THE WRAP: Europe's online hours grow; UK users sick of messaging

Michael Carroll
08 Jul 2011

This week we learned that Europeans spend an average of a day per month online, UK citizens are growing weary of constant contact and BT continued a push into Asia Pacific with the opening of a new technology center in India.

Web metrics firm comScore revealed that Europeans spent typically spent 26.4 hours online during May, with users in the Netherlands, UK and Turkey all clocking up over 30 hours on average.

Google sites grabbed the most eyeballs, followed by Microsoft and Facebook, but Russian social network VKontakte was the top Web property during the month.

Despite the enthusiasm for Web access, a BT-sponsored study revealed that a third of UK users are tiring of constant contact and feel the need to take a break from messaging and social networking sites. Almost two thirds say they still prefer face-to-face conversations to online chats.

Meanwhile, the operator continued a push into Asia Pacific with the launch of a new technology center in India. The facility is BT’s fifth in the region, and will be used to demonstrate services including video conferencing, network optimization, unified communications and voice over IP.

China proved a strong stomping ground for European equipment vendors, with Nokia Siemens scoring a contract to deploy a 40Gbps DWDM network for China Unicom, and Alcatel-Lucent being hired to provide access management equipment for China Telecom's “Broadband China, Fiber Cities” project – a scheme to pass 100 million homes with fiber by 2015.

South Korea’s handset makers enjoyed mixed fortunes, with LG Electronics launching its Optimus 3D smartphone on home soil, while Samsung came under pressure from Microsoft and Apple over device patents.

Microsoft’s cause was helped a patent licensing deal with Taiwanese ODM Wistron covering Android-based tablets and mobile phones. The agreement is the software giant’s fourth covering Android devices in recent weeks.

The US firm’s dominance won’t trouble Chinese web giants Alibaba and Baidu, which are reportedly developing their own mobile operating systems.

South Korean operator SK Telecom also prepared to do battle with Web giants, launching a mobile advertising platform to rival similar services from Google and Apple.

China Mobile furthered the cause of TD-LTE – the country’s home-grown 4G standard – with a deal to develop testing tools with Rohde & Swartz, and an agreement with Sony Ericsson covering supply of compatible handsets.

In Japan, KDDI began rolling out a Wi-Fi access service that utilizes its Wimax spectrum for backhaul. The service will also be used to offload data from its CDMA EV-DO network.

And Vodafone’s latest minority stake sale – in Polish operator Polkomtel – brought its total cash income from the strategy to €13.4 billion since September. The operator has pumped €5 billion into reducing its net debt, and €3.7 billion into buying back shares.

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