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Eurobites: STC moves into second phase of 5G rollout

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: a Q3 results frenzy, wherein operators battle against the headwinds of the coronavirus pandemic, and other stuff.

  • Saudi Telecom Company (STC) is about to embark on phase two of its 5G network rollout, which will reach more than 70 cities across the kingdom. The operator's infrastructure overhaul also sees the expansion of its FTTH network and an increase in the size of its content delivery systems to cope with the rise in generated content data.

  • Third-quarter group revenue at Swisscom fell 2.1% year-on-year, to 8.2 billion Swiss francs (US$8.9 million), while in its Swiss core business revenue slipped by 3.5%, which the operator attributes to a combination of "ongoing price pressure" and the impact of the pandemic. However, the decline in Swiss revenue was largely offset by "improved efficiency," claims Swisscom. The company's Italian offshoot, Fastweb, performed well, increasing broadband customer count by 3.6% to 2.7 million and mobile customers by 13.6% to reach 1.89 million.

  • It's a similar story at Hrvatski Telekom, the Croatian arm of Deutsche Telekom, where Q3 revenue fell 1% year-on-year to 1.99 billion Croatian kuna ($307 million), not helped by the lack of roaming income from summer-season tourists forced to stay away by the pandemic. Despite the prevailing uncertainties, the operator still expects to deliver on its revised outlook issued in Q2 2020.

  • Belgian cable operator Telenet saw Q3 revenue fall 2% year-on-year, to €637.9 million ($745.8 million), partly as a result of the divestment of its Luxembourg cable business. However, it did record 10,000 new broadband subscribers, 21,700 mobile postpaid net additions and 22,400 new FMC (fixed mobile convergence, or bundled) customers during the quarter, and it reaffirmed its 2018-2021 outlook.

  • Finland-based Teleste, which mainly supplies gear and services to European cablecos, is blaming the pandemic and the ongoing technological transformation of access networks for its Q3 troubles: Revenue fell 11.3% year-on-year to €35.7 million ($41.7 million), while operating income slumped 27.9% to €2.2 million ($2.5 million). In a statement, CEO Jukka Rinnevaara said: "The orders received in the access network products business … remained at a modest level as cable operators postponed their network updates due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing technological transformation."

  • Tele2 has appointed Mats Almgren as executive vice president of its B2B division and made him a member of its Group Leadership team. Almgren's previous experience includes stints at Telenor and TDC. He succeeds Fredrik Stenberg, who is leaving the company.

  • BICS, the international services arm of Belgium's Proximus, has signed a partnership deal with telematics software provider Gurtam to provide IoT-powered asset monitoring and fleet management to more than 200 countries across the world. The deal combines BICS' IoT network connectivity with Gurtam's GPS tracking and IoT platform, Wialon.

  • Athalos, the Netherlands-based provider of cloud voice services for fundraising organizations, has signed up to the i3forum, which describes itself as a non-profit industry body focused on telco transformation. The group's other members include AT&T, BICS, Colt and Orange.

  • Vodafone is showing its support for small businesses in the UK by teaming up with Enterprise Nation, a network that offers help to growing companies. Vodafone will sponsor and support Enterprise Nation's Heads Up initiative, a series of localized monthly business workshops, providing keynote speakers and assisting in content curation.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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