NEWS IN BRIEF: Nokia, Vodafone/du, BA, Blyk

Nokia has acquired the small German mobile content software company bit-side, The companies have worked together since 2007 and the deal is expected to close this quarter, with bit-side being integrated into Nokia's Services unit. No financial details were disclosed.

In the last two years, Nokia has acquired or done deals with Loudeye, Twango, Enpocket, Plazes and Navteq as it focuses on services including as music, games, messaging and location-based services.

Vodafone has signed what it calls a Partner Market agreement with du of the UEA, a fixed line provider and the country's second largest mobile operator.  The agreement paves the way for the UK-based group to launch a products, devices and services in the UAE via du, which will become the first telecoms operator in the region to join Vodafone's Partner Market programme.

Vodafone said that du would benefit from Vodafone's experience in supply chain management, technology development and in the multinational enterprise market, while Vodafone will be able to use du's 3G network to offer customers various services.

ITPro reports that British Airways (BA) is set to test in-flight mobile data this year, enabling business users to check email and use the internet while in the air. The airline will trial the service on its new twice daily, business class service from London's City airport to New York's JFK, starting in autumn this year.

Ad-funded MVNO Blyk is changing its 'free' allowance from 16 February. Blyk members, who must be aged from 16 to 24 when they join, currently receive 217 minutes and 43 texts free in exchange for receiving advertising. From next month, members will receive a £15 monthly allowance for MMS, data, calls and texts. The company claims to have seen about a 30% jump in requests to join Blyk since the new offer was announced.

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