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Eurobites: Virgin Media O2 cuts 2,000 jobs to 'better deliver' for its customers

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Cellnex bags EIB loan to drive 5G rollout; Ooredoo, Zain discuss towers joint venture; América Móvil ups Austrian interest.

Paul Rainford

July 25, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Virgin Media O2 cuts 2,000 jobs to 'better deliver' for its customers
(Source: Maureen McLean/Alamy Stock Photo)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Cellnex bags EIB loan to drive 5G rollout; Ooredoo, Zain discuss towers joint venture; América Móvil ups Austrian interest.

  • Converged UK operator Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) is to cut up to 2,000 jobs by the end of the year, claiming in familiar corporate-speak that the move forms part of a plan that will "simplify" its operating model and allow it to "better deliver" for its customers. The news comes as the operator announced its second-quarter results, which revealed that 15,300 broadband customers had (in net terms) left during the period, while 1,500 mobile customers had also departed for pastures new. Despite these customer losses, VMO2 still managed to record a Q2 transaction-adjusted revenue increase of 6.2% year-over-year, to £2.71 billion (US$3.47 billion), while transaction-adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) rose by 4.6%, to £1.01 billion ($1.29 billion).

  • Cellnex, the Spain-based towers giant, has secured a €315 million ($348 million) loan from the European Investment Bank to support the rollout of 5G in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Poland. According to Cellnex, the loan will unlock a total investment of €631 million ($697 million) to improve mobile coverage and capacity in both urban and rural areas. The project will include improvements that allow the infrastructure to be shared by multiple operators, fiber rollout to connect towers to each operator's network, distributed antenna systems to increase basestation capacity and the use of renewable energy in some basestations.

  • In other tower news, Middle Eastern operators Ooredoo and Zain have entered into negotiations with TASC Towers Holding to create an independent joint venture comprising up to 30,00 towers in Qatar, Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq and Jordan. If the deal goes ahead, the new partnership will be the largest towerco in the MENA region.

  • América Móvil, the telco owned by renowned Mexican moneybags Carlos Slim, has increased its overall stake in Telekom Austria by 5.55%, to 56.55%. Telekom Austria isn't América Móvil's only European interest; it also owns a 16.08% stake in KPN, the Dutch incumbent operator. (See Euronews: Austria Braced for Slim Bid.)

  • Germany plans to invest around €20 billion ($22 billion) in its own semiconductor industry to avoid potential supply chain issues, according to a Reuters report. The German economic ministry said that the money will be drawn from the Climate and Transformation Fund from next year onwards. It added that Taiwanese chip giant TSMC had expressed an interest in investing in a semiconductor production plant in Germany and that talks with the company were ongoing.

  • EE, the mobile subsidiary of BT, has been named the UK's best mobile network for the tenth year in a row in a report from Rootmetrics, an independent testing company. Rootmetrics conducted 538,780 tests across every region of the country in the last six months, including every major city and more than 24,000 miles of roads. EE's UK-wide median download speed (65.1 Mbit/s) was found to be nearly twice as fast as any other operator and four times faster than Virgin Media 02.

  • Spotify, the Swedish-owned music streaming platform, is raising its prices in many of its global territories for the first time in more than ten years, the The Verge reports. Many European countries are affected by the increase, though not Germany or Spain, for some reason. In the UK, for example, an individual Premium (ad-free) plan will now cost £10.99 a month (up from £9.99), Duo will cost £14.99 (up from £13.99), Family will cost £17.99 (up from £16.99), and the price of a student plan will remain the same, at £5.99.

— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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