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Euronews: Royal Rumpus at Telefonica

Ray Le Maistre
8/29/2012

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA), KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), Bouygues Telecom , Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) are just some of the names in today's regional news melting pot.

  • The King of Spain's son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, has temporarily stepped down from his role as chairman of Telefónica International USA while he faces charges of embezzlement, reports Reuters. Urdangarin, whose recently-renewed contract at the Spanish operator is believed to come with an annual salary of €1.5 million (US$1.88 million), faces allegations that a sports charity he previously ran was involved in the misuse of millions of dollars of public funds. Is this the summer of scandal? (See Euronews: Summer Scandal Special.)

  • The growing influence of Carlos Slim is starting to show in Europe, where the two operators in which Slim's América Móvil invested earlier this year -- Telekom Austria and KPN -- are to discuss potential synergies, according to this Dow Jones report. (See Euronews: Slim Takes a Breather.)

  • Bouygues Telecom is the latest French operator to feel the impact of Iliad (Euronext: ILD)'s entry into the mobile market: It lost 450,000 customers during the first half of the year and saw its revenues drop by 7 percent as a result. The operator's parent company now expects its telecom division to generate full year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of €900 million ($1.13 billion), about 10 percent lower than previously forecast and 29 percent down on 2011. The company is also cutting 556 jobs to save money. See the full details in this earnings release. France's other operators have also been hit by Iliad's competitive offers. (See Euronews: FT's Q1 Suffers Free Fall, Euronews: AlcaLu Bites Into the Core and Euronews: Iliad Gets the All-Clear on Free Mobile.)

  • A one-time, non-cash $1.1 billion write down related to its operations in Uzbekistan resulted in a second quarter net loss for Russian operator MTS, but excluding that item the service provider reported better than expected operating results, reports Reuters. See this earnings release for all the numbers.

  • Ericsson's ConsumerLab has published a report on the potential impact of mobile commerce in sub-Saharan Africa, where, the vendor finds, service providers should focus on winning the trust of women, who tend to manage domestic finances.

  • Pat Rabbitte, Ireland's Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, will launch a National Broadband Plan for Ireland on Thursday Aug. 30. The plan will include details of how the Irish government will "reduce the burden of red tape for commercial investors in next generation broadband infrastructure" and "provide next generation broadband access in those areas of the country the market will not serve using commercial criteria alone."

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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