Tag: Orange

French government wants a Dailymotion

OrangesFrance’s Orange has promised to look at all offers for its Dailymotion video-sharing site after being leaned on by the government.

The French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said that France was seeking to promote a strong European digital sector.

Speaking on BFM Business, Macron denied that he was opposed to an alliance with Asia’s PCCW, presumably because they did not know how to cook outside of a giant frypan.

“I did not say ‘no’ … They have an industrial project which is excellen… What I said was: ‘Should we enter into exclusive negotiations?’ The answer is no. We should look at all the offers,” he said.

Macron when asked about media reports that he favoured a European alliance for the operation.

He said: “We (France) are a state and we have a European digital policy.” Yes, but are you in favour of the sale, you could easily have just answered “I like Langue de boeuf for all the relevance that answer contained.

Part of Macron’s problem is that Dailymotion is one of those rarities – a French startup which did really well. The company, founded in 2005, has managed to attract funding and expand globally, but Orange has argued for years that to catch up with Google Inc.’s YouTube, it needs to find partners.

In 2013, then-Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg prevented Orange from selling a majority stake in the site to U.S. Web giant Yahoo Inc. After the deal fell apart, Mr. Montebourg said the U.S. tech firm might have “devoured” a French jewel.

French force Google to pay for traffic

While the rest of the world has been fighting against a two tiered internet, it appears that in France, Google has surrendered.

The head of French telecoms operator Orange said that it has managed to screw cash out of Google to compensate it for the vast amounts of traffic sent across its networks.

Orange CEO Stephane Richard said that with 230 million clients and areas where Google could not get around its network, the search engine had been forced to come to terms.  What this sounds like to us is an anti-trust activity which Orange would be better off keeping its mouth shut about, but it seems that the telco can’t help but brag.

Richard has not said how much Google had paid Orange, but said the situation showed the importance of reaching a critical size in business.  In other words, Orange has a monopoly over certain traffic and Google has to do what it is told.

While network operators have been muttering that Google, with its search engine and YouTube, generates huge amounts of traffic but does not compensate them for using their networks, many of them will think that it is unfair Orange gets a slice of the pie and they don’t.

Richard put Google traffic over Orange’s internet networks at around half. Of course that does mean it gets to be paid twice for the traffic.  Once by the user and once by Google – a nice little earner if you have a monopoly and can enforce it.

However, Google is unlikely to receive any support from the government.  France and Germany are considering imposing compensation schemes on Google to defend its failing newspaper industry and Big Media.

French President Francois Hollande warned Google that his government would legislate a so-called Google tax if the company doesn’t reach a deal with French media companies.

EE gets its 4G head start this October

Everything Everywhere – rebranded EE – has announced when it will launch Britain’s first 4G network across the country, 30 October 2012. This will include mobile 4G as well as a fibre broadband service.

EE will offer 4G services to 16 UK cities this year. It is aiming for 98 percent coverage by 2014. 

Olaf Swantee promised the press that the rollout will be a “significant milestone for the United Kingdom, and for the people and businesses of our country who will now be able to enjoy the huge advantages of superfast 4G technology for the first time”. For the first time, of course, unless they’ve been to countries that already have 4G networks for a while now, including the USA and Germany. 

There have been long lasting controversies surrounding building the 4G network. The Coalition government itself was alleged to have stopped Ofcom from going ahead with the auction way back in 2010. After another 18 months, the delay was believed, Labour MP Helen Goodman said, to have been hitting the country in the pocket.

In January, Andrew Ferguson at ThinkBroadband said that the government hadn’t got its priorities straight: “Questioning of why the auctions have been so delayed, and why we continue to have a slow style consultation processes, rather than simply getting on with the auction and actual network implementation is something that must be done,” he said.

“We are told by the current Government that the e-economy is important to the UK, but the level of investment and political pressure applied to firms and regulators to ensure infrastructure projects such as the 4G roll-out do not seem to carry the same level of importance as road and rail infrastructure projects.”

When the ball finally got rolling, Ofcom was then criticised by Everything Everywhere rival Vodafone – now merged with O2 to offer its own 4G networks – of giving the company an unfair advantage, fearing that for the time being, its own services would be Nothing, Nowhere.

Top exec Guy Laurence said Ofcom took “leave of its senses” by handing over the first 4G services to EE, and claimed the organisation was “all but agreeing to grant the largest player in the market a headstart on the next generation of mobile internet services”.

