Thursday, May 17, 2007

India's Idea Cellular Awards $500 Million Contract to Nokia Siemens

Idea Cellular Limited, a leading Indian GSM mobile services provider, awarded a US$500 million GSM network expansion contract to Nokia Siemens Networks. Nokia Siemens Networks will expand Idea Cellular's GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks to cover population centres across the six circles of Delhi, Haryana, UP East, UP West, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. Nokia Siemens Networks will deploy its state-of-the-art equipment, including the Flexi BTS, mini-ultra base stations, Release 4 architecture, media gateways and MSS servers.

Russia's MTS Selects Nokia Siemens Networks for 3G in Moscow

Mobile Telesystems, the largest mobile phone operator in Russia, selected Nokia Siemens Networks for a turnkey 3G network in the Moscow region. MTS plans to construct an integrated 2G/3G network, where 3G subscribers will continue to be able to use the value-added services that are currently available within the 2/2.5G network. Deployment will start this summer. Financial terms were not disclosed.

MTS is already using a Nokia Siemens Networks core network in Moscow.

Alltel to be Acquired by TPG Capital and GS for $27 Billion

Alltel, which is the fifth largest wireless carrier in the US serving 12 million customers, agreed to be acquired by TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners (Goldman Sachs), in a transaction valued at approximately $27.5 billion. The purchase price per share represents a 23% premium over Alltel's closing share price prior to media reports of a potential transaction published on December 29, 2006.

The deal represents the largest privatization of a publicly-traded telecommunications firm to date.

Alltel is an all-wireless carrier headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas with operations in 35 states, including many Tier 2/3 markets. It operates a CDMA network and a GSM network (through its 2005 acquisition of Western Wireless). It maintains roaming partnerships with the four national wireless carriers, including Cingular, T-Mobile, Sprint and Verizon. Alltel has been expanding its CDMA EV-DO network and, as of year-end 2006, approximately 50% of cell sites had been upgraded. The Alltel network also includes 9,300 fiber optic route miles connecting to approximately 100 POPs in key regional locations.

TPG Capital is the global buyout group of TPG (formerly Texas Pacific Group), a leading private investment firm founded in 1992, with more than $30 billion of assets under management.

GS Capital Partners is the private equity vehicle through which The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., conducts its privately negotiated corporate equity investment activities.
  • In July 2006, Alltel completed the spin off its wireline business, which was merged with VALOR Communications Group to create Windstream, a major wireline operator focused on the rural U.S. market. Windstream serves approximately 3.4 million access lines and offers voice, broadband and digital TV services in 16 states.

  • In 2005, ALLTEL purchased Western Wireless Corporation in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at approximately $6 billion. ALLTEL gained about 1.4 million domestic wireless customers (GSM) in 19 western and midwestern states that are contiguous to existing properties.

European Commission to Clarify Radio Spectrum Information

The European Commission is seeking to create a single reference point for uniform EU radio spectrum information. This will provide greater clarity on what spectrum is available and how this may be used across Europe. The EC said such information helps industry to make informed decisions when developing business opportunities, and so will stimulate investment. It is also essential for secondary trading of rights to use spectrum, which is also a Commission objective.

Currently, information about available spectrum is so far mainly provided nationally and can vary greatly both in format and scope across the EU.

The European Commission has now adopted a decision that specifies the format and level of detail of the information that Member States should provide on the use of radio spectrum, as well as other practicalities such as reliability and regular updates. This common approach allows for the setting up a single information point containing comparable data, as foreseen by the decision.

Nortel, Toshiba to Jointly Develop WiMAX Base Stations

Nortel and Toshiba announced an agreement for the joint development of mobile WiMAX base stations for Japanese and global markets. The base stations will be based on Nortel's next-generation broadband wireless technology and Toshiba's high-efficiency amplifier and miniaturization technology. The base stations' radio module will be developed by Toshiba. Nortel will develop the digital module for the base stations. The companies plan to offer a range of small, power efficient and cost effective WiMAX base stations.

Nortel and Toshiba have jointly participated in the Japanese government's next-generation wireless trial using WiMAX solutions, and successfully completed the trial service provision in the Tohoku region of northern Japan during December 2006 to March 2007.

Cisco Poised to Complete Acquisition WebEx

Cisco Systems received the remaining foreign regulatory approvals required under the merger agreement for it to acquire WebEx Communications. The deal is expected to close on Monday, May 21, 2007.

As announced previously, on March 27, 2007, Cisco, through its wholly owned subsidiary Wonder Acquisition Corp., commenced a tender offer for all outstanding shares of WebEx at a price of $57.00 per share net to the seller in cash without interest, less brokerage fees and less any required withholding taxes, pursuant to the definitive merger agreement between Cisco and WebEx.