Vodafone completes the $130 billion sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless today. The closure of that mega-deal comes at the end of a week in telecoms which brought with it a couple of interesting M&A announcements, albeit on a smaller scale.
Facebook's US$19 billion acquisition of OTT messaging provider WhatsApp pales into insignificance compared with the Vodafone deal, but it is a sizeable sum of money to pay for a company that charges its users just $1 per year. That said, there are 450 million of them and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg insists the firm is on track to reach 1 billion.
Bharti Airtel did not tell us how much it will pay for Mumbai operator Loop Mobile, a move that will bring some much needed consolidation to India's mobile market. We expect to see more of that before the year is out.
Should rumours that Nokia is interested in buying Juniper Networks prove to be true, we will likely be talking sums in the tens of billions of dollars. Although there is no real evidence that a deal is on the cards at this stage, it makes sense that the Finnish firm would be looking to bulk up Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) following the divestment of its handsets business. NSN chief exec Rajiv Suri will address press and analysts at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday evening; maybe we'll get some clarity on the situation then.
Speaking of money and of MWC, many telecoms companies have spent a fair amount of the former in order to have a presence at the latter. And by this time next week, once the bar bills have been added into the mix, investment in the show will have reached eye-watering levels. With that in mind, here are Total Telecom's top tips for a productive MWC…or perhaps more accurately, for surviving a week in Barcelona.
• You are not Doctor Who. If you have a meeting in Hall 2 that ends at 9.58 and your next starts at 10.00 in Hall 8, there's a good chance you won't be on time. Similarly, "just popping across town" to an offsite meeting will take longer than you think. (And thanks to the very helpful @laracajones for the following idea: "MWC should really think about providing rollerblades to everyone." GSMA, what do you think?!)
• In a similar way, be prepared for time to speed up. Once you've picked up your badge, MWC week will flash by in the blink of an eye. If you have made any casual "let's catch up in Barcelona" arrangements, they probably won't happen. If it's not on the schedule, it doesn't exist.
• Eat. If there's food available, eat it, whether you're hungry or not. Between 9am and 6pm you never know where your next meal might come from. When you're twitching so hard that people think you're having a seizure, it's time to lay off the coffee and biscuits and find something more substantial.
• Don't buy cans of Estrella from the street sellers. Apart from the fact that they keep them cool by storing them in the manholes in the street, when it gets to the point at which all the bars are closed and a street vendor is the only remaining option, you've probably had enough anyway. Unless it's Thursday. By Thursday all bets are off.
• This tip is specifically aimed at journalists: If you want to annoy your fellow hacks, reserve a seat in the media room for an elusive colleague who has not been seen for four hours.
• By day three you may feel like the hollowed-out shell of a human being, but at least try to keep it together enough to project an image of composure. No-one wants to spend an hour in a hot meeting room with someone who looks and smells like they fell out of a bar at 7 o'clock in the morning and came straight to the Fira.
• Q&A sessions sometimes provide the most interesting insights into a particular subject. Unfortunately, some people consider it an opportunity to stand up and give the presentation that they would have given had they been in the speaker's shoes. For the sake of everything good in this world, do not venture into that second category.
• It goes without saying, but keep an eye out for pickpockets and thieves. If for some reason you feel you haven't had the real MWC experience without the feeling of being robbed blind, go and buy a sandwich from the kiosks on the show floor or hit one of the more touristy bars in town.
If you want to add to our Barcelona tips (there's almost certainly something we have forgotten) please feel free to post your own top pieces of advice in the comments section below.
And we'll see as many of you as possible out in Spain next week. Have fun!
Additional reporting by Nick Wood.