Long-Term Evolution (LTE)

Telefonica in talks with PPF over sale of Czech subsidiary

Spanish telecoms incumbent Telefonica has acknowledged it is exploring “strategic alternatives” for its Czech subsidiary in a stock exchange filing.

The statement came in response to press speculation that Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) is planning to sell its 70% stake in Telefonica Czech Republic in a deal that could raise as much as $3.6 billion for the debt-burdened Spanish operator, based on the subsidiary’s current market value.

Vodafone claims 100,000 4G customers, extends LTE coverage

UK operator Vodafone says it will extend 4G services to Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester this month and claims to have signed up more than 100,000 customers since it began offering the service in late August.

The company plans to switch on its 4G network in Liverpool on October 17, activate services in Glasgow on October 24 and add Manchester to the list soon after that.

Last month, Vodafone (Newbury, UK) launched 4G services in the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, having made services available in London in late August.

Telstra boasts 3.2 million 4G subscribers just two years after launch

Australian telecoms incumbent Telstra says more than 3.2 million 4G devices are now operating on its network just two years after it first launched the high-speed technology.

Telstra’s (Melbourne, Australia) ability to convert customers to 4G looks impressive considering that UK operator EE (Hatfield) – which provides services in a much bigger market, in terms of population, but over a much smaller geographical area – took ten months to sign up one million 4G customers despite being a monopoly provider of the technology over that period.

Zain Bahrain strikes managed-services deal with Ericsson

Middle Eastern telecoms operator Zain Bahrain has signed a managed-services deal with Ericsson as it looks to free up resources for investment in higher-end services and offerings.

The four-year agreement will see the operator transfer responsibility to Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) for handling the day-to-day operations of its network.

Similar deals have been struck in other parts of the world as companies try to improve their operating efficiency and focus efforts on improving their service offerings.

Alcatel-Lucent cuts 10,000 jobs in 'last chance' for turnaround

Reuters

Telecom equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent said on Tuesday it would cut 10,000 jobs worldwide, calling it the last chance to turn the company around from heavy losses.

It was the latest step in a plan to focus on high-growth areas ranging from 4G mobile to high-speed broadband, and to lower fixed costs by more than 15 percent, saving a total of 1 billion euros ($1.36 billion).

The product of a 2006 Franco-U.S. merger aimed at creating a global giant, Alcatel-Lucent (Paris, France) told a European works council meeting it intends to axe nearly one in seven of its employees.

Telecom New Zealand takes 4G fight to Vodafone

Telecom New Zealand has announced plans to launch LTE services at no extra charge to customers, putting pressure on rival Vodafone in the country’s nascent 4G market.

The operator said its service will go live in the cities of Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington on November 12, allowing prepaid and contract customers to take advantage of the higher-speed network technology on existing tariffs.

Spanish telecom firms show peril of pinning hopes on 4G

Reuters

Spanish telecom firms are yielding to the reality of recession by selling new superfast mobile services at no extra charge, offering a cautionary tale for European peers which hope premium 4G prices will help them return to growth.

Many consumers in Spain, where unemployment stands at 26 percent, are unwilling or unable to spend up to 800 euros ($1,100) on a 4G-enabled smartphone and then sign up to a more expensive monthly plan - despite the promise of download speeds that are five times faster than existing 3G services.

Honduras awards America Movil, Millicom 4G licenses

Reuters

Honduras has awarded Mexican telecoms giant America Movil and emerging markets telecoms group Millicom licenses to offer 4G high-speed mobile services, telecoms commission Conatel said on Tuesday.

America Movil (Mexico City, Mexico) operates under the brand Claro in Honduras, while Millicom (Luxembourg) operates under the name Tigo. The licenses cost $12.05 million each.

The companies must start operating 4G networks within 18 months, Conatel said.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Czech 4G auction attracts two new entrants

Czech authorities say five companies have registered to participate in a forthcoming auction of 4G spectrum, including all three of the incumbents plus two new entrants.

Entities known as Revolution Mobile and Tasciane are to line up alongside Telefonica (Madrid, Spain), T-Mobile (Bonn, Germany) and Vodafone (Newbury, UK) in the auction of frequencies in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2.6GHz bands.

Sprint responds to rivals with launch of device-upgrade plan

US operator Sprint is copying rivals by extending its customers the option of upgrading their smartphones every 12 months.

The operator has unveiled a new offer called Sprint One Up that allows customers to change handsets midway through a contract.

The service will be available to customers signed up to two-year contracts on rates starting from $65 a month.

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