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Business Transformation

Eurobites: Optimism Stages a Comeback

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone signs small cells deployment deal with JCDecaux; Deutsche Telekom's IPO backlash; Sky's rethink on Now TV.

The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) has spotted the green shoots of recovery in the European telecom industry, predicting in a new report that 2016 will see revenues will return to the positive after years of decline. The report, prepared for ETNO by think-tank Idate , predicts 1% growth in telecom services revenues in 2016, compared to a year-on-year 4% decline in 2013 and an estimated 1.8% decline in 2014. ETNO's chairman, Luigi Gambardella, is seeking to use the report's findings as a catalyst for regulatory reform, saying in a statement: "The time for reform is now … We need to encourage this expectation with a new regulatory and policy framework." The report chimes with the mood at this week's Light Reading 2020 Executive Summit in Iceland, which found that service providers are feeling upbeat about the next five years. (See 2020 Vision: A First View.)

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has followed in the footsteps of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) by signing a global agreement with JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising giant, to deploy small cells on street furniture and billboards. The agreement follows a successful trial in Amsterdam, where more than 160 small cells have been installed on bus shelters managed by JCDecaux. The deployments will form part of Vodafone's ongoing Project Spring investment program. (See Eurobites: Vodafone's 'Project Spring' Spend Hits Profits.)

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) may have to stump up millions of euros in damages to aggrieved shareholders following a judgment in Germany's supreme court, reports Reuters. The court ruled that Deutsche Telekom failed to adequately inform potential investors buying shares in its 2000 IPO of the full facts about the company, in response to a case brought by 17,000 shareholders who claimed €80 million (US$99 million) in damages to make up for losses incurred by their investments in the IPO. The case has now been referred back to a regional court.

  • Sky , the UK triple-play provider, is considering withdrawing its Now TV streaming service from YouView set-top boxes used by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and TalkTalk in a dispute about how much it costs Sky to make its service available on those platforms and YouView's failure to implement the latest technology, reports the Daily Telegraph. YouView's contract with Sky comes up for renewal in August 2015.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has teamed up with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop innovations in mobile health (mHealth) applications that will help provide treatment and care for people in developing countries across Africa. It is envisaged that healthcare workers in the field will be able to use such applications to, among other things, monitor a mother’s pregnancy from a distance.

  • The UK is a frontrunner in the European broadband stakes, according to the latest piece of research from UK regulator Ofcom . The International Communications Market Report (ICMR) 2014 finds that the UK has the highest coverage of "superfast" broadband among Europe's five leading economies, with nearly eight out of 10 UK homes able to access a connection offering them downlink speeds of 30 Mbit/s or above. The UK also tops the European charts in terms of ownership of smart TVs, with 22% of consumers having parted with their cash for an Internet-connectable set (though 16% of those purchasers haven't actually connected their new sets to the Internet).

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has made its services available to 44,000 more homes in north-west England and south-west Scotland, following its incorporation of the network previously operated by Smallworld Fibre. Virgin, which is now owned by Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), claims its national infrastructure now passes more than half of all UK homes.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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