Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: new rules get tough on BT's Openreach; AlcaLu signs 4G overlay agreement with Telenor; UK studies how mobiles affect kids.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s full-year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) declined by 7.4% to £12.8 billion (US$21.5 billion), reflecting its "Project Spring" investment to turn around failing business areas, reports Bloomberg. Shares were down 4.4% at 207.6 pence in early London trading. Looking ahead, Vodafone predicts that EBITDA for 2015 will be somewhere between £11.4 billion ($19.1 billion) and £11.9 billion ($20 billion), buffeted again by anticipated Project Spring spending. (See Vodafone Ups 'Project Spring' Capex to $11B+.)
Just a day after BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) announced it was recruiting 1,600 extra engineers to help it cope with its backlog on connections and related troubleshooting, UK regulator Ofcom has introduced draft measures that it believes will persuade BT's Openreach access division to pull its socks up. Under the proposed changes, 80% of phone and broadband faults would have to be repaired within two working days, while 80% of customers wanting a new line must receive an appointment within 12 working days. The changes, which have been notified to the European Commission, are expected to come into force this summer.
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has signed a global agreement with Norway's Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) which offers Telenor's subsidiaries AlcaLu's 4G LTE Overlay solution as a way of deploying 4G on their existing mobile infrastructure without the need for equipment upgrades. Telenor has subsidiaries in 13 countries in Europe and Asia. In other AlcaLu news, Bloomberg reports that the vendor is opening a Bell Labs research center in Israel, the focus of which will be cloud-related technology.
The UK is about to embark on a major government-funded study of the effect of using mobile phones on children's mental development, reports the BBC. The plan is to enrol 2,500 11- and 12-year-olds, assess their cognitive abilities now and then test them again in 2017 to see if their brains have been fried by a zillion apps. (We're paraphrasing.)
It's too late for this kid -- he's been Whatzapped.
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