Critics accused Vodafone of throwing its toys out of the pram because it wanted to milk more money from 3G services before switching to 4G.

Comtek CEO Ashar Sheibani put the boot in to Ofcom and Everything Everywhere, claiming that estimated figures about boosts to the economy were largely exaggerated. Sheibani also suggested EE was pushing for a faster roll-out so it could get a head-start on fashioning a monopoly before the competition got a chance. The Vodafone and Telefonica joint deal suggests further convergence of the big players. 

Now, the Guardian reports, the big telcos have signed a truce which should offer to close the gap on EE’s head start and bring 4G to the UK quicker than expected. New culture secretary Maria Miller revealed that there will be nationwide 4G services running on multiple networks by the end of next Summer.

A presentation, the Guardian reports, put the blame squarely on Ofcom. The regulator said Ofcom’s objective has “always been to release the spectrum as early as possible”.

Keen 4G-hungry T-Mobile and Orange customers can buy a Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE, HTC One XL, and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, which will be ready for a 4G upgrade, reports TechRadar. iPhone 5 users will be expecting an upgrade to 4G, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 LTE will also be 4G ready on EE, as Apple’s promises of offering 4G are actually realised.

Vodafone and Telefonica team up for shared 4G grid

Vodafone and Telefonica have announced plans to join forces with the ultimate goal of creating a shared 4G grid in the UK.

According to the Beeb, the companies hope to improve coverage and speed out 4G rollout by 2015, two years ahead of Ofcom’s 98 per cent coverage requirement, set for 2017.

Of course, Vodafone and Telefonica will continue to compete, but in doing so they will share the same network infrastructure. However, the deal will cut costs for both operators, which sounds like a pretty good idea given weak consumer spending in Europe.

Ovum’s principal analyst Jeremy Green believes that the shared grid makes sense. 

“This is an entirely sensible move by Vodafone and Telefonica in the UK,” Green said. “Most countries would end up with only two physical LTE networks.”

“It follows on from the merger of T-Mobile and Orange in the UK into Everything Everywhere,” he said. “If Vodafone and Telefonica had not also embraced sharing in this way they would have been at a competitive disadvantage. As it was, they were able to build on and extend the relationship that they already had through Cornerstone, their existing joint venture. This sets them up well for the 4G rollout and will help them catch up on 2/3G rollout too.

“Both operators stress that it has no implications for their relationship elsewhere, and that they will continue to compete on services. This move follows the logic of network economics and technological possibility, and is what the near future is going to look like,” Green said.

Although 4G is becoming the next big thing stateside, Europea doesn’t appear to be as interested. There is still a lot of clinging to 3G and there does not appear to be much demand to upgrade for the time being. This probably has something to do with the fact that 3G coverage in Europe is excellent for the most part, while 4G is rather limited. Of course, in the UK, the 4G rollout is dragging its heels and has been criticised from many corners.

Unlike their European counterparts, a lot of US consumers opt for pricey unlimited data plans on high-end devices, since they seem to believe that austerity is a European country neighbouring Austria and Italy. 

Dutch just say no to ACTA

The Dutch, who famously sorted out the UK’s Irish question by loaning their King, have told the US sock-puppets of Big Content, to sling their hook.

The Netherlands is almost certain to say “no” against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) this afternoon.

A motion by Kees Verhoeven and Afke Schaart is being looked at by the Dutch Competitiveness Council later this afternoon and will be voted on in the House.

It looks like the Kees Verhoeven’s motion will be adopted by a majority of the House which has already  slammed the controversial ACTA trade agreement.

According to the Dutch Press, it means that that the Netherlands will finally tell Big Content to “bog off”.

ACTA was intended to combat the trading of counterfeit goods. This included music, movie and software downloads that fall under copyright protection.

The treaty is going to have a rough ride in the European Parliament, but Verhoeven does not want to wait.

The motion will kill off the ACTA treaty whether the European Parliament vote for it or against.

The Dutch government has already waived putting a signature on the treaty under pressure from the House. One of the concerns is that the provisions of the treaty go against civil rights and hand too much political power to Big Content.

Verhoeven finds that the treaty’s Internet freedom and privacy of citizens and businesses are in real danger from the treaty.  

