THE WRAP: Facebook moves to IPO; India acts on 2G

It was the week that saw Facebook go public, Indian cellcos given the go ahead to share (some) spectrum, and Asia declared the world leader in Internet attacks.
 
Social networking behemoth Facebook made its long-anticipated move this week to file for an IPO. The company didn’t name an exchange, but said it’s aiming to raise $5 billion (€3.7 billion), according to the New York Times.
 
However, sources “close to the company” also claim Facebook is aiming for a much bigger offering that could value the company as high as $75 billion or even $100 billion – which would make it bigger than Kraft Foods, Goldman Sachs and Ford Motor Co, the NYT says.
 
In other news for the week, India’s DoT ruled that operators can share spectrum – as long as it is 2G spectrum only.
 
According to reports, the rules also prevent operators from sharing spectrum in circles where they do not hold frequencies themselves, or in cases where the pairing would exceed the limits laid out in merger regulations (i.e. 25% of the spectrum per region).
 
An Indian court subsequently threw the 2G sharing into doubt by ordering the return of 122 licenses issued in a contentious 2008 auction.
 
It was also the week in which the European Union urged the World Trade Organization to probe China’s control of rare earths, after the trade body ruled the state infringes global trade rules covering other raw materials. While the case didn’t specifically mention rare earths, European lawmakers say the ruling should now form the bedrock of a case examining those elements.
 
The European Commission, meanwhile, turned its attention to Samsung’s patents, following a protracted battle with Apple in several member states. The Commission is probing whether Samsung licenses essential patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
 
 
In Singapore, the three main telcos will need to adhere to higher quality of service levels for 3G service provisioning come April this year, after regulator IDA announced this week it had updated its 3G mobile QoS framework.
 
According to the revised framework, 3G service coverage for nationwide outdoor areas and road and newer public train tunnels has to reach more than 99%, from more than 95% previously. In-building coverage will have to reach more than 85% per building.
 
In Thailand this week, AIS launched two trial LTE networks – a 2.3-GHz TD-LTE network in central Bangkok and an LTE 1800 network in the remote province of Maha Sarakham – with speeds promised of up to 100 Mbps.
 
Meanwhile, China Mobile kept the ball rolling on TD-LTE, agreeing its second device test case development partnership in as many weeks. UK firm Anite is the chosen ally.
 
It was also the week when Ovum poured some cold water on hopes for a robust telecoms sector in 2012. Despite a strong 2011 for the sector, Ovum says global telecom service revenue growth will slow to 2.9% for the period between 2010 and 2017, less than half of the 6.3% growth from 2004-2010. Capex is similarly forecast to fall to 3.1% from 6.5% over the same period.
 
In any case, Nokia Siemens Networks is financially secure for the next three years, after agreeing on a credit facility this week to replace backing from its parent companies. The vendor agreed forward starting term and multicurrency revolving credit facilities with 15 banks around the world before an existing finance agreement with Nokia and Siemens expires this summer.
 
And finally, it was the week in which we learned that Asia is responsible for around half of the world's internet attack traffic. That’s according to Akamai’s Q3 2011 State of the Internet Report, which said that Indonesia was the top attack traffic source during the quarter, accounting for 14% of observed traffic.
 
China and Taiwan were in second and third place, respectively, generating 20% between them.

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