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Euronews: Nokia Nearly Junk

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) are under the heat lamp in today's regional roundup.

  • Is Stephen Elop beginning to wish he'd taken a gap year? Bloomberg reports that credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Nokia's senior debt rating to a level that is two grades above "junk" status. The company's plight might not be helped by comments from Pyramid Research analyst Stela Bokun reported Tuesday, who says that the smartphone side is the least of Nokia's worries -- it's the low end where the Finns are really up against it. (See Analyst: Nokia Faces Low-End Threat.)

  • U.K. cable operator Virgin Media reported overall revenue growth of 2.2 percent to £986 million (US$1.6 billion) in its second quarter, despite losing 36,000 subscribers over the period. The customers that it is picking up are tending to be bigger spenders, with around half of its new broadband subscribers opting for the company's 30MB a month tier, whereas only 18 percent of newbies opted for 20MB or above a year ago. (See Virgin Media Reports Q2 and Virgin Widens 100-Meg Footprint, Tests 1.5-Gig .)

  • Mobile giant Vodafone came under fire at its annual general meeting on Tuesday for allowing its networks initially to be used to send pro-government messages and then to be shut down during the spring uprising in Egypt. The Guardian reports that Access, the lobby group raising the issue, pointed to Bahrain, China and Malaysia as other countries where mobile operators will need to show some backbone in their dealings with the respective governments. (See Egypt Unplugs From the Internet and Euronews: Feb. 18.)

  • Not a great day for U.K. mobile joint venture EE : Its second-quarter results show a decline in revenue, from £1.7 billion ($2.8 billion) last year to £1.6 billion ($2.6 billion) this time round, as well as a net subscriber loss of 188,000 in the quarter. But is the ludicrously named operator donwhearted? No! Because it's got "synergy capture!" (See Everything Everywhere Shrinks in Q2 and Everything Everywhere Reports Q2.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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