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Euronews: Sales Down, Profits Up at BT

BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Hutchison 3G Austria GmbH , Elisa Corp. , TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) and Mobistar SA are the tasty snacks on today's regional news menu.

  • BT has reported a 5 percent year-on-year decline in fiscal third-quarter revenues to £4.77 billion (US$7.56 billion) but its operating profit leapt by 22 percent to £764 million ($1.2 billion), helped by tighter cost controls. The U.K. incumbent's marketing campaign for its Infinity fiber-to-the-cabinet/premises (FTTC/P) service appears to be paying off, as it added 95,000 new Infinity customers in the final three months of 2011, taking the total number to more than 400,000. BT's share price is up by 1.8 percent to 209.6 pence in Friday morning trading on the London Stock Exchange. (See BT Reports Fiscal Q3 Profit of £652M, BT Launches 100Mbit/s FTTH Service and BT Launches Infinity Broadband.)

  • BT also announced today that it has been trialing a fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP)-on-demand service in the south-west English county of Cornwall, where it has been laying a lot of new fiber. The concept is that households or businesses in an area that has been "FTTC-enabled" can request that the fiber running from the central office to the street cabinet be extended from the cabinet to their home/office, giving them an even faster service. BT aims to make the offer widely available by the middle of 2013, but there are no details about the cost of such an upgrade to the customer. BT is also planning to double the top downstream speed of its FTTC service to 80 Mbit/s in the coming months. (See BT Trials FTTP-on-Demand, BT Ramps Up Its FTTX Speeds and BT Preps 'Landmark' FTTC Investment.)

  • As expected, Hutchison 3G Austria is to buy Orange (NYSE: FTE)-controlled Orange Austria Telecommunication GmbH. in a deal valued at €1.3 billion ($1.7 billion). Hutchison already operates in Austria under the '3' brand, but is hoping to increase its share of the mobile market there through the acquisition. It will, though, have to sell some of the assets it is acquiring to incumbent operator Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA). France Telecom CEO Stéphane Richard has made clear his intention to dispose of unwanted European assets and focus instead on acquisitions in the Middle East and Africa. (See Euronews: France Telecom to Sell Euro Assets.)

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is to use Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Device Connection Platform to offer its enterprise customers M2M (machine-to-machine) services, with trials set for this month in advance of a commercial launch in the "summer" (whenever that is these days…). The Ericsson offering, developed using the Connexion platform acquired from Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) in August 2011, provides M2M capabilities on a software-as-a-service basis. Swisscom announced its excitement about M2M's potential in December last year. (See Swisscom Notes M2M Demand and Ericsson Closes Purchase of M2M Platform.)

  • Following the analysis of user behavior on networks using its hosted platform, Spanish cloud telephony specialist fonYou Telecom SL believes the introduction of cloud-based services can help communications service providers (CSPs) reduce churn and boost ARPU levels. (See fonYou Claims Cloud Can Counter Churn, fonYou Takes Telefonica to the App Store and Cell C Gets Cloudy With fonYou.)

  • Finnish operator Elisa has rounded off a cracking year with a good fourth quarter, raising pre-tax profits from €66 million ($87 million) to €72 million ($95 million) year-on-year, while full-year profits went from €197 million ($259 million) to €265 million ($349 million). Growth in its mobile subscriptions was a key factor in the happy numbers. (See Elisa Switches On LTE.)

  • Denmark's TDC grew its revenues by 0.5 percent in 2011 to 26.3 billion Danish Krone ($4.66 billion), while EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) for the full year grew by 1.6 percent to DKK10.9 billion ($1.93 billion). The company expects pretty much the same figures in 2012, though its EBITDA might be slightly lower. (See TDC Boosts Revenues in 2011.)

  • Belgium's Mobistar has introduced a customer self-care application that can run on the devices of its 4 million-plus customers. The deployment of the application, developed by Dutch customer experience management solutions specialist Momac , is intended to grow ARPU rates, reduce operating costs and prevent bill shock for users, who can see a dashboard showing their current service and application usage levels and details of new bundles that are available. (See Mobistar Uses Momac's SPIT System.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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