THE WRAP: NSN-Moto deal back on track
It was the week that saw a breakthrough in the stalled NSN-Motorola deal, Level 3 buy Global Crossing, and Axiata Group sweep the board at the 14th TelecomAsia Awards.
Nokia Siemens’ long-delayed acquisition of Motorola Solutions went back on track this week, but only after the firm cut the purchase price by $225 million (€155 million) to account for the settlement of a Huawei lawsuit against the pair in the US.
The lower $975 million price covers additional costs associated with licensing fees for Huawei IP that was included in Motorola’s assets under previous commercial agreements. NSN expects the deal to finally wrap up before the end of the month, although it still needs a green light from Chinese regulators.
It was also the week that saw Level 3 Communications seal a deal to buy ST Telemedia-controlled Global Crossing for $3 billion, which includes $1.1 billion in debt. ST Telemedia will be the largest shareholder of the combined entity. Shares in both companies surged on the news, GC’s by almost 70%.
Both companies were major casualties of the bandwidth bubble bust ten years ago. Level 3 stayed solvent in part by selling off its Asia assets to Reach in December 2001; a month later Global Crossing filed for bankruptcy.
It was also the week that saw telcos in New Zealand blast the proposed legislation behind the nation's Ultrafast Broadband project, stating it will drive up prices and only increase Telecom NZ's market power.
A group of operators, as well as consumer groups including the Telecom Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ) signed a letter sent to local MPs in protest of the bill to set the terms of the fiber network project.
In other NBN news, Australia’s NBN Co announced the first 12 companies that will provide retail services during mainland trials of the National Broadband Network. The companies include Telstra, Optus, iiNet, SkyMesh, Exetel, AAPT, iPrimus and Internode.
In subsea news, NEC and SubCom began construction on the $400 million Southeast Asia-Japan cable (SJC), which will link Brunei, mainland China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan and Singapore, with an option to extend it to Indonesia and Thailand.
Meanwhile, the upcoming direct India-US cable link planned by Pacnet and Bharti Airtel will be completed by year-end, according to a Pacnet executive who said Pacnet and Bharti expect to spend a combined total of $120 million on capacity acquisition for the Chennai-Los Angeles link.
Speaking of Bharti Airtel, SingTel invested another $21 million in the Indian operator, increasing its stake from 32.15% to 32.25% – despite having its financial performance constantly hampered by the company.
Globe Telecom CEO Ernest Cu said this week the Philippines cellco had upped its capex for the year by 16%, and will spend more than a third of the amount on boosting its mobile broadband business.
In mobile OS news for the week, Nokia introduced Symbian Anna on the business focused X7 and E6 smartphones, promising the new platform offers usability improvements covering text input, browser speed and access to updated Ovi Maps – but with no firm availability date, users are unimpressed.
Meanwhile, Intel took the initiative on the MeeGo OS it’s working on with Nokia, announcing it had reworked MeeGo’s user interface, which it showed off together with its latest Atom processor and first real hope in tablets, Oak Trail. Intel also announced the MeeGo development center with partner Tencent.
Rumors for the week: India’s Tata Teleservices is reportedly planning to buy UK-based Virgin Group’s 50% stake in Virgin Mobile India; and Intel is reportedly designing an Atom-based handset for ZTE.
And finally, it was the week that saw Axiata Group, Softbank Mobile and CSL take home top honors at the 14th Telecom Asia Awards.
Softbank Mobile, a division of the Softbank Group, won the trophy for the Best Asian Telecom Carrier for a second year in a row while CSL won the Best Mobile Carrier category, both carriers impressing the judges for "driving change" in two very competitive markets.
But Axiata was the big winner of the night with three trophies. XL Axiata won Best Emerging Market carrier, while its CEO Hasnul Suhaimi was voted Telecom CEO of the Year, and parent company Axiata won the Best Regional Mobile Group for the second straight year.
You can find all the winners here.