Light Reading

Euronews: Telefónica to Flatline, Says S&P

Paul Rainford

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) and TeliaSonera AB (Nasdaq: TLSN) are the big fish in today's trawl through the EMEA headlines.

  • The latest guidance issued by Standard & Poor’s for Telefónica does not make encouraging reading for the Spanish giant. "We anticipate high-single-digit drops in domestic revenue in 2012-2014 and overall low-single-digit declines in the rest of Europe, dragged down by intense price competition, particularly in the U.K.," says the ratings agency, though it does add that these will be offset by "more buoyant" Latin American markets, resulting in "flat consolidated revenues in 2012-2014." And just to confirm that times are indeed hard for los madrileños, Bloomberg reports that Telefónica is trying to sell two of its four private jets, possibly raising around $45 million for the cause. (See Telefónica Plans Regional IPOs and Euronews: Layoff Costs Tear Into Telefonica's Q3 .)

  • Three former Telekom Austria managers have been charged with share price manipulation by the Vienna prosecutors, reports Reuters, following a long-running probe into alleged corruption at the carrier. (See Telekom Austria Cites IPO Irregularities.)

  • TeliaSonera has appointed Mannheimer Swartling, a Swedish law firm, to investigate whether the Nordic operator's purchase of a 3G license in Uzbekistan involved any corruption or money laundering. The deal was the subject of a TV program in Sweden, which alleged that the transaction did not bear close scrutiny. (See TeliaSonera Launches Uzbek Review and Euronews: TeliaSonera Denies Bribery.)

  • British network planning and capacity management software systems specialist Aria Networks Ltd. has raised $1.1 million in a new round of funding that wil help it expand into Asia/Pacific and North America. The Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) vendor has won several Tier 1 carrier customers and claims to have been profitable during its most recent full financial year. (See Aria Raises Fresh Funding, Verizon, Aria Eye Network Future and Aria Tackles NGN Capacity Planning.)

  • The U.K.'s U.K. Department for Culture, Media and Sport has sacked a consultant for leaking contract details that suggest BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is inflating its charges to local councils for rolling out the country's high-speed broadband network, claims The Guardian. Mike Kiely, who had been acting as a broadband development consultant to the government department since 2010, sent a document to councils which revealed that prices for the installation of individual fiber cabinets, which could be as high as £30,000 ($48,000), included central and labor costs that were too high.

  • EE has confirmed that it is launching LTE services in the U.K. on Oct. 30, under the EE branding. In preparation for the great day, it has started selling three "4G-ready" phones, Samsung Corp. 's Galaxy SIII LTE, High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498)'s One XL and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. 's Ascend P1 LTE, with a fourth, the Samsung Galaxy Note II LTE, to follow on Oct. 15. (See EE's 4G Phones Go on Sale, EE Names the 4G Day, Euronews: Will UK Fast-Track 4G Auction? and Brits Braced for 4G .)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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