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Eurobites: Orange Returns to Form in France

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia's new direction; Transmode hits a bump; Telekom Austria sucks up spectrum in Slovenia.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s first-quarter results suggest the operator has turned a corner in France, as it recorded net sales of 86,000 mobile contracts there during the quarter, contrasting with all previous first quarters since 2010, which suffered a net loss in mobile contract numbers due to intense competition. Overall, however, revenues were down 3.8% year-on-year, to €9.8 billion (US$13.5 billion). EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was also down, by 3.4% to €3 billion ($4.1 billion). Growth is strong in Africa and the Middle East, with the mobile customer base in the region up 11.4% year-on-year. (See Orange Reports Q1.)

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) entered a new chapter today with the unveiling of a new structure, strategy and CEO, in the form of Nokia Networks boss Rajeev Suri. The vendor also announced its first quarter results. (See Nokia Ushers In New Era, Retires NSN Name and Rajeev Suri: The Right Choice for Nokia.)

  • Low volumes in the Americas dampened down the first-quarter numbers of Transmode Systems AB , the Swedish optical and Carrier Ethernet vendor. Revenues slipped 3.8% year-on-year to 231 million Swedish kronor ($35.3 million), while net profits were down 41.6% to SEK18.6 million ($2.8 million).

  • Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA)'s Slovenian subsidiary, Si.mobil d.d. , has acquired almost half of all the spectrum that was up for grabs in the country's latest auction, paying €63.9 million for the privilege. For full details of the auction results, see this press release.

  • Irish incumbent eir has appointed a pair of banking heavyweights to advise it on a possible stock market flotation, reports Reuters. Goldman Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley will explore various options for the operator, which has been trying to flatten its debt pile over the last couple of years. (See Lenders to Lean on Eircom.)

  • Still in Ireland, policy control specialist Openet Telecom Ltd. has announced an initiative to expand its channel program. The expanded program will support three types of channel partners: equipment vendors, systems integrators, and solution vendors. (See Openet: The Legal Brakes Are Off.)

  • A new mobile phone-based payments system comes on stream today in the UK, though some banks supposedly participating in the scheme aren't ready just yet, reports the BBC. The Paym service allows people to pay or receive money -- up to a certain limit -- using a phone number, but without giving out their bank account details.

  • You can't move for over-achievers at Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC): The Swedish vendor has had eight of its researchers nominated for the European Inventor Award for their work on 4G LTE. The nominations were made by the European Patent Office.

    A previous winner of the European Inventor Award.
    A previous winner of the European Inventor Award.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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