ZTE will succeed

ZTE, the company which has been very disappointed when it has had to talk to women in the past, invited a bunch of hacks to the Ice Bar in London a couple of days ago. We didn’t go – we haven’t payed the gas and there’s plenty of vodka in the office. But we’ve heard ZTE wanted to show off some phones and talk up some revelations. 

Except they weren’t. Any industry watchers keeping a close eye on ZTE will tell you it is the next threat. Already the top dog in its native China market for smartphones, early last year we revealed an aggressive push to swamp Europe and beyond with its kit. We had also heard whisperings at the time its own-branded phones will be in the pipeline.

And here they are. ZTE has annouced that its Skate will be out by the end of the year. The San Francisco is already out and received positive reviews from most. 

While ZTE has previously focused on entry level smartphones to deliver an Android experience at half the pricepoint, we know it wants to get into the high-end and really challenge its neighbours across the Strait in Taiwan, HTC. Meanwhile thanks to relaxed trade agreements, HTC plans to step on ZTE’s toes, too.

It probably can. Although HTC has now managed to build up a brand reputation for itself, when it appeared on the scene with its well received products, to much of the West it came from nowhere. 

We at TechEye like nothing better than a bit of horn-tooting, so we’ll be pleased to tell you we’ve been soothsaying the lot of this since we tipped up. Google for ZTE + domination + TechEye.

Executives at ZTE are deadly serious about taking on the world and its dog, which is why it has such outwardly aggressive sales targets to live up to. The thing is, it’s reaching them.

Aside from flogging smartphones, ZTE is also a provider of infrastructure, and is happy to deploy LTE services etc to get one over on Chinese rival Huawei. The two were recently in a seemingly petty trademark spat that, again, seemed to come from nowhere. It was probably based in the knowledge that there is room for one Chinese brand, at least at the start, in the West.

What ZTE will say is that these are unfounded and ridiculous rumours about links to corporate and government China will worry paranoid Americans when there’s a ZTE phone in one in every 20 households. 

Despite this, HTC strongly told us at Mobile World Congress this year that it has nothing to fear from the giant. Other industry watchers have told us it’s a foolhardy opinion that could land it in deep doo-doo. 

Consider the latest figures in from analyst house IHS iSuppli. According to the company, smartphones for sale in China are going to receive a tremendous boost, with domestic shipments already set for 54.1 million units in 2011, up from 35.3 million in 2010. Of those, 10 million are going to be made by ZTE. 15 million will be made by Huawei.

Surefire success at home will keep its bottom line happy enough to support Wu Sa and his friends as the Chinese Conquistadors of the mobile market, entering promising segments where it thinks it can do well. It will be a slowly-slowly approach, as it has been in the UK and Europe in general.

It began wooing carriers with enticing contracts on its ready-made kit as a branding opportunity, before gently trickling in its own models and becoming a recognised brandname.

ZTE’s smartphones in the UK are no surprise, and to underestimate the company would be, frankly, daft. 

iPhone is most recycled phone

Ah, nostalgia. There’s so much less of it about than there used to be. But according to Orange, the next generation is taking up the torch, with a staggering 23 percent of British 18- to 24-year-olds hanging onto their old mobile phones for sentimental reasons.

Indeed, according to the Orange survey, Brits are hoarding £2.7 billion worth of old mobile phones between them. Four in ten people have never recycled an old phone, and a third don’t have a clue how.

“I’m surprised that so many people have never recycled a mobile phone or even considered that they could get cash back for them,” says Dan Thomas, head of Orange’s new Recycle & Reward scheme.

“Recycling old handsets is good for the environment and good for consumers’ pockets  –  and we’ll reward any customer from any network that wants to recycle their mobile with cash.”

Apparently, most people have a rather better quality of electrojunk than yours truly, with the average payout being £45.

And interestingly, while surveys generally show iPhones as being the most desirable phones, Orange reckons they’re also the ones people are keenest to get rid of. The most recycled handset is apparently the iPhone 3GS 16GB, followed by the 8GB version.

Anyone tossing out an iPhone 4 – perhaps because it isn’t diamond-studded – can expect to net a cool £148.

We thought we might have found a useful source of extra revenue here at Techeye – the blackmail’s not been quite so lucrative of late. Unfortunately, Orange says it checks every handset against a crime protection database.

Huawei lands Everything Everywhere deal

It’s built itself a firm little UK nesting place in the concrete jungle otherwise known as Bracknell, and now Huawei has made its stand over here in blighty, winning its first UK major UK contract.

