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Euronews: Nokia, Sony Ericsson Under Pressure

Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications , Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) loom large in today's jog through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • No wonder Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) is getting out … mobile handset vendor Sony Ericsson reported a fourth-quarter net loss of €207 million (US$266.5 million) on revenues of €1.29 billion ($1.66 billion), down 15.7 percent compared with a year earlier. It noted that its financials were impacted by "unfavorable macro economic conditions and effects from the flooding in Thailand." The vendor, which is now focused on its Xperia smartphone portfolio, shipped 9 million devices in the quarter compared with 11.2 million a year earlier. Ericsson, which still owns half the company, said its fourth-quarter operating income will take a SEK 1.1 billion ($161 million) hit as a result of Sony Ericsson's losses. Ericsson, which reports its fourth-quarter results on Jan. 25, expects the sale of its stake in Sony Ericsson to be completed within the next few weeks. (See Sony Ericsson Reports Q4 Loss, Euronews: Sony Buys Ericsson Out of Handsets and Sony Ericsson Intros Devices at CES.)

  • Nokia is coming under pressure from U.K. mobile operators to reduce the suggested retail price of its Lumia 710 Windows Phone, which is about to hit stores in Britain following its launch in the U.S. and other select markets, according to a report in the Financial Times. Nokia's flagship Windows Phone, the high-end Lumia 800, was launched with great fanfare before Christmas but is widely thought to have failed to set the mobile world alight, sales-wise. (See Euronews: Crunch Time for Nokia's Lumia and Nokia Ships First Windows Phone to Europe .)

  • The patent infringement case brought by Alcatel-Lucent against Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has been dismissed after both companies mysteriously asked for the case to be brought to an end, reports Bloomberg. The case centered on technology used in Microsoft Outlook and two other applications. (See Patent Fun With AlcaLu.)

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) and Vodafone España S.A. have managed to persuade the Spanish telecom regulator to allow them to postpone payment of €40 million (US$51.5 million) in taxes ringfenced to fund public broadcaster RTVE, reports Telecompaper (subscription required), citing Cinco Dias. The new taxes, equivalent to 0.9 percent of telcos' gross revenue, were introduced to make up for the revenue lost by the broadcaster when advertising was phased out on RTVE. Understandably, the two operators plan to explore all legal avenues open to them to avoid having to make the payment.

  • Improved access to high-speed fixed and mobile connections is the "top investment priority for UK businesses," according to the results of a survey of 5,000 British companies carried out on behalf of Virgin Media Business Ltd. by LM Research. (See Virgin Media Biz Surveys the UK.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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