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News roundup: Vodafone goes to India, Jeremy Allison leaves Novell, and Ericsson does HSPA

Posted on 23-Dec-2006 12:09 by Juha | Filed under: News

Vodafone in the race to buy Hutchison Essar in India
Financial news wire services around the world are a-buzz with stories about Vodafone Plc looking to purchase a controlling two-thirds stake in Hutchison Essar in India.

Hutchison Essar is India's fourth-largest mobile operator with 18 million customers, and is valued according to some sources at US$13.5 billion. Vodafone's bid would be in the region of US$9 billion but the UK operator faces competing bids from India's Reliance Corporation, which is keen to buy the whole of Hutchison Essar.

Vodafone also holds a ten per cent stake in Bharti Airtel, the UK operator's current partner in India with which it has a non-compete deal as well.

The Hutchison Essar bid may have been behind rumours circulating in New Zealand lately, about Vodafone moving its call centre to India. Vodafone New Zealand was approached for comment on the rumour, but has so far not said anything officially. Sources: agencies

SAMBA developer waltzes out of Novell in protest against MS deal
Jeremy Allison of SAMBA has resigned from Novell according to an email published at Groklaw . Allison cites the Microsoft-Novell deal as the reason for quitting:
... this is due to the Microsoft/Novell patent agreement, which I believe is a mistake and will be damaging to Novell's success in the future. But my main issue with this deal is I believe that even if it does not violate the letter of the licence it violates the intent of the GPL licence the Samba code is released under, which is to treat all recipients of the code equally.

What's Allison going to do then? Well, Mary Jo Foley's got the scoop here: it's one in the eye for Microsoft, because Allison is joining arch-enemy Google in the new year.

Ericsson gets in early with HSPA
A press release arrived saying Ericsson has achieved "successful establishment of mobile data connections based on Enhanced Uplink in a commercial network." The Enhanced Uplink in question goes at 1.4Mbit/s and comes courtesy of HSPA or High-Speed Packet Access which in turn is HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) and HSUPA for the uplink combined.

Presumably for readability reasons, the 3GPP industry organisation decided not to to call the downlink/uplink upgrade combo "HSUPDA", and we should be grateful for that.

The theoretical download speed is said to be 14.4Mbit/s maximum for Ericsson's HSPA network.

Ericsson is the network equipment supplier for Telstra's cellular UMTS grid in Australia. Telstra has said it will hit 14.4Mbit/s by March next year. If Ericsson's trials in Italy are anything to go by, this may indeed happen.

In comparison, Vodafone will roll out a 7.2Mbit/s upgrade on the downlink early next year. Geekzone understands the upgrade is already being trialled in Auckland and equipment vendors Nokia and Huawei are jockeying to supply the gear, but no further details are available at the moment. Acting External Communications Manager Nic Igusa at Vodafone wouldn't comment on the 7.2Mbit/s upgrade when asked.