The all encompassing Chinese network equipment maker has received the wireless network deal from Everything Everywhere – a joint venture between Deutsche Telekom AG and France Telecom SA, inherited from the merger of T-Mobile and Orange.

Upon signing on the dotted line Huawei has agreed to rebuild the operator’s 2G infrastructure over the next four years, which is claimed to give better sensitivity and improve coverage . It also seems that it will get itself into top position when it comes to building and advancing  4G too although Everything Everywhere hasn’t named its partner for this.

Whilst the Chinese giant will be splashing out on the champers, not everyone is going to be impressed at the deal. After all it’s no secret that many countries are already suspicious of the company when it comes to security. Most notably is the US, which last year tried to banned a deal between the company and an acquisition bid for 3Leaf. It tried to force the company to pull out of the deal – something Huawei refused to do – after claiming that the company failed to declare the acquisition of 3Leaf Systems. It instead claimed that it did not require clearance in this instance.

Of course the US isn’t being paranoid when you consider Huawei’s content against the threats to cybersecurity and the fact it’s a Chinese company. In October last year US lawmakers also made their feelings clear when they put the company under pressure over trading concerns on its links to the Chinese military and government

Then again, it seems old Huawei is juggling a double edged sword playing nicely, nicely with the US. Earlier this year Huawei’s chairman in the USA wrote an open letter gushing about his host country and appreciation for democracy.

GSMA working on Near Field Communication standard

The Telco muscle of the world all agree that Near Field Communications, or NFC, technology should be high on the agenda and reach the commercial markets as early as 2012. 

NFC is the much hyped way to pay for stuff using your smartphone. But global industry heavyweights are committing to a roll-out, including Bharti, Telefonica, Vodafone, Orange, Telecom Italia, Deutsche Telekom, China Unicom and America Movil. 

Franco Bernabe, the GSM Association’s (GSMA) chairman, thinks that the applications of NFC go far beyond your smartphone being your wallet. “NFC represents an important innovation opportunity, and will facilitate a wide range of services and applications including mobile ticketing, couponing, the exchange of information, control access to cars, homes, hotels, office car parks and more.” Best not to lose your phone, then.

Frost & Sullivan figures suggest that NFC’s total payment value will reach €110 billion by 2015. It certainly has the chance when backed with strong GSMA approval. Operators are hoping to standardise deployment of mobile NFC, with the SIM card the port of call for security and authentication. 

The idea for now is to develop and test different standards on NFC to make sure it will work, globally. The GSMA warns that if there is no single standard NFC will effectively be crap, as users will not be able to reap the benefits of the technology when they travel elsewhere and find themselves faced by different operators, networks or devices. 

Orange set to buy YouTube rival DailyMotion

Telecommunications provider Orange is to acquire nearly half of YouTube rival DailyMotion, with intent to buy out the rest at a later date.

Orange will spend €58.8 million ($80 million) to buy 49 percent of the French video hosting site, confirming rumours that have been circulating that DailyMotion was on the verge of being acquired.

Investors in DailyMotion, like Advent Venture Partners, said that they were not looking to sell the company, which, if true, means that the offer from Orange was simply too good to pass on. 

DailyMotion has been making profits throughout 2010, but it needed a $68.5 million capital injecture from a number of leading European capital venturists in three rounds of funding, suggesting it was not entirely capable of generation its required revenue on its own.

DailyMotion was founded in 2005, the same year as YouTube, and it has grown to 90 million users with 20 percent of those in France alone. It never had the backing of a big company like Google, but its number two position behind YouTube suggests there’s still some room for competition.

Orange intends to buy the remaining 51 percent of DailyMotion shortly after its initial acquisition, and while the figure for that chunk of the company hasn’t been revealed it’s likely to be similar to the €58.8 million ($80 million) currently offered for the first half. With a total price tag of around €120 million ($163 million), it’s hard not to think it’s a little paltry compared to the $1.65 billion that Google paid for YouTube.

That said, Orange could be getting a bargain, but what will it gain from buying a video site? It doesn’t have the advertisement revenue stream that Google has, but it could offer special bonuses on DailyMotion to its phone and internet customers. 

For example, video duration or size limits could be increased, more storage space could be offered, and the service could be incorporated into Orange’s existing websites.