Whoa. Last week Liberty Global and Cablevision execs revealed that they aren't too bullish when it comes to the ever-so-popular quadruple play--the wireless component added to the infamous triple play of voice, high-speed data and cable TV services. Liberty has rolled out an MVNO service in Japan, Holland and Switzerland, but says it has little to show on its bottom line for the effort. Cablevision is selling Sprint mobile service in New York, but isn't bundling the service with its popular triple-play services of voice, video and data. CEO Jim Dolan has made it clear that he doesn't expect wireless to spur bundle sales. Cablevision began reselling Sprint service in mid-2005, so it's had more than a year's experience. Getting the right service bundles are a tricky thing, but they keep customers from leaving when they have the right mix. Perhaps content services will be the secret sauce. Sprint's joint venture with Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner and Advance/Newhouse Communications does more than add a wireless option to the MSOs' bundles, however; it is designed to integrate mobile/cable content services, bringing services such as integrated messaging, remote programming of digital video recorders and photo storage/sharing. The JV, however, appears a long ways off from that vision, and it's going to start with service bundles.
It's takeover season in the telecom market as companies open up to leveraged buyouts from private equity firms as a way to drive margins without the pressure of public markets. As such, the Blackstone Group announced its interest in buying all or at the very least a minority stake in beleaguered Telecom Italia, which has made many headlines over several months as it reorganizes its fixed and mobile assets and scrapped its whole fixed-to-mobile convergence plans, opting to pursue a media strategy. I don't see stockholders complaining. Premium buyouts are all the rage in the semiconductor sector. Blackstone bought Freescale Semiconductor for $17.6 billion in the largest-ever buyout deal in the technology sector, agreeing to pay a 36-percent premium over Freescale's average share price. I'm sure investors would welcome a nice offer for Sprint Nextel. Private Equity funds are showing that they just have too much money to invest.
RCR reports that T-Mobile USA has been testing MediaFLO USA's mobile TV technology. The company also recently announced plans to test Hiwire's DVB-H service in Las Vegas and has been a test partner with Modeo. Interestingly, T-Mobile International corporate executives acknowledged earlier this year that MediaFLO is a better technology than DVB-H but said they would stick with DVB-H in Europe. This should be fun to watch.
Can Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski turn things around? The company has now posted its seventh loss in the last nine quarters. The latest measure is to slash spending while the company waits to realize revenues on new technology, such as so-called 4G technology. It seems like a risky bet, but there's not much else the company can do. It's not a takeover target with a debt load of about $4.4 billion and a negative cash flow.
Verizon Wireless and LG Electronics are hoping for wide appeal of their holiday color schemes for the Chocolate phone that consist of red and green. Yellow, however, isn't one of the colors intended for the Chocolate, but apparently one user's habit of storing the phone in his pocket turned the white plastic housing into a milky yellow color.
Hope you all enjoyed your long Thanksgiving weekend. Tired of those turkey sandwiches yet? -Lynnette