Irish telecoms merger meets opposition despite EU approval The Financial Times (May 29, 2014)
A closely scrutinised merger between two telecoms groups in Ireland has met with opposition from both the national regulator and rivals groups in spite of receiving the blessing of Europes antitrust watchdog.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa won approval by the European Unions competition authority for its 850m acquisition of Telefónicas Irish mobile business.
Member states look to dissect telecoms package EuropeanVoice (May 28, 2014)
Member states are likely to gut the European Commissions much-maligned proposal to galvanise Europes telecoms sector with an overhaul of European Union and national regulation. A report drawn up for telecoms ministers meeting on Thursday (5 June) says: 'There are many pending questions and concerns, essentially with regard to all provisions of the proposal analysed so far but, even more importantly, many member states do not see the need to cover a number of topics in the proposal at all'.
Google bows to EU privacy ruling The Financial Times (May 30, 2014)
A landmark 'right to be forgotten' ruling against Google in Europe risks damaging the next generation of internet start-ups and strengthening the hand of repressive governments looking to restrict online communications, Larry Page, the search companys chief executive officer, has warned.
The EU 2014 Digital Scoreboard: how did you fare? Europa.eu (May 28, 2014)
New data shows the Commission is on track to complete 95 of its 101 digital actions by 2015, which shows good progress. EU citizens and businesses are going online more, shopping more and they have greater confidence and skills in ICT. However, they often lack the high speed broadband especially in rural areas - to satisfy this digital appetite; and the looming digital skills gap is still a big problem.
EC plans 4th mobile operator in Germany Telecompaper (May 26, 2014)
The European Commission is planning to grant exceptional start-up aid for a fourth new telecommunications provder in Europe, according to German magazine WirtschaftsWoche's website, wiwo.de. Wiwo said this is one of the requirements that European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia wants to impose to approve the merger of O2 with E-Plus. Almunia fears that having three similar sized mobile operators, namely Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and now Telefonica/E-Plus, will curtail competition. The commission's proposals have been submitted to the German mobile operators for comments.
EU: Taxation of the Digital Economy Balkans news (May 29, 2014)
The European Commission has received the final report of the High-level Expert Group on Taxation of the Digital Economy. This independent group was asked to examine key issues related to taxing the digital economy in the EU, and to present their ideas on the best approach to various challenges and opportunities in this field. Former Portuguese Finance Minister Vítor Gaspar, who was nominated as Chair of the Group, presented the report to President Barroso and Commissioner emeta this afternoon.
Relevant markets: BERECs opinion due out on 6 June Europolitics (May 23, 2014)
Operators have not yet laid down their weapons as they head into the final leg of the journey towards the adoption of a recommendation on relevant markets. This recommendation will direct national telecoms regulators as to where they may intervene on the telecoms market in order to promote fair competition. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) is set to publish, on 6 June, during its plenary assembly in Dublin, its opinion on the draft
regulation published by the European Commission in March.
Cyber security: Member states object to constraints Europolitics (May 28, 2014)
The Greek Presidency will present a progress report on network and information security at the 6 June Telecoms Council. A coordinated response to cyber attacks is acceptable but not at the expense of
responsiveness. That is the gist of the position defended by member states in the negotiations under way in the Council on network and information security (NIS).
What does the new EU Parliament mean for tech? PCWorld (May 26, 2014)
As the tally for the European Parliament election draws to a close, dozens of candidates pledging to support data privacy and net neutrality initiatives appear to have been elected. Voting for representatives to the 766-member European Parliament took place from Thursday to Sunday, in conjunction with local and national elections across the 28-nation European Union. For the first time, digital issues were at the forefront of candidates election campaigns.
New EU parliament faces heavy agenda The Financial Times (May 25, 2014)
Awaiting the MEPs will be a long list of policy questions on which they must weigh in: how to spend a 1tn budget; what rules to impose on technology titans such as Google and Facebook; where to press the City of London; and if it arises whether to back a trade deal with the US.
Facebook request for EU WhatsApp antitrust review could streamline process Computerworld (May 28, 2014)
Facebook is reportedly requesting that the European Commission review its pending WhatsApp acquisition, in what is likely an effort to avoid multiple, parallel antitrust scrutiny in several countries. The European Commission and Facebook declined to comment on the request after the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times reported Wednesday that Facebook asked for an antitrust review of the deal. The reports were based on sources familiar with the matter.
