RIM would have used BIS servers for basic data
RIM's former co-CEO Jim Balsillie had proposed using BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) servers to provide data for non-BlackBerry hardware shortly before he resigned his position, new leaks uncovered on Friday. The method outlined to Reuters would have let carriers offer Android and iPhone devices with cheaper data plans that limited Internet access to chat (possibly BlackBerry Messenger) and social networks, much like entry BlackBerry plans do today. RIM would presumably have made money from leasing access to carriers eager to get more smartphone customers and offload some of their bandwidth needs.
EU worried top carriers keeping prices high
Possible slips may have revealed the first stages of a possible European Commission investigation into the continent's top five carriers. The FT heard from sources that Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), France Telecom (Orange), Telecom Italia, Telefonica (O2), and Vodafone were under scrutiny for a series of "E5" meetings on the state of the industry. Concerns existed that they had used the discussion to possibly collude on prices and policies, hurting competition.
Free claims competitors hitting below the belt
ARCEP, the French telecom regulator, has said it is going to inspect low-cost wireless provider Iliad's backbone network to make sure it is compliant with its bandwidth licensing requirements. The action takes place after Iliad's competitors raised complaints about Iliad's network performance and customer service. Iliad, which operates its wireless service under the Free name brand, denied the claims, discounting them as false rumors.
Service predated public Internet
France Télécom is closing its longstanding Minitel networking service. The carrier began offering this service in 1982, at a time when the Internet was still basically available only to researchers and defense organizations. Minitel will stop operating next June.
ATT also working on Apple mini SIMs
AT&T's wireless head Ralph de la Vega in an interview late this week said his company was also joining in Apple's plan to develop an even smaller SIM card. He hesitated to directly make the link with Apple, like France Telecom's CEO did, but confirmed AT&T was "working with the industry" to shrink beyond existing sizes. It would "probably" happen, he explained to AllThingsD, and was something that was a logical conclusion.
Carrier reacts to surge in web traffic
France Telecom appears to be attempting to team with Google to find new ways to increase profits amid a surge in wireless data traffic. The cellular carrier's chief executive, Stephane Richard, has hinted that the talks are focusing on segmented access to the networks, in what is viewed as a possible reference to tiered pricing structures.
Orange CEO gives clue on smaller 2011 iPhone, SIMs
The head of Orange's parent company France Telecom, Stéphane Richard, gave clues in an interview Monday as to the design of the next iPhone. He confirmed once more that Orange was working with Apple on smaller SIM cards and asserted to AllThingsD that it was for the "next iPhone," hinting that the results could show up later this year. The smaller card would help Apple get its design down in thickness and overall size.
Sale will open up 3rd largest European market
The French government is finalizing the terms for its upcoming auction of 4G bandwidth, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro. France represents the third-largest telecom market in Europe after Germany and the UK. It will be auctioning off four lots of the premium 800MHz range and an unspecified number of lots for the 2.6GHz band. France hopes to generate at least $3.5 billion from the auction.
EU to introduce bill to cap phone roaming dates
The European Commission will, yet again, propose legislation over the next few weeks that would reduce roaming charges across European Union member countries, Reuters was told on Thursday. The cuts would be closer to national rates and while they would cut profits for carriers such as Vodafone, Telefonica (O2), Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile, and France Telecom (Orange), subscribers would get closer to regular rates for roaming. The draft is expected to be approved by June and would lower the price maximums carriers can charge for voice calls and text messages while their subscribers are traveling throughout Europe.
Orange and T-Mobile parents back joint venture
Orange's parent company France Telecom and T-Mobile's equivalent Deutsche Telekom on Monday confirmed their rumored joint venture. The deal will see the two combine their activities for buying phones, network hardware, and other parts core to their cellphone businesses. The two hoped both to get economies of scale and expected to save the equivalent of $1.86 billion over the course of the first three years.
Orange, T-Mobile to save nearly $1b in Euro deal
Two major European telecommunications providers, T-Mobile's owner Deutsche Telekom and Orange's parent France Telecom, will share network gear in order to save on operating costs, sources told Reuters. The savings is expected to add up to 650 million euros (about $939 million) by 2015 with the shared hardware located in Poland, Austria, and Romania. While neither of the two providers have officially commented on this agreement, they are expected to do so at a joint press conference in London on Monday.
Voice Mail app brings personalized greetings
France Telecom mobile division Orange is set to bring a new app to the iPhone that enhances its built-in voicemail functionality. The new ON VoiceFeed app gives users the option to create personalized messages for individual callers or even groups of callers. In practice, the app can be used to set up a universal greeting for unknown callers, and then tailored messages for loved-ones, friends or work groups for example.
