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Eurobites: Drahi Retakes Control at Altice as Combes Steps Down

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: mixed Q3 fortunes at Telecom Italia; Tele2 gets into electric cars; Gemalto's IoT module; compensation ahoy for cheesed-off UK landline customers.

  • Patrick Drahi has returned to active management of France-based Altice and been appointed president of the board of the acquisitive cable operator following the resignation of CEO Michel Combes after little more than year in the job. Dexter Goei is to replace Combes, while still heading up Altice USA . As Bloomberg reports, Altice issued a profit warning on November 2 that has thoroughly spooked investors, with a third being wiped off the company's value in a week. In a statement, the company said that Drahi will "set out the strategic, operational, commercial and technological agenda for the group and its execution, including in particular SFR Group." Drahi founded Altice in 2001, building the business organically and through acquisition to the point that it now serves more than 50 million customers across ten territories. (See Altice to Slash 2017 Capex Despite US FTTH Plan, French Rivalry and Altice Takes M&A Route to Impose New Strategy.)

  • Revenues at Telecom Italia (TIM) rose 1.3% year-on-year in the third quarter, though EBITDA fell 2.5%, to €2.09 billion (US$2.43 billion). Domestically, growth was affected by the introduction of new EU roaming rules in June. Looking ahead, the company warns that the launch of new procedures by Italy's competition authority relating to the development of ultra-broadband and fiber networks could negatively impact its expansion plans.

  • Nordic operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) has teamed up with Uniti, a Swedish company that is developing a connected electric city car. Tele2 will provide the connectivity for the car, which is made from recyclable carbon fiber and boasts an "organic composite" interior. It is hoped that Uniti will make its debut on Sweden's roads in 2019.

  • In related territory, Gemalto is targeting the Industrial Internet of Things with what it claims is the world's first "all-in-one" cellular IoT module. The Cinterion PLS62-W delivers global LTE on 12 bands plus multi-band 3G and 2G coverage from a single device.

  • Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) says it has successfully completed a live BSS deployment at MTN Group Ltd. 's Ivory Coast business, replacing a number of legacy platforms with its more up-to-date offerings. In addition, the Swedish vendor has also deployed its Converged Wallet Mobile Money platform.

  • Following a consultation on the matter, UK regulator Ofcom is to implement a system of compensation for landline and broadband customers who have been let down in one way or another by their provider. If a customer's landline or broadband has not been fixed within two working days of loss of service, they will be entitled to £8 ($10.55) in compensation for each calendar day that their service is not repaired; if an engineer does not turn up for a scheduled appointment, or cancels with less than 24 hours' notice, the customer will be entitled to £25 ($33); and if the provider promises to start a new service on a particular date but fails to do so, the customer is entitled to £5 ($6.60) for each calendar day of delay. The likes of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) have been warned…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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