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Euronews: Telefónica to Seek UK IPO?

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF), Naguib Sawiris and Qatar Telecom QSC (Qtel) start the week in today's twirl through the EMEA headlines.

  • Analysts are expecting Telefónica to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in its U.K. mobile unit, Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), within the first six months of 2013, according to a Daily Telegraph report. The move would represent another assault on Telefónica's debt mountain, which stood at US$75.4 billion prior to the IPO launched for its German unit in October. (See Euronews: Telefónica Firms Up German IPO and Telefónica Plans Regional IPOs.)

  • Weather, the investment company headed by Egyptian telecom billionaire Naguib Sawiris, has put in a bid for $5 billion in compensation from the Algerian government for what Sawiris sees as the state's campaign of harassment of and interference with Djezzy GSM , the Algerian operator in which Weather owned a major stake. The claim, reports the Financial Times, has been brought before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID), which is part of the World Bank. (See Euronews: April 15.)

  • QTel, Qatar's state-owned operator, has hinted that it may be interested in acquiring a controlling stake in Morocco incumbent Maroc Telecom, reports Arabian Business. (See Pyramid: Three's a Crowd in Morocco.)

  • Having to set money aside to pay a $55 million fine from the South African competition regulator partly helps explain an 80 percent slump in half-year profits year-on-year at Telkom, reports Reuters. Declining fixed-line revenues were also cited as a reason for the disappointing numbers.

  • Concerns are being raised about the way MegaFon is approaching its planned IPO. See this Observer opinion piece to see why investors might be nervous about the stock offer.

  • U.K. regulator Ofcom has announced plans to release further spectrum in the 700MHz band -- which is currently used for digital TV -- to help Britain's mobile infrastructure cope with the data deluge. It has also released figures showing that, compared with last year, twice as much data is being consumed over the U.K.'s mobile networks: 20 million GBytes is the current monthly figure, more than twice the volume recorded a year ago. (See Ofcom to Release 700MHz Spectrum After 2018.)

  • Meanwhile, Germany's regulator, the Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) , has said it will almost halve the mobile termination rates (MTRs) operators can charge each other there, reports Reuters. The new rates will kick in on Dec. 1.

  • The U.K. has a new MVNO in the shape of The People's Operator , which says it will donate 25 percent of profits to good causes and allow subscribers to donate 10 percent of the their call, text and data spend to a charity or community group. It is headed up by Alex Franks, who previously launched Blyk, the ad-funded MVNO that failed to set the world alight. (See The People's Operator Launches in UK and Blyk's Ad-Funded Service Hits UK.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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