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from Breakingviews:

Standalone Vodafone starts to look healthier

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By Quentin Webb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The standalone Vodafone is starting to look healthier. The mobile telecom operator will become dramatically smaller after it quits the United States and returns $84 billion to its shareholders. Elsewhere, its sales have been falling faster and faster. Now it looks like the worst is past and Vodafone hopes to ride a boom in mobile data. Yet for investors, the top question is what part the group will play in future M&A.

Vodafone has suffered from fierce competition and regulation, technological change that handed the advantage back to groups combining fixed and mobile services, and Europe’s economic slump. The latest quarterly results showed the group’s preferred sales measure, “organic service revenue,” falling again, by 4.8 percent.

This represents a scant 0.1 percentage-point improvement on the previous quarter, which was the worst since sales started declining in mid-2012. But this looks like an inflection point. Boss Vittorio Colao is confident that sales will pick up as smartphone-wielding, YouTube-watching customers power a surge in data usage.

from Counterparties:

A look at tech heading into CES

While most of the country works its way through a deep freeze (and really - it's just ridiculous, this cold), it's a bit more temperate in Las Vegas. That's where investors and enthusiasts - ok, 150,000 of them - are gathering for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, which features the usual healthy dose of tech bigwigs (Yahoo's Marissa Mayer, John Chambers of Cisco) and tons of others over the next few days.

One of the more interesting-sounding addresses involves innovation in mobile, where execs from AT&T, Qualcomm and Ericsson will talk up the ongoing growth and changing nature of the mobile markets, a sector that's bound to keep exploding around the globe.

from Expert Zone:

Indian telecoms at the crossroads again

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(The views expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not represent those of Reuters)

In the 18 years I have been working with Indian telecoms operators, I can recall several points where I felt the industry was at a crossroads in its evolution.

from Breakingviews:

MetroPCS owners can forget a standalone option

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By Robert Cyran and Jeffrey Goldfarb
The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

MetroPCS owners should forget about a standalone option. Dissident investors John Paulson and Peter Schoenfeld persuaded two proxy services that the cellphone operator is selling out on the cheap to rival T-Mobile USA and that independence is a better option. While the agitating may bring a sweeter bid, MetroPCS is unlikely to prosper or exist for long on its own.

from India Insight:

Telecom companies woo women with angel stores

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Walk into the Vodafone store in Mumbai's Prabhadevi neighbourhood, and it doesn't look any different from the others across India. It's crowded with customers waiting to pay their bills, lodge complaints and buy new mobile phone connections.

from Expert Zone:

Time to create a holistic mobile ecosystem

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

Mobile phones have transcended various phases of evolution since the time they began their journey. They have come a long way from being simple feature phones, which were meant for making calls and sending text messages.

from Expert Zone:

India to ring in 2013 in the mobile sector

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(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not those of Thomson Reuters)

For many of us in the mobile industry, 2012 has been a year with a lot to celebrate and a lot to be concerned about. Restrictions and regulations are growing. As we all know, that can cut both ways: too much regulation and we might see constraints on growth.

from Breakingviews:

China’s telco suppliers can’t escape spying row

By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Earning the trust of Americans is proving a Sisyphean task for Huawei. The Chinese telecom supplier has consistently fought reports of too-close ties to the People’s Liberation Army and undue influence from Beijing. Now a panel of U.S. congressmen has publicly labelled the employee-owned group and its rival ZTE a security threat. True or not, the accusation is a serious blow.

from The Great Debate:

Why your cell phone is ripe for spam texts in 2012

In the late 1970s, the cutting edge of communications technologies was the autodialer, a machine capable of calling up scores of people in one shot, with little human involvement. It was innovative, and annoying. By the early '90s, Congress had had enough. “Computerized calls,” railed South Carolina Democrat Fritz Hollings from the Senate floor, “are the scourge of modern civilization.”

And so, Congress legislated. But the focus was on commercial calls. Mindful of the free flow of speech and – let’s be honest – interested in self-preservation, lawmakers exempted political calls from its Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act. But Congress decided that some phones were too sensitive to get even autodialed political calls: those in hospitals, those designated for emergency purposes – and those in our pockets.

from David Cay Johnston:

Phone service for all, no matter what kind

The guarantee of landline telephone service at almost any address, a legal right many Americans may not even know they have, is quietly being legislated away in our U.S. state capitals.

AT&T and Verizon, the dominant telephone companies, want to end their 99-year-old universal service obligation known as "provider of last resort." They say universal landline service is a costly and unfair anachronism that is no longer justified because of a competitive market for voice services.

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