THE WRAP: A merger shakes the UK, as mystery buyers get Zain

Robert Clark
11 Sep 2009

This week the French and German telcos shook up the UK market and little-known Asian investors got hold of Zain.

France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom agreed to merge their British mobile operations, creating the biggest operator in the market, with 37% of all customers.

The owners of Kuwaiti telco Zain sold off a 46% stake for $13.7 billion to India’s Vavasi Group and Malaysian billionaire Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary.

France’s Vivendi, which two months ago had run the slide rule over Zain, launched a $3 billion bid for Brazilian telco GVT.

Reliance and Bharti Airtel asked the Bangladesh regulator for permission to build a cable across the country to link India’s remote northeast states.

China Unicom and Telefónica agreed on a $2 billion share swap – the first by a mainland carrier in a foreign telco.

China is driving Asia’s broadband growth, accounting for two-thirds of new subs in the past year. China is also leading mobile growth in northeast Asia. Aside from China, the region is set for just 1% CAGR between now and 2014.

Another forecast says video will account for 53% of mobile traffic by 2017.

Motorola put the emphasis on social networking in its first Android phones and Huawei also got with the Android program.

Australia’s domestic spy service met with Huawei to discuss its PLA and Chinese government links.

Lee Kaifu, the just-departed Google China chief, announced Innovation Works, a $115 million incubator and VC for the China market. Google is planning a micropayments system that it says can help newspapers charge for content.

Juniper and Nokia Siemens got the green light for their 60:40 JV, Carrier Ethernet Solutions (CES). AT&T confirmed Ericsson as one of its wireline vendors.

SKT opened Korea’s first carrier-operated app store, accessible to virtually all Korean phones. Indian officials set 3G spectrum usage fees.

US cable firm Comcast took on telcos with a 100Mbps service for business customers.

Flight simulation website Avsim said it had identified the hacker who brought down the site in May, and had passed the information to the police.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown apologized over the treatment of computer pioneer Alan Turing.

And a pigeon beat Telkom South Africa’s DSL service in a race to transport 4GB of data. By the time the pigeon had carried the data to its destination, the DSL upload was just 4% completed.

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