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Euronews: BT Ramps FTTx Rollout

BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), eir , Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) lead the way in today's parade of EMEA news headlines.

  • BT is trumpeting the fact that its commercial fiber rollout is ahead of schedule -- at least 18 months ahead of schedule, according to the operator. It now confidently predicts that two thirds of all U.K. business premises will be passed by its fiber during spring 2014. BT might not be shouting quite so much about its fiscal second-quarter financials, which saw revenues down 9 percent year-on-year to £4.5 billion (US$7.2 billion), a slide partly attributed to "rain," according to the Financial Times. (Rain in the U.K. -- who could have seen that coming?) The fall in revenues led BT to revise its outlook for full-year revenues -- it had previously predicted an improvement on last year's 1.9 percent decline in full-year revenues, but now does not expect to see any such improvement. Cost-cutting at the carrier, however, helped BT to a 7 percent year-on-year rise in pre-tax profits, to £608 million ($983 million). (See BT Boasts Speedy FTTx Rollout, BT Reports Dip in Q2 Revenues and Euronews: BT May Cut Sales Forecast.)

  • Talking of cost-cutting, debt-laden Eircom will have ratcheted up the winter gloom for many in Ireland with the announcement that it now plans to cut 2,000 jobs over the next 18 months, reports Reuters. This doubles the original number of envisaged job losses, and shrinks the overall workforce by around a third. (See Lenders to Lean on Eircom.)

  • And there are more jobs cuts to report, this time in Switzerland, where incumbent Swisscom has warned that next year 100 managerial positions will go, along with 300 jobs which are governed by collective labor agreement. The operator maintains, however, that next year it will also create around 300 jobs in "growth areas." (See Swisscom Announces Job Losses (& Gains) and Swisscom Reaps Revamp Rewards.)

  • Ericsson has announced an M2M (machine-to-machine) partnership with Russian mobile operator MegaFon , which will see the Swedish vendor deploying its cloud-based Device Connection Platform to allow MegaFon to manage connected devices and machines for enterprises. (See Ericsson, MegaFon Team on M2M.)

  • U.K. satellite broadcaster Sky is feeling quite pleased with itself after posting adjusted fiscal first-quarter operating profits up 5 percent year-on-year to £310 million ($500 million). It pulled in new audiences with its coverage of golf's Ryder Cup, while Andy Murray's exploits at the U.S. Open also did it a favor, viewers-wise. On the Internet access front, it has overtaken TalkTalk to become the U.K.'s third-largest broadband provider, behind BT and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) -- at the end of September BSkyB had more than 4.1 million broadband customers.

  • Sir Richard Branson, the U.K.'s celebrity entrepreneur and the man behind Virgin Mobile Telecoms Ltd. , has told Reuters that he is talking to Russian mobile companies with a view to setting up an MVNO agreement with a local partner. A word of warning to the local partner, though: Sir Richard may insist on appearing in your TV adverts.

  • Danish operator TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) kept its end up in a fiercely competitive market, seeing its third-quarter revenues decline 0.3 percent year-on-year to 19.6 billion Danish Kroner ($3.4 billion), according to 4-Traders.

  • There's no love lost between French mobile operators SFR and Free Mobile , and just to hammer the point home Telecompaper reports that SFR has sued Univers Freebox, a news website owned by an association of Free customers, for alleged defamation. The article in question accused SFR call center staff of contacting Free customers with Turkish or Arab-sounding names to tell them that Free would no longer include calls to Turkey and Morocco in its flat-rate tariff and that they would be better off joining SFR.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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