In Brief:Altice to pay EUR 80 mln competition fine for SFR takeover 

Altice has reached a settlement with the French Competition Authority, agreeing to accept a fine of EUR 80 million for ‘gun-jumping’ practices relating to the acquisition of SFR and Virgin Mobile in 2014. The announcement follows an inquiry investigating whether the companies involved had started cooperating on their commercial activities before being given the regulatory green light. Altice stated that it had agreed to a settlement in order to limit its financial exposure, given the level of penalties imposed for this type of procedural violation under the French Commercial Code.

***Turkcell has selected Ericsson as its partner to manage and operate its mobile and fiberoptic fixed network, which includes microwave links and covers all technologies from 2G to 4G LTE, continuing the long term partnership between the two companies. Ericsson is now Turkcell's exclusive managed services partner in the Marmara region, which includes Istanbul.As part of the agreement, Ericsson will undertake end-to-end engagement including operations, maintenance and expansion of Turkcell's mobile and fixed networks.

***China Unicom, the country’s second largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, has saved more than CNY2 billion (USD295 million) in CAPEX this year, as a result of its network sharing agreement with rival operator China Telecom. According to Mobile World Live Asia, the country’s second and third largest wireless players announced a strategic tie-up earlier this year, in a move that was seemingly designed to boost their respective competitive positions against runaway market leader China Mobile. In August the two companies said that they each expected to reduce CAPEX by as much as CNY3 billion this year by jointly building 4G base stations and a fibre-optic network. The report goes on to note that China Unicom has built 700,000 4G base stations since 27 February 2015, upgrading its entire network in 341 cities. The figures were revealed by China Unicom’s deputy general manager for its network construction department.

***Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica is reportedly planning to offload its final 1% stake in China Unicom, effectively terminating its long-term partnership with the Chinese cellco. The development was reported by El Economista, which cites a filing to the National Securities Market Commission (Comision Nacional del Mercado de Valores,CNMV).The report notes that the stake sale could generate around EUR270 million (USD299 million). Telefonica International holds roughly 1.00% of the company’s shares,having sold a 1.51% stake in July 2016 for HKD2.88 billion (USD371.45 million). The Spanish group had previously reduced its interest in Unicom from 5.01% to 2.51% in November 2014, when it sold a 2.50% stake for HKD6.66 billion.

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