Proposal charges varying rates for sites on phones
A joint proposal from contractors Allot Communications and Openet could lead to charging by the online service and a potentially severe violation of net neutrality principles on cellphones and tablets. The newly developed system would let carriers charge different rates depending on the nature of traffic while exempting their own services. Carriers could also throttle or fence off services such as Facebook or YouTube to discourage using them too often.
Euro providers want Apple, more to pay for traffic
European cellular carriers have reiterated calls for content providers like Facebook and device makers like Apple to shoulder the costs of traffic on their networks. The CEO of Orange's parent company France Telecom, Stephane Richard, recapped his view at the LeWeb conference today that it was unfair carriers had to pay for investments to handle the load for the iPhone or a website but wasn't collecting any extra revenue from the traffic. Heavy data use was "good news" but has prompted questions about business models, including the decision to cap bandwidth, Richard said with Bloomberg in attendance.
EU to revise own net neutrality laws
The European commissioner in charge of telecommunications, Neelie Kroes, on Thursday said the continent will take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to introducing new net neutrality rules. Europe has enough legal safeguards to prevent telephone operators from managing consumer access to the web, the commissioner told the New York Times. As such, the bloc will not be involved in the numerous network neutrality debates ongoing in North America and Europe.
Carrier claims tablet slip "out of context"
Orange has quickly tried to backtrack from its deputy chief Stéphane Richard's apparent acknowledgment of an Apple tablet earlier today. An official statement asserts that the statement was taken out of context and that Richard's apparent support "in no way reflect[s]" a confirmation of the hardware. The French carrier insists its executive was simply confirming awareness of the rumors and expressing a desire for it should it become real.
Country a healthy iPhone market
Orange France sold "a little over" 200,000 iPhones during the month of December, according to Stephane Richard, the deputy CEO of the carrier's parent company, France Telecom. Price cuts were used to boost sales, but only late into the month, suggesting that the iPhone was already a popular product. Orange is also just one of several carriers selling the product in France, competing with the likes of SFR and Bouygues Telecom.
Unofficial end occurred months earlier
America's Apple and Orange, a division of France Telecom, have formally dropped an arrangement for exclusive French iPhone sales, says Dow Jones. France was in 2007 one of the first markets to receive the iPhone, and as in other countries at the time, negotiations left only one carrier in control of sales; unlocked phones were still available only through Orange, and at a high premium. Orange rivals SFR and Bouygues Telecom eventually complained to the country's competition regulator, which issued first preliminary then final rulings against exclusivity.
Asia cut off due to break
Broken underwater cables sever global communications
International Internet and phone communications have been severely affected between Europe, the Middle East and Asia due to a break in three underwater optical fibre cables, according to a Friday BBC News report. The three cables normally carry 90 percent of phone and Internet traffic to the Middle East and 65 percent of traffic to India, with services to Singapore, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Taiwan and Pakistan also taking a big hit. Experts warn the disruption will have serious consequences on regional economies.
F Telecom Backs Off Telia
TeliaSonera today confirmed late-breaking rumors on Monday with the announcement that France Telecom has withdrawn its takeover bid for the company, putting an end to the potentially significant merger of the two companies. Sweden-based TeliaSonera maintains that France Telecom has not "significantly" improved its bid that was hinted at on Sunday and insists that the French firm would have undervalued TeliaSonera, which claims that it's strong enough without other companies' help.
F Telecom Closer to Telia
France Telecom has increased the value of a takeover bid for TeliaSonera to where the two are now in serious talks, according to word from alleged sources of the Wall Street Journal. The French company, which runs the Orange brand worldwide, is said to have increased its offer per share to a level that Sweden-based TeliaSonera is no longer dismissing a takeover offer out of hand, as it did earlier this month. The talks are reported as fragile and could break off at any moment, with France Telecom having set a Monday deadline for itself if no deal is struck by that point.
Telenor Mulls TeliaSonera
Norway's Telenor has expressed interest in buying its Scandinavian competitor TeliaSonera in light of the latter's rejecting an initial France Telecom bid, TeliaSonera board member Elof Isaksson says. He declines to elaborate on the seriousness of the deal but is supported by Norwegian industry committee chair Ola Borten Moe, who says the union of the two telecoms companies would be beneficial. The Norwegian government owns a majority stake in Telenor.
FT moves on TeliaSonera
France Telecom has entered negotiations to buy Sweden's TeliaSonera, writes the Wall Street Journal. Although no formal offer has been made, France Telecom says it has begun discussing the idea with TeliaSonera's board of directors, as well as its two biggest shareholders. A combination cash and share offer has been proposed, valued at 39 percent over TeliaSonera's share price on April 15th; when considered with its present stock value, this makes the deal worth approximately 252 billion kronor, or $42 billion.