EU drive to create its own Silicon Valley finds doubters Reuters (May 27, 2014)
Europe needs to sort out its fragmented telecoms market and regulatory imbalances if it is to spur a new generation of technology start-ups and create its own version of America's Silicon Valley. The European Union has set aside 80 billion euros ($109 billion) to fund cutting edge research and innovation over the next six years, underscoring its ambition in these fields.
Kroes determined to issue big data document The Paypers (May 27, 2014)
Neelie Kroes, Commissioner for the Digital agenda and Vice-President of the European Commission, wants to publish a communication on the data value chain in June 2014. The document would contain a proposal for setting up a framework of rules on the big data market, which is rapidly developing. Big data are large sets of data stored on servers and have increased value as digitalization is gaining ground in all aspects of life, such as healthcare, but also ecommerce.
Germany drops NSA prosecution due to lack of evidence PCWorld (May 28, 2014)
Data protection officials are bewildered by the German federal prosecutors decision not to start a criminal investigation into the alleged mass surveillance of German citizens by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The German federal prosecutor did not find enough evidence to warrant a criminal investigation, German media reported Wednesday, citing sources within the federal prosecutors office.
How data protection has emerged from shadows The Telegraph (May 30, 2014)
Edward Snowdens revelations that the US government had been secretly conducting phone and internet surveillance on millions of American citizens rocked the world. The issue of data privacy was thrown into sharp relief as consumers and policymakers alike tried to work out the implications of a society where personal data was no longer safe from prying eyes.
Google is not doing enough to curb online piracy, says Cameron's adviser The Guardian (May 29, 2014)
Google is not doing enough to curb online piracy and must take a leading role in a battle which is costing the UK music and film industry over £400m annually, according to a report published by David Cameron's intellectual property adviser. MP Mike Weatherley has published a report calling on search engines, and market leader Google in particular, to do more to tackle piracy in the UK.
Nobody Is Neutral When It Comes to Net Neutrality Scientific American (May 27, 2014)
Two weeks ago the Federal Communications Commission proposed new regulations that, if passed, would dramatically alter the Internet as we know it. The proposal, which would permit Internet service providers (ISPs) to set up 'fast lanes' that Web sites could pay to access for speedier content delivery, has attracted widespread, vocal opposition from advocates who say that it will strangle the free flow of information
French telecoms regulator opens inquiry on Iliad mobile rollout Reuters (May 27, 2014)
France's telecom regulator said it would open an inquiry into whether low-cost operator Iliad was building out its mobile network fast enough to conform to the coverage obligations required by its licence. Iliad, which markets its mobile and broadband services under the name Free, must cover 75 percent of the French population with its mobile network by January 12, 2015.
Vodafone lobbies for regulated fibre access Total Telecom (May 23, 2014)
Vodafone on Friday warned the European Commission that competition in the mobile market is at risk unless operators can get access to fibre for their backhaul networks at reasonable rates. According to research commissioned by Vodafone and carried out by Analysys Mason, wholesale access to fibre is not always made available in some cases, or is extremely expensive in others.
Austrian watchdogs eye Slim pact for Telekom Austria Reuters (May 27, 2014)
Austria's Federal Competition Agency (BWB) has given itself two weeks more to review a shareholder syndicate struck by Carlos Slim's America Movil and state holding company OIAG to pool their holdings in Telekom Austria. The agency now has until June 10 to review the deal, a BWB spokesman said on Tuesday.
Anacom starts consultation on mobile spectrum market Telecompaper (May 22, 2014)
Portugal's National Communications Authority (Anacom) has approved a draft decision on the review of the mobile market following the last multiband auction in 2011. The draft decision is open to public consultation until 18 June 2014. The European Commission requested the regulator conduct a review of spectrum holdings, particularly in the GSM bands, to see if the auction had any impact on the competitive situation.
Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin: I Wish I Could Forget The 'Right To Be Forgotten' Search Engine Land (May 28, 2014)
If Google declines the request the complainant will have recourse to this suggested arbitration process. Its not clear how much that would cost or whether lawyers would be involved (creating a potentially very real imbalance between rich and poor). If the complainant were again denied there would probably be some further appeals process, though thats not at all clear at this point either.
Spanish regulator reduces wholesale fixed line rental rates Telecompaper (May 23, 2014)
Spain's telecoms regulator CNMC has announced significant reductions to the price of wholesale access to the fixed telephone network (AMLT). The reduction represents the first change to the AMLT rate in the past 3 years and means that the cost of indirect access will be lower. Basic monthly rates have been reduced by up to 20 percent and those of new subscriptions by up to 42 percent.
PTS consults with EC over MTR Telecompaper (May 26, 2014)
Swedish postal and telecoms regulator PTS said it started a consultation on 23 May with the European Commission on a new price for voice calls terminating on mobile networks. PTS has updated its model for calculating prices, resulting in a price proposal of SEK 0.0815 per minute, down from SEK 0.0900 per minute.
China demands halt to 'unscrupulous' US cyber-spying The Guardian (May 27, 2014)
China has called for a halt to what it describes as unscrupulous US cyber-spying, saying that an investigation has concluded that China is a major target. The complaint, in the form of a government agency report, comes a week after US prosecutors charged five Chinese military officers with hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.
Softbank said to have agreed T-Mobile deal Total Telecom (May 29, 2014)
Softbank has agreed to acquire T-Mobile US from parent company Deutsche Telekom, according to Japanese press reports. A buyout proposal was made by Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son in a meeting with Deutsche Telekom a couple of weeks ago, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing Japan's Kyodo. The news agency, which did not name its sources, said Softbank received a positive response from the German incumbent.
Why Germany Dominates the U.S. in Innovation Harvard Business Review (May 27, 2014)
Reading the headlines, you might think that the most urgent question about national success in innovation and growth is whether the U.S. or China should get the gold medal. The truth is: Germany wins hands down.
The Tangled Geography of Europes Telecoms Consolidation The Wall Street Journal (May 29, 2014)
The U.Ks Vodafone Thursday criticized the Brussels-based European Commission for its conditional approval of an Asian conglomerates purchase of a Spanish-owned mobile operator in Ireland. Got all that? When it comes to telecom consolidation in Europe, the geography gets complicated.
RPT-Fitch: Telcos Showing Appetite to Combine Content, Distribution Reuters (May 22, 2014)
AT&T's agreement to buy DirecTV is the latest in a wave of deals that highlight the growing appetite for content and pay-TV acquisitions among telecom operators, Fitch Ratings says. AT&Ts deal gives it the opportunity to capitalise on growth in mobile video and diversify its revenue stream, but deals in the more competitive European market are largely defensive to stabilise fixed and mobile market shares, rather than generating profits from TV services.
Las telecos de la UE aceleran en el 4G pese a la caída de ingresos Cinco Dias (May 27, 2014)
Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom ... major European operators have continued to promote the deployment of mobile 4G during the first quarter. Thus, the Old Continent starts gaining ground against the U.S. and several Asian markets such as South Korea, where the introduction of LTE is way ahead.
Bundles and bulk - AT&T buys DirecTV The Economist (May 24, 2014)
THE merger wave in the telecoms and television industries rolls on. On May 20th AT&T, Americas second-biggest supplier of both mobile-phone and fixed-line-broadband services, agreed to buy DirecTV, the countrys leading satellite-TV distributor, for $48.5 billion in cash and shares. Two words can sum up why AT&T was so keen to buy DirecTV and why its owners were happy to sell: bundles and bulk. They also help to explain why, after years of talk that telecoms and television would eventually melt into one industry, reality is catching up with conjecture.
TIM accelerates 4G coverage, reaches 52% of Italians Telecompaper (May 22, 2014)
TIM has announced that its 4G service now covers 713 Italian localities, equivalent to over 52 percent of the population nationwide, a figure Telecom Italia's mobile unit plans to increase to 80 percent by the end of 2016. The operator said it will be accelerating 4G deployment in the second half of the year to ensure that all towns with over 35,000 inhabitants are covered by the end of 2014.
Ericsson warns over lack of next-generation network investment The Financial Times (May 26, 2014)
Ericsson will provide greater disclosure about the diminishing returns on the high level of research and development it made in Europe, to highlight how a lack of government investment in next generation networks is hampering the industry on the continent.
The Swedish telecoms equipment maker is warning that Europe is at risk of falling behind other regions in the development of next generation telecoms technology, including the standards around so-called 5G that will offer ubiquitous mobile broadband services.
Brazilian IT market expands 15.4% in 2013 Telecompaper (May 26, 2014)
The Brazilian IT market (which includes software, services and hardware) was worth USD 61.6 billion last year. This represents an increase of 15.4 percent compared to 2012, more than three times the global average. The data are part of a IDC study, commissioned by the Brazilian Association of Software Companies (ABES). With this result, Brazil has reached 3 percent of the global market (USD 2.05 trillion) and came in 7th place among countries that spend the most on technology.
Telekom Austria free float target is 24 pct Reuters (May 28, 2014)
America Movil aims to keep 24 percent of Telekom Austria listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange within two years of completing its takeover offer, the Mexican group's finance chief said. 'We will buy every share that is tendered', Carlos Garcia Moreno told Austria's News magazine.
Portugal Telecom adopts CardMobili loyalty service Finextra (May 27, 2014)
CardMobili, a leading provider of digital wallet solutions, reports that it has reached an agreement with Portugal Telecom (PT) for the network operator to take over the award-winning CardMobili mobile consumer loyalty service under the branding 'MEO CardMobili'.
Tech & Services
Apple Will Buy Beats for $3 Billion Re/code (May 28, 2014)
The Apple/Beats Electronics deal is now official, and Apple says it will spend up to $3 billion to buy the headphone maker and streaming music company. Why? Because Apple likes the businesses Beats has already built, and wants to make new stuff with the help of its employees, says CEO Tim Cook.
Google to start building 'friendly' driverless car The Telegraph (May 28, 2014)
Google is to start building its own driverless car that will have a stop-go button but no controls, steering wheel or pedals.
The vehicle is designed to look like a small city car with a 'friendly face' and uses a soft foam-like material where a traditional bumper would be to make it seem less threatening.
Cheaper smartphone brands take on Apple and Samsung in Europe The Financial Times (May 26, 2014)
The popularity of lesser-known but cheaper technology brands is causing the smartphone market to fragment in Europes developed markets.
Wiko, a relatively unknown French smartphone maker, has joined a more familiar list of cheaper Chinese rivals seizing sales in the lucrative market.
T-Mobile rolls out voice over LTE, HD voice in Seattle PC World (May 22, 2014)
T-Mobile USA has rolled out voice over LTE in its home base of Seattle, offering high-definition voice and promising benefits to subscribers from a technology that in time could save carriers a lot of money. VoLTE carries voice calls over a phones LTE data connection instead of a 3G circuit-switched network.
Apple Planning 'Smart Home' System Debut at WWDC Mashable (May 26, 2014)
Apple is planning to introduce a smart home concept at its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, according to a report. The Financial Times says the company is planning to showcase a system that lets users control their lights, appliances and security systems with their iPhones when the conference kicks off June 2.
Why Uber, Not HP, Is The Future Of Technology readwrite (May 27, 2014)
It hasn't been a good week for HP. On the back of lower-than-expected earnings, the tech titan also announced it would cut between 11,000 and 16,000 employees. Sadly, HP is in good (or bad, if you wish) company. Oracle has missed estimates more often than it has hit them the past few years, most recently missing third-quarter earnings. IBM, for its part, hit earnings but missed its revenue targets. Again.
Why Facebook is Becoming Like Google+ Technology Review (May 27, 2014)
Ever since Google launched its social networking service Google+ it has been compared to Facebook. The story goes that Google got scared by the upstarts success and tried and is failing - to create a similar social network of its own. But 3 years into that effort it now looks more like Facebook is following Google+ than the other way round.
Dont Give Up On Tablet Innovation Time (May 27, 2014)
People are just starting to get their heads around what a piece of glass thats bigger than their phone yet smaller and more portable than their PC means to them.
Politics or technology which will save the world? The Guardian (May 23, 2014)
The internet, the mobile phone and now the self-driving car technology is revolutionising people's lives in ways that make politics seem obsolete. But with the narrowing of the political class, don't we need more politics rather than less?
Twitter eyes rapid Asia growth despite China ban The Financial Times (May 27, 2014)
Almost a third of all Twitter users across the world are expected to be in Asia at the end of this year, as the messaging platform expands rapidly in the region. This is in spite of fierce competition from Asian chat apps and a ban on operating in China.
ETNO Regulatory Summit Telecoms regulation, competition policies and net neutrality: an industry at crossroads Brussels (June 25, 2014)
The 2014 ETNO Regulatory Summit will take place in Brussels on Wednesday 25 June 2014 (9h00-15h30). This year, we are partnering with MLex, the leading provider of insight, analysis and commentary to regulation and competition specialists in Europe, the US, Brazil and China.
The Summit will bring together high level delegates from telecom operators and the EU Institutions as well as regulators, academics, investors and other industry stakeholders. Two panel discussions will cover 'Net Neutrality and enabling innovation in the Internet value chain' and 'the future of telecoms regulation and competition policies in Europe'.
Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2014
Did you know that EU citizens and businesses are going online more and more? They are also shopping online more and have greater confidence and skills in ICT. This is part of the new data of the Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2014
(May 28, 2014)
ETNO Press Note on the Digital Agenda Scoreboard(May 28, 2014)
The European Commission has presented the Digital Agenda Scoreboard 2014, highlighting results and open challenges of the Digital Agenda for Europe. This years scoreboard comes at a time in which European Institutions are renovating their leadership.