Fitch Ratings expects a year-on-year decline in the aggregate revenues of Western Europe's leading communications service providers (CSPs). The total revenues of the 18 CSPs it rates -- 12 incumbents and 6 competitive operators (including four cable firms) -- are forecast to dip by 1.3 percent to almost €328 billion (US$428 billion), while the total operating EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of the 18 companies are forecast to dip by 2 percent compared with 2012, to €106.9 billion ($139.4 billion). The Fitch team believes the incumbent telcos face the greatest pressure as a result of regulatory and competitive challenges, whereas the region's cable operators are showing superior "operational strength" compared with their telco rivals, helped by what Fitch describes as "superior network technology." For more, see this Fitch report (log-in required).
Telefónica is courting controversy with the appointment of Rodrigo Rato to the advisory board for its European and Latin American operations. As Reuters reports, Rato is one of a number of individuals under investigation for alleged fraud at Spanish financial institution Bankia, which was bailed out by the Spanish government in 2012.
The need to build out 4G and fiber access broadband connections in the highly competitive French market means SFR will maintain its annual capex budget at more than €1.5 billion ($1.95 billion), despite falling revenues caused by a price war, reports Reuters, citing Les Echos. (See Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene.)
Israel's Ministry of Communications intends to allocate 4G frequencies this year, according to a Globes report.