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Eurobites: Telefónica Teams Up with MTNEurobites: Telefónica Teams Up with MTN

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telekom Srbija to remain in state hands; Liquid starts new submarine job; Vivendi trash talks Telecom Italia; Proximus dismisses Orange rumors; STC bids for Viva.

Paul Rainford

December 14, 2015

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Telefónica Teams Up with MTN

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telekom Srbija to remain in state hands; Liquid starts new submarine job; Vivendi trash talks Telecom Italia; Proximus dismisses Orange rumors; STC bids for Viva.

  • Spain's Telefónica and South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. have joined forces in several areas under a new strategic partnership agreement. Expecting to realize major "synergies" through the tie-up, the telcos say they will collaborate on the development of services for multinational enterprise customers in each other's footprint, as well as on M2M technologies. They have also indicated they are in discussions about partnering on international wholesale activities, devices and network/IT procurement. Telefónica has formed similar tie-ups with other service providers through its Partners Program initiative. MTN, meanwhile, may be under pressure to reduce costs after recently being hit with a $3.9 billion fine in Nigeria, where it had failed to disconnect unregistered mobile-phone users, as instructed by the local regulator. (See Africa's Data Dilemma, Sunrise Teams With Telefonica and Telefonica Teams Up With Etisalat.)

    • Telekom Srbija a.d. is to remain a state-owned entity for the time being, as the Serbian government has rejected all eight non-binding bids it received for the 58% stake in the carrier it was offering for sale, reports Reuters. The value of the bids was not disclosed, but the government had been hoping to make around €1.4 billion ($1.54 billion) from the deal. It's the second time an attempted state sale of the carrier has failed -- in 2011 a bid of €1.1 billion from Telekom Austria was rejected by the previous Serbian government. Telekom Srbija employs around 8,600 people and recorded a net profit of 17.8 billion Serbian dinars ($158.2 million) in 2014.

    • Liquid Sea, a subsidiary of Liquid Telecom , has started work a 10,000km subsea cable link between Africa and the Middle East, with onward connectivity to Europe. The company claims the link will offer speeds in the range of 20-30 Tbit/s, which is up to ten times the capacity of existing subsea cables in the region, it says. It is expected the project will take two years to complete.

    • Vivendi CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine has trash-talked Telecom Italia ahead of a shareholder vote on Dec. 15 that could dilute Vivendi’s current 20% stake in the Italian operator, reports Reuters. Despite its large stake, Vivendi does not have any seats on the Telecom Italia board, which de Puyfontaine claims does not properly represent its shareholder base: The French media giant wants board representation but other shareholders are not keen, according to Reuters. Shareholders are set to vote Tuesday on a proposal to convert savings shares into regular shares, a move that would raise much-needed cash for Telecom Italia but which would dilute Vivendi’s stake to about 14%. (See Eurobites: Vivendi Spooks Telecom Italia Shareholders.)

    • In an interview with L’Echo, Dominique Leroy, the CEO of Belgium's national operator Proximus (formerly Belgacom), has rejected suggestions that the Belgian state will reduce its holding in Proximus below 50% and dismissed rumors that Orange (NYSE: FTE) has shown interest in acquiring the Belgian incumbent.

    • Saudi Telecom Co. (STC) is reported to have offered 1 dinar ($3.30) per share for the 74% of Kuwait's Viva it does not already own. According to a report from Reuters, the price represents a 9% discount to Viva's last closing price and triggered a slump in Viva's shares during Monday trading. STC is said to have insisted the offer represents a good deal based on Viva's share price during the past three months. Viva competes against incumbent Zain Group and Qatar's Ooredoo in the Kuwaiti market.

      — 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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