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Euronews: FT's Q1 Suffers Free Fall

Orange (NYSE: FTE), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Vivendi top the bill in today's trot through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • The impact of Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s arrival on the French mobile market with its low-cost Free brand can clearly be seen in France Telecom's first-quarter results, with the number of France Telecom's mobile subscribers on the operator's home turf dropping by 193,000 year-on-year. Revenues in France were also down, by 4.2 percent year-on-year, though the financial effects of regulatory measures partly account for that figure. Group revenues as a whole were down 1.8 percent year-on-year at €5.40 billion (US$7.08 billion), though Spain surprisingly bucked the trend, up 2 percent. (See Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene , Euronews: FT Commits to LTE Rollout and Euronews: Iliad's Clogging Our Network, Says FT.)

  • Nokia's outgoing chairman, Jorma Ollila, has been confirming to the Financial Times (subscription required) that the shrinking handset giant is planning to continue its fightback through the launch of tablets and other "hybrid devices." Separately, Nokia has filed claims in the U.S. and Germany alleging that devices from High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), BlackBerry and ViewSonic Corp. infringe a number of its patents. The patents in question relate to hardware functions such as dual function antennas, power management and multimode radios, as well as to software features including app stores, multitasking and navigation. (See Nokia: How Low Will It Go? , Nokia Sues HTC, RIM, Viewsonic, Nokia Loses Its Mobile Crown and Euronews: Nokia Working on 'Stand Out' Tablet.)

  • Meanwhile, back in France, Vivendi has appointed Michel Combes -- currently CEO of Vodafone Europe -- as CEO of its mobile subsidiary, SFR . Like France Telecom, SFR has had its work cut out in the face of competition from Iliad's Free. (See Euronews: Vivendi Vexed Over Free Ride.)

  • Harald Norvik, chairman of the board of directors at Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), has resigned in response to what he saw as a lack of confidence in his abilities on the part of the Norwegian government, which is the majority shareholder in the operator. The decision follows problems at Telenor's TV2 subsidary earlier this year. (See Euronews: Telenor Wants Its Money Back.)

  • EE , the joint venture between Orange UK and T-Mobile (UK) , has launched a trial of Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Cumbria, a county in northern England. The trial will use already-available spectrum and can be seen as part of CEO Olaf Swantee's controversial push to be granted a "head start" on LTE ahead of the U.K.'s 4G spectrum auction scheduled to take place towards the end of 2012. (See Britain's Bloomin' LTE .)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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