Telefonica’s E-Plus takeover will get scrutiny at EU level, antitrust chief confirms

European competition chief Joaquin Almunia has reiterated his wish that his department examine Telefonica(s tef)’s proposed takeover of KPN’s E-Plus, which would create Germany’s largest network by subscriber count. Almunia said a week ago that he doesn’t want to leave the case in the hands of the German national regulator due to Telefonica and KPN’s size and importance at the EU level. On Friday, he added that the Commission would “likely continue to assess [mergers such as O2/E-Plus] on the basis of national markets — at least for some time.”

4G Coming to Sweden: 2 Carriers Team Up to Deploy LTE by 2010

Telenor Sweden and Tele2 Sweden said today they will share spectrum and build a joint Long Term Evolution 4G network in Sweden with an eye to having it up and running by the end of 2010. The timing means Sweden will get LTE around the same time Verizon Wireless deploys it in the U.S. and NTTDoCoMo offers it in Japan. The two Swedish carriers will be equal partners in the joint venture, which also comprises spectrum-sharing in the 900MHz and 2600MHz frequency bands.
Such network-sharing is becoming more common because the costs associated building out networks are high, and because regulations in some parts of the world are making it more difficult to locate a lot of equipment in places where people desire coverage.  Read More about 4G Coming to Sweden: 2 Carriers Team Up to Deploy LTE by 2010

Google Beefs Up Contacts, Makes it Good-Enough for Now

mergeFebruary’s onslaught of Google (s GOOG) service improvements continues with four new additions to the still fairly weak Contacts application in Gmail. Two features focus on cleaning up your contact data, which is key. Now that Google will sync Contacts over-the-air to handsets, we needed to see some effort in basic contact management. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen duplicates. You can now merge contact info by multi-selecting and choosing to merge the data into one record. (You’d be surprised to know how many James Kendricks there really are according to Google Contacts!) Removing people from the “My Contacts” group is finally here as well and should also cut down on unnecessary data syncing between you and Google.

There’s a new “All Contacts” group, which honestly should have been there from the beginning. Lastly, you can search contact records by more than name or e-mail fields: phone numbers, notes and mailing addresses are all searchable as well.

These basic updates combined with the new Google Sync support now have me using Google (s GOOG) as my sole book of record for contacts. I’m making more of an effort to embrace the cloud again since we had our fireside chat about email clients vs. email on the web. I am a little concerned about how flimsy the Contacts application is, but it is, in fact, getting better. Adding to my concerns is today’s news that Nokia lost three weeks worth of data from Ovi users.

I add most contacts through Gmail to begin with so the Contacts bit makes sense for me. Just to be safe, I’ve set a weekly reminder in my Google Calendar to export my Contacts to a .csv file.

Coming Soon, Fiber to All of the Netherlands

[qi:046] KPN and FTTH operator Reggefiber say theyare planning to roll out a fiber-to-the-home network that could cost as much as 7 billion euros. The network might take up to seven years to build out and is going to cover pretty much every part of the Netherlands. KPN, which is the incumbent in the region, wants to acquire 41 percent of Reggefiber, a decision that is pending approval. James Enck thinks the Dutch fiber movement is taking off because of a “forward-looking and pragmatic incumbent,” the fading of cable, and the presence of people who get its importance.

Errata: KPN, Reggefiber & AMS-IX

Earlier this week I posted a short two line piece about Dutch telephone company KPN acquiring 41% stake in Reggefiber, suggesting that as a result KPN had bought into Amsterdam Internet Exchange. KPN bought a piece of the company to get into the FTTH business. Subsequent emails and comments by Rudolf van der Berg, a Dutch management consultant and Job Witteman, CEO of Amsterdam Internet Exchange aka AMS-IX (not AIE as I had written) pointed out that AMS-IX is a member association and my assertion was wrong. The error caused by misunderstanding of the situation is regretted.