Europe

Consolidation continues

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Orange’s proposed takeover of Spain’s Jazztel. France’s Orange already has a Spanish subsidiary, whose connectivity Jazztel resells as a mobile virtual network operator. Jazztel, founded by Fon boss Martin Varsavsky 16 years ago, is more of a fixed-line player, while Orange has both mobile and fixed networks in Spain. The Commission said in a statement that it is worried about the fact that the merger would result in just three nationwide fixed-line communications providers in Spain (the others are Telefónica and Vodafone) and, by reducing competition, allow the ISPs to increase their prices. Orange has proposed commitments to keep things fair, but the Commission doesn’t think they go far enough.

The one-time U.K. monopoly carrier BT may be sniffing around O2 and EE as it considers how best to get back into the mobile carrier game, but it seems it’s not the only one. According to a Reuters report, Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa is also considering a bid for one of those companies. Hutch already owns Three, the smallest U.K. mobile network operator, so this would reduce the number of network-owning cellular players in the country down to three (the other being Vodafone). Three and EE already have a network-sharing deal that involves a joint venture called MBNL, so integration would be easier on that front. EE is jointly owned by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and France’s Orange, and O2 by Spain’s Telefonica.

Having hit the crowdfunding target it set for its new tablet in just two hours, the Finnish mobile upstart Jolla has, eight days later, achieved that goal three times over. With $1.3 million pledged, the campaign still has 13 days left though – so Jolla has revealed some stretch goals that its community suggested. If it hits $1.5 million, the Android-compatible Sailfish OS tablet will get MicroSDHC support, allowing it to take memory cards of up to 128GB in size. If it hits $1.75 million, it will gain the ability to view and run two apps simultaneously, split-screen-style. And if $2.5 million is pledged, it will gain 3.5G cellular connectivity. Jolla co-founder Marc Dillon said the company was “overwhelmed” by the response so far.

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