THE WRAP: Telecom Italia cries poverty at home, flashes cash abroad

They say a week is a long time in politics, this week that could be rewritten to 24 is a lifetime in banking and insurance - and telecoms.

Today Telecom Italia is said to be close to closing a deal to invest €1.4 billion for a 49% holding of Unitech, which holds operating licences for all 22 of the service regions designated by the Indian government.

Yesterday Dow Jones reported that it was desperately seeking buyers for the family silver to help it grapple with debts of €37 billion and the pressing need to invest in national, next generation infrastructure.

Calls by employees and shareholders of the beleaguered Alcatel-Lucent for the outgoing bosses, Patricia Russo and Serge Tchuruk, to help the company and not take their combined €11.6 million "golden parachutes" are likely to fall on deaf ears.

HP did little to lift the general gloom, announcing it would cut almost 25,000 jobs, mostly in the US, in the wake of its acquisition of EDS, through which it hopes to achieve world domination in IT services. Analysts upbeat about its future prospects, including rehiring in due course.

Not so with Nortel, whose shares took another bath after it slashed its business outlook and announced another round of cut-backs.

Amdocs, meanwhile, seems to be going from strength to strength.

Palm was chipper too, although its Q1 loss was bigger than last time, its results beat expectations and the company is showing signs of regaining impetus.

The IBC event held in Amsterdam ("the world of content creation, management, delivery") experienced record attendance, but has the feeling of being in the lull between hype and widespread roll-out of various technologies that have been touted for years.

On the subject of hype, brace yourself for Monday, when T-Mobile USA is threatening to show off the first Google/Android mobile phone. Details have been drip-fed us all week, but all will be revealed next week.

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