The French government will act to ensure telecom operators provide decent service as they roll out cut-rate plans for new high-speed 4G broadband service, a minister for digital issues said on Sunday.
Low-cost operator Iliad (Paris, France) this month added 4G service to its Free Mobile offers without raising the price, putting pressure on leading telecoms companies Orange (Paris, France), Vivendi's SFR (Paris, France) and Bouygues Telecom (Paris, France) to follow suit with competitive offers.
Orange is reported to have joined a price war in France’s nascent 4G market, offering the high-speed service to customers on its low-cost Sosh tariffs for no additional charge.
The move follows similar announcements by Iliad (Paris, France) and Bouygues (Paris, France), meaning Vivendi-owned SFR (Paris, France) is the only mobile network operator yet to slash fees for access to its 4G network.
But according to Dow Jones, which reported on the latest development, analysts expect SFR to follow suit in the near future.
UK operator EE has signed a roaming deal with AT&T allowing customers of the US telecoms giant to use 4G services when travelling to the UK.
The operator also promised that further roaming deals would be announced early next year.
Customers with existing M2M applications will start to consume more data just as high-speed devices are adopted for particular M2M services for the first time.
Those are among AT&T’s (Dallas, TX, USA) headline predictions of the way the M2M market will develop in 2014.
According to Mobeen Khan, the executive director of mobility marketing for AT&T Business, companies that have already adopted M2M services will be keen to extract more from them in future.
Indian operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio Infocomm have announced a network-sharing plan aimed at avoiding “duplication of infrastructure” and lowering costs.
The companies said they would share inter- and intra-city fiber-optic networks, submarine cable networks, towers, internet broadband services and other technologies that might emerge in future.
Besides avoiding duplication and freeing up capital for other projects, the operators said that comprehensive network sharing would help to “preserve the environment”.
Set to launch a ‘gigabit’ fiber-based service in Austin, Texas this week, US telecoms giant AT&T is reportedly considering plans to extend the deployment of super-fast broadband services to other cities in the country.
According to a report from the UK’s Financial Times newspaper, Randall Stephenson, the operator’s chief executive, told attendees at an investor conference in New York that he saw “lots of other opportunities around the country … for Austin-type projects”.
French telecoms incumbent Orange has announced it is working with carmaker Renault on a research project investigating the automotive uses of 4G connectivity.
The partnership has already seen Orange (Paris, France) deploy 4G services at Renault’s (Boulogne-Billancourt, France) research and testing facilities, with both companies aiming to test new applications supported by the high-speed technology, ranging from virtual office and cloud gaming to video conferencing.
France’s Bouygues Telecom has responded to pricing pressure from rival Iliad by saying that its 4G services will be available to existing customers at no extra cost.
The announcement comes just days after Iliad (Paris, France) upped the competitive stakes by publishing details of new low-cost 4G services, revealing that customers would be able to make use of the super-fast technology for as little €19.99 ($27.15) a month.
Existing Bouygues (Paris, France) subscribers will be able to use 4G services without signing up to a new minimum term contract, says the operator.
Some 244 operators in 92 countries have now launched commercial 4G services based on the LTE standard, according to the latest research update from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).
The technology appears to have gathered real momentum this year, which has seen a total of 93 networks launched commercially, according to the GSA.
The organization, which represents the interests of mobile suppliers globally, expects another 16 networks to be commercially deployed by the end of the year.
Huawei held on to its number-one spot in the global market for radio access networks in the third quarter of 2013, with Alcatel-Lucent overtaking Nokia Siemens Networks to claim third place in the rankings, according to ABI Research.
Huawei (Shenzhen, China) now controls about 28.1% of the market, up by 3.8 percentage points since the third quarter of 2012, with second-place Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) boasting a 21.8% share.
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