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Euronews: Vivendi Vexed Over Free Ride

Vivendi , Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Vivacom take us to the weekend in today's jog through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • Jean-Bernard Lévy, the CEO of French conglomerate Vivendi, has lashed out at France Telecom for allowing newcomer Free Mobile to piggy-back on the FT network, reports the Financial Times. Free's arrival on the French mobile scene has ruffled many feathers, not least those of SFR , the Vivendi-owned operator, which revealed less-than-stunning financials this week. (See Euronews: Iliad's Clogging Our Network, Says FT and Iliad Disrupts the French Mobile Scene .)

  • Vivacom, the beleaguered Bulgarian operator, has caught the eye of Russian lender VTB Capital, reports Reuters. It has placed a joint bid with its partner, Bulgaria's Corporate Commercial Bank, for a stake in the operator. Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) and Turkey's Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC) have already expressed an interest in the sale.

  • The Nigerian government has, after almost ten years of trying, given up on a regular trade sale of state-owned operator Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. (Nitel) and its Nigeria Mobile Telecommunicarions Ltd. (M-Tel) mobile arm and is liquidating the operators as a step towards privatization, reports Business Day Online. (See Transcorp Wins Auction for Ailing Nitel and Lucent 'Not Interested' in Nitel.)

  • U.K. regulator Ofcom has let it be known that it supports the proposals put forward by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) to extend EU anti-"bill shock" measures worldwide. As things stand the EU Roaming Regulation requires all mobile operators to apply a cut-off limit once a consumer's mobile Internet bill reaches €50 ($66) per month -- but only while traveling in the EU. (See EC Combats Data Roaming Bill Shock.)

  • Revenues at Belgian incumbent Belgacom SA (Euronext: BELG) were down 3 percent year-on-year to €6.4 billion ($8.4 billion), as the impact of regulatory changes and a fall in demand in the consumer sector took their toll. (See Belgacom Revenues Down 3% in 2011.)

  • Spirent Communications plc , the British test and Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) systems specialist, saw its operating profit rise 10 percent year-on-year to $125.9 million in 2011. Its Performance Analysis division was especially perky, growing 14 percent in terms of revenue. (See Spirent 2011 Operating Profit Hits $122M and Spirent Paves Cable Path to Growth .)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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