News In Brief: Verizon, Softbank, Nokia, Loral Skynet, Telstra, BSNL, M1, FTTH Council

Verizon Business has obtained an International Long Distance (ILD) license from the Indian government to operate its two international gateways in Mumbai and Chennai, the company announced.

Softbank is offering free 8GB iPhones in Japan with a two-year contract, and has slashed the price of the 16GB model from $350 to $118, said.

European mobile operators O2 and Orange are "furious" that Nokia plans to add Skype to its N97 handset, and may refuse to stock it or any future phone with Skype included, Mobile Today said.

Russia's space agency has announced it has sent a US telecom satellite into space. Loral Skynet's Telstar-11N geostationary satellite will provide services for customers in North America, Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean region.

The Australian government is working with Telstra to deploy Cisco's TelePresence system, Australia's finance minister, Lindsay Tanner, announced. The government will spend $13.8 million on teleconferencing projects over four years.

State-owned operator BSNL has launched 3G services in 11 Indian cities to date, the company has announced, even though private operators have yet to be awarded 3G spectrum. BSNL plans to roll out W-CDMA/HSPA technology to more than 700 cities in the project's first phase.

M1 chariman Lim Chee Onn has resigned from the board of directors, and has been replaced by fellow director Teo Soon Hoe, the company said.

The global optical network market has so far weathered the economic crisis quite well, with sales growing 5% last quarter to $4 billion, research firm Infonetics said. The market grew 8% for the full year.

FTTH positively contributes to improvements in quality of life, employment and productivity levels and the quality of public services, according to a new study jointly conducted by the FTTH Council Europe and Ovum.