Vodafone venture, Intel sparks chip war and 3G faces Finnish challenge

The Times brings us news today of Vodafone's latest venture. The British mobile giant is preparing to invest £1.7bn for a 15 per cent stake in Japan Telecom, giving it a majority stake in subsidiary J-Phone.

The Times brings us news today of Vodafone's latest venture. The British mobile giant is preparing to invest £1.7bn for a 15 per cent stake in Japan Telecom, giving it a majority stake in subsidiary J-Phone.

The move would take Vodafone into the heart of the coveted Japanese market - Japan Telecom being the country's third largest telecoms group - but also make it an uncomfortable bedfellow with BT, which lays claim to a 20 per cent share in J-Phone. The deal is expected to be confirmed before Santa starts his rounds... Intel is piling pressure on its competitors, reports the Financial Times, and will today unveil the world's tiniest transistor on a chip. Coming years could see Intel producing microprocessors containing 400 or more transistors, leaving far behind the mere 42 of its current Pentium 4, allowing for developments such as real-time spoken language translation. Leaving far behind, too, competitors and prompting a race to better the Intel effort. A Manchester-based provider of telecoms equipment, Power X Networks, is set to be a beneficiary of the chip giant, reports The Times. Power X today expects to sign a deal with Intel worth up to $100m in added revenue. The two intend to collaborate on technology for handling communications traffic on broadband fibre-optic networks... Controversial 3G licences are ever more contested and now face a Finnish challenge. The Times has a tale of Professor Hannu Karu who has developed software he claims allows licenceless companies to launch internet services in major cities. Pros and cons of the next-generation aside, one of Finland's largest internet operators, Jippii Group, has already adopted Karu's software, provisionally called Dynamics HUT Mobile IP... Finally, from The Financial Times, two developments to watch for this week. First, Lastminute.com may see early investors selling-out as lock-up extensions agreed in September expire. Second, the FTC is expected to vote on Thursday on the proposed AOL/Time Warner merger, the outcome causing much speculation as it remains unclear which way the commission will sway...