American telecoms giant Verizon is set to take full control of its wireless business by reaching an agreement to buy Vodafone's 45 per cent stake. In a short statement, Vodafone said today that talks to sell the company's stake in Verizon Wireless are at an "advanced" stage. The deal will be worth $130 billion (£83 billion) in common stock and cash, the company added. The huge sum will be the third biggest business deal of all time. Despite Vodafone being a British company, controversially, not a penny of tax on the historic sum will be paid in the UK, as the holding company for the firm's US group is registered in the Netherlands.
BT has today switched off its dial-up Internet service, stating that it is a "legacy product" that is used by a "tiny number of customers". The vast majority of those affected will be able to switch over to broadband which will also be cheaper, the firm said. Around 1,000 of BT's current customers living in the most rural areas will not be able to switch over to broadband, however. These will be given the option of switching over to Plusnet's dial-up service, which is also cheaper than what BT currently offers. "No one is being left without the option of an alternative service," BT said in a statement. Plusnet currently offers a 'narrowband' dial-up connection for remote areas that the UK's broadband network does not reach. According to Ofcom's figures, around 800,000 people still used dial-up to get online in 2010.
BlackBerry could survive as a niche smartphone maker, Bert Nordberg, a member of the BlackBerry board has told the Wall Street Journal. Nordberg also said he believed the company should sell off at least some of its parts and reiterated that the board is still open to an outright sale, as well as any partnership opportunities. He did not give a suggestion as to which parts should be sold off though. Nordberg joined the ailing smartphone maker's board in February and is currently a member of the firm's special committee tasked with exploring "strategic alternatives" that could result in an outright sale. The committee was formed at the start of August, but no word on potential buyers or partners has yet been made public by the firm.
Finally, just before we catch our flights to Germany, we have launched our comprehensive live coverage of IFA 2013. Make sure you follow this page like a hawk, as we'll be updating it with everything that happens as soon as it happens. We promise that what happens in Berlin will not stay in Berlin. On that front, check out our roundup of the best rumours about Samsung's new Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Galaxy Gear smartwatch before they launch this week.