Euronews: Vodafone Eyes Middle East Expansion

Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), Zain Group and Telia Company proffer something for the weekend in today's canter through the EMEA telecom headlines.

  • Vodafone is close to a deal with Kuwait-based Zain which would allow the British mobile giant to improve its network coverage in the Middle East and reduce its roaming fees, according to a report on Bloomberg. Vodafone signed similar agreements with several Asian operators last year.

  • TeliaSonera, the Sweden-based operator that has numerous interests across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, has been doing a spot of breast-beating in response to criticism that it has cooperated with various dubious regimes by allowing them to access or close down its networks to stymie political opponents. In a speech, CEO Lars Nyberg said, among other things, that the decision to close down networks would henceforth be taken at TeliaSonera group level rather than locally.

  • A court in Slovakia has ruled that a €4.7 million (US$5.9 million) fee that Slovak Telekom paid in 2011 for a 10-year mobile network license extension is invalid, and that it must be recalculated.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s Openreach unit is to recruit another 400 engineers to help with the carrier's fiber rollout in the U.K., and hopes to be able to recruit most of them from the ranks of ex-armed forces personnel. When completed, the recruitment round will take the