Euronews: Limited Release for New iPad

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), the European Cable Communications Association (Cable Europe) and French operator Iliad (Euronext: ILD) (Free) are the frontrunners in today's regional news race.

  • Four European countries will be among the first markets to get Apple's "new iPad" (also known as, but not officially called, iPad 3). The LTE-enabled device, which can now be pre-ordered following its unveiling late Wednesday, will go on sale March 16 in France, Germany, Switzerland and the U.K., along with a number of select international markets. In the U.S. the lowest price is US$499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi only model, while the same version costs £399 ($631) in the U.K. (See Apple Intros First 4G LTE iPad.)

  • Europe's cable services sector grew in value by 7 percent in 2011 to be worth €19.9 billion ($26.3 billion), according to industry association Cable Europe. Revenues had grown by 6 percent in 2010 and 3 percent in 2009. The number of cable broadband subscribers across the region grew by 10 percent year-on-year to 25.4 million. (See Euro Cable Sector Grows 7%.)

  • French alternative operator Iliad (Free) saw its broadband subscriber base rise to 4.85 million by the end of 2011, while its revenues grew 4 percent year-on-year to €2.12 billion ($2.8 billion). But the company's profits dipped 20 percent to €252 million ($333 million). Iliad says it will continue to invest in fiber-based broadband access infrastructure this year and intensify its mobile network rollout, with the aim of having 2,500 mobile sites around France by the end of 2012. (See Euronews: Iliad Gets the All-Clear on Free Mobile and Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene .)

  • Fitch Ratings Ltd. has been voicing its concerns over the short-term prospects for operators in southern Europe, reports Reuters, with the economic mayhem in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy putting the brakes on data revenue growth. Even in comparatively perky northern Europe, adds Fitch, data revenue growth is not fully compensating for the decline in voice revenues. (See Euronews: Vodafone Suffers in Southern Europe, Euronews: Telefónica's Profits Halved and Euronews: S&P Cuts Telefonica's Rating.)

  • The mobile money joint venture announced in 2011 by Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) and EE has submitted its plans to Brussels for consideration by the European Commission , reports The Guardian. However, rival operator Three UK is still not happy about being left out in the cold on the project, as the Financial Times explains (subscription required). (See UK Operators Form Mobile Money JV.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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