Bouygues to sell network, spectrum to Free for €1.8bn
Bouygues Telecom on Sunday announced that if Vivendi accepts its offer for SFR it will divest its mobile network infrastructure and spectrum to smaller rival Free Mobile for up to €1.8 billion. The deal is clearly designed to address any concerns Vivendi might have about regulatory intervention slowing the sale process should it choose to sell SFR to Bouygues, a move that would reduce the number of players in the mobile market to three from four and would doubtless attract considerable regulatory scrutiny.
Vodafone offering free TV with Xperia Z2 pre-orders
The Sony Xperia Z2 will hit shelves on April 10th. Vodafone officially opened pre-orders for the android smartphone this morning. Customers will need to pre-order the smartphone on one of Vodafone’s Red 4G plans. In addition to unlimited UK calls and texts, customers will also get between 3GB and 13GB of data depending on the package they choose. The television that will be given to the first 3,000 pre-order customers is the Sony Bravia KDL–32R433B.
Orange efficiencies deliver greater profit
Orange has forecast stable margins this year and higher core profit than analysts were expecting, reports Reuters. The operator forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €12.1-12.6 billion for 2014, above the Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll average of 12.08 billion. Results for last year, however, showed no decrease in the pressure Orange has faced since 2012 when low-cost player Iliad entered the mobile arena and sparked a price war.
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IBM boss admits last year missed expectations
The head of IBM has used the firm’s annual report to acknowledge to shareholders that the firm did not deliver the best performance last year and that there was more work to be done on the hardware side of the portfolio. In her chairman’s letter to shareholders at the front of the 2013 Annual Report IBM’s chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty said that the firm had done a lot to invest in some of the key growth areas, including cloud, but overall there had been performance issues.
Demand for UK IT workers on the rise
The demand for IT and Computing staff in the UK continued to increase throughout February. The latest Report on Jobs, published by KPMG and the REC, reveals that the pace of expansion was faster than the average for all types of permanent workers across the UK. In January, KPMG and the REC announced that marked increases in permanent placements in the IT sector were signalled in all four monitored English regions, with the South posting the steepest rise.
24 per cent of top UK finance brands still not mobile
However more of these companies have mobile optimised sites than in retail or travel. 24 per cent of the top 50 financial brands still do not have a mobile solution for their services, finds the Internet Advertising Bureau UK. So far NatWest, Bupa and Hiscox are amongst the top companies in the finance sector, of which 22 per cent do have a mobile optimised site, compared to four per cent travel and just two per cent retail.
Chromecast heading to the UK ‘in weeks’
It’s taken far too long for the Google Chromecast to hit the UK but there are signs that it is finally heading this way. At SXSW this week, Google’s head of Android Sundar Pichai, revealed that the streaming stick will be coming to “many more countries” by the end of March. Given that rumours were rife that the device was set to launch in March – rumours that were eventually denied by Google – it is pretty much nailed on that one of the countries Chromecast will be coming to in a matter of weeks will be the UK.
Google to release “wearable” Android within a fortnight
Google will launch a new version of Android designed to work on wearable devices within the next fortnight. “In two weeks we are launching the first developer SDK for Android [wearables],” Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Apps and Chrome said at the SXSW conference in Texas. “That will lay out the vision for developers in how we see this market working.” That vision goes beyond smartwatches, which have been the dominant form of wearable technology over the past year, and one in which Google has lost ground. Samsung recently dumped Android for the more lightweight Tizen OS on the Galaxy Gear 2, but Google hopes the new version of Android will be used in a much wider range of devices.
Milk Music: Samsung launches free music service on Galaxy devices, including S5
There’s no shortage of music-streaming options to choose from these days, but what’s one more, right? Samsung is entering the already crowded market with its own free Internet radio service, dubbed Milk Music. Powered by Slacker, the free service is available exclusively for Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note 3, and Galaxy Note II, as well as the Galaxy S5 once it arrives in April. Milk Music boasts a catalog of 13 million songs and more than 200 ad-free radio stations. The app sports a “dial design”, which Samsung says offers a more intuitive and fun way to listen to music. The circular dial is customisable, letting you set up nine of your favourite genre-based stations for easy access. You can also fine tune genre stations based on your personal preferences.