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Euronews: SFR Drags Vivendi Down

Paul Rainford

Vivendi, BT Group plc and Vodafone Group plc rule the roost in Tuesday's chicken coop of EMEA news.

  • Problems at mobile subsidiary SFR were largely blamed for a 13.6 percent slump in full-year profits at Vivendi to €2.55 billion (US$3.33 billion). SFR has struggled to compete with Free Mobile, the cut-price brand launched by Iliad in early 2012. (See Vivendi FY Profits Down 13.6% and Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene.)
  • There's potential bad news for BT as U.K. regulator Ofcom submits plans to regulate the carrier's wholesale leased line services to the European Commission. According to an Ofcom statement, BT has been found to have "significant market power" in this sector.
  • Neelie Kroes, the European Commission's vice president for the Digital Agenda, has her eye on Spain, which is planning to merge its telecom regulator with other government agencies in a cost-cutting exercise, reports Reuters. The Commission's fear is that the merger could undermine the independence of the regulator, and legal action against Spain could be on the cards.
  • Speaking on the sidelines at Mobile World Congress, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao has been insisting that the operator would not have to sell its stake in Verizon Wireless before making further investments in Europe, Reuters reports.
  • Smartphones in space: It isn't as cool as pigs in space, but then what is? Those cra-zeee researchers at the U.K.'s University of Surrey have blasted (from India) a smartphone into orbit, to test out the old adage that "in space, no-one can hear you scream." As the BBC reports, the phone will play out a series of pre-loaded screams and see if anything happens. On a more useful note, the launch will also test the durability of the phone's components. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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