Europe

Google Ventures to invest $100m in European startups

Google has announced that it has set up an arm of Google Ventures in Europe and allocated an initial fund of $100m for local startups. The announcement will presumably be welcomed by startups in the UK, where we’re so keen to emulate Silicon Valley that we insert “Silicon” into the name of anywhere a tech startup spends more than a couple of hours.

Telekom Austria CEO foresees increased foreign investment in Europe

The CEO of Telekom Austria, Hannes Ametsreiter, has told Telecoms.com that he expects to see increased investment in the European telecom sector and that some European telcos might see their headquarters shift outside of the region as a result. Telekom Austria is itself part owned by Mexican billionaire and America Movil CEO Carlos Slim, who is reportedly keen to take full ownership of the Austrian incumbent.

Telefónica taps Comarch for OSS project, opens Singapore office

Spanish operator Telefónica has awarded Polish B/OSS vendor Comarch a contract to supply network planning and optimisation products and services to across the operator’s European footprint. It is the vendor’s first multinational deal with Telefónica and builds on a previous implementation with Telefónica Deutschland, Comarch said.

Kroes outlines controversial “open data” plan for Europe

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has outlined a five-point plan to support the evolution of Europe’s telecoms sector. Part of her plan called for the industry to share experiences, data and infrastructure, claiming that this is the way business must evolve to benefit the industry. She also called on Europe’s telecoms industry to focus now on developing 5G networks, a point that the GSMA’s director general appeared to take exception to.

GSMA report makes policy recommendations for Europe

The GSMA has issued a fresh call for policy overhaul in the European mobile sector in a bid to bring the region up to speed with the world’s leading markets. Spectrum harmonisation, the removal of barriers to consolidation and freedom from close regulator control on pricing are essential to the sector’s improvement, the group said.

EC and GSMA at odds over single market reform

The European Commission is once again pushing its agenda to transform the EU’s 28 telecoms markets into one single market. Research undertaken by the EC found that mobile users across the EU face huge price differences for the same services.

Vodafone restructures European operations

Vodafone has announced a restructuring of its international portfolio, with the creation of a single European region, which the operator said will “ensure a more efficient and effective delivery” of its Vodafone 2015 priorities.

EC asks German regulator to lower mobile termination rates

The European Commission has asked Germany’s telecoms regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), to amend or withdraw its plans to make mobile termination rates (MTR) for operators in the country more than 80 per cent higher than most other EU member states.

Rural communities key to Europe’s superfast broadband target

Despite all households in the European Union now having access to basic internet connectivity, significant challenges remain before the same can be said of high-speed services, not least of which is the high cost of wiring up rural areas, according to UK research firm Point Topic.

Consolidation, convergence and competition

Calls for consolidation in the European mobile market grow louder by the week and four-operator markets look increasingly challenged. Now, those mobile operators that have already built scale seem to be suggesting that there is no option but to expand yet further through diversification.

Kroes vows to “burn red tape” blocking broadband rollout

European Commission vice president Neelie Kroes has outlined proposals to cut the costs and bureaucracy involved in broadband deployment, suggesting that the sector could make savings of up to €60bn. Kroes said that she wants to “burn the red tape” that is blocking access for all EU citizens to cast broadband.

SMEs remain an untapped market in Europe

More than 99 per cent of European businesses are SMEs, yet the vast majority plan to change telecoms service provider at the end of their contract period, according to research published recently. The message is that the SME sector represents an enormous opportunity for CSPs to grow their revenues – but it is an opportunity they are not taking.

EC clears 2GHz spectrum for LTE refarming

The European Commission (EC) has called on all EU member states to make spectrum around the 2GHz frequency band available for LTE services. The paired terrestrial 2 GHz band (1920-1980 MHz paired with 2110-2170 MHz) has been traditionally used for UMTS 3G networks, but the EC wants it to be liberalised for 4G services across the region.

EU Parliament approves lower roaming rates

Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the Council and the European Commission have voted in favour of new rules that will lower roaming rates in the EU and see the creation of an EU-wide roaming market.

Orange pledges LTE across Europe by 2015

International carrier Orange/France Telecom has committed itself to rolling out LTE networks across ten European countries by 2015. France Telecom’s CEO Stéphane Richard made the announcement at a meeting with the European Commission in Brussels this week.

Telefonica launches talent incubator

Spain-based carrier Telefonica on Wednesday launched a European talent incubator, in a move clearly designed to make the brand seem hip and in touch with young people and the start-up community.

European Commission plans ambitious €100bn fibre project

The European Parliament and the EU’s Council of Ministers is considering a proposal from the European Commission for an ambitious project, worth up to €100bn ($140bn), to fund the rollout of fibre broadband and associated services across the EU.

Telecom bosses call for less regulation to boost broadband

The heads of major European telcos and vendors have said that they need greater leeway from regulators to make the roll-out of high speed broadband networks economically viable. Ben Verwaayen, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent, Deutsche Telekom boss Rene Obermann and head of Vivendi Jean-Bernard Levy, told the European Commission that regulators should reduce rules that block industry mergers and network sharing initiatives that would help the operators build scale and lower costs.

Europeans dissatisfied with broadband speeds

Many Europeans are unhappy with the speed of their broadband connection, a Eurobarometer study has found. The research, commissioned by the European Union, revealed that a third of all subscribers have suffered from loss of service at some point, while a quarter of them feel that the speeds they receive do not match their expectations based on the deal they signed up for.

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