, but the early plans will include support for live TV apps from ESPN and some other cable channels from the Disney stable.
TW Cable Open to an Apple-Flavored Guide
Here's what's moving and shaking in broadband and cable this morning.Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) won't give up its direct relationships with subscribers, but it's open to the idea of giving up some control of the user interface to alternative platforms, including Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s, company President and CEO Rob Marcus said Wednesday at a Goldman Sachs & Co. investors conference. His comments come into play as rumors spread that Apple's been in discussions about forming relationships with cable operators, including TW Cable, so an Apple-made set-top could deliver subscription TV programming. Meanwhile, TW Cable has developed a cloud-based UI of its own. (See Would an Apple Set-Top Box Pay Off? and Apple's Pay-TV Path May Run Through Cable .)Not that the cable industry expects a favorable outcome as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mulls whether to lift a rule that bars operators from encrypting their basic TV tier or anything, but the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) has provided the Commission with a sample boilerplate letter/email that cable operators could use to communicate the change to customers. The FCC is expected to cast its vote on the matter within weeks. (See Cable Tries to Break Video Encryption Stalemate .)Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s selection of a new super-charged Wi-Fi voice/data gateway from Technicolor SA (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) could dent Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) earnings next year, Jefferies & Company Inc. analyst James Kisner surmised in a research note. He expects Arris to keep its majority share of Wi-Fi-capable voice modem shipments at Comcast and kept his buy rating on the stock, but he's now anticipating Arris to earn $1 per share on revenues of $1.38 billion in 2013, versus an earlier forecast of $1.10 per share and $1.49 billion. (See Comcast's Technicolor Dream Gateway.)Canadian operator Shaw Communications Inc. has launched a TV Everywhere service that initially works on iOS devices. The first phase of the service, called Shaw Go, offers access to HBO content and the MSO's subscription-based Movie Central service. Shaw says it will add live TV streaming, more VoD and a slate of family-focused programming "in the coming months."Roku Inc. said its new over-the-top video Streaming Stick will sell for $99.99 when it goes on sale in October. The device, which resembles a USB flash drive, will initially be compatible with several TV models from Apex Digital, Insignia (Best Buy's CE brand) and Hitachi America Ltd. Other named CE partners include Element Electronics, GlobalVue International, Haier, Mitsubishi Electric, Onkyo and Integra.Comcast has drafted retired Super Bowl-winning coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy as the national spokesman for the MSO's Internet Essentials program for students of low-income families. More than 100,000 qualified families signed up during the first year of the program, which offers broadband for $9.95 per month and a $149.99 voucher good toward the purchase of a PC. (See Comcast: 100K Families Take Internet Essentials Tier and Comcast Goes Big With 'Internet Essentials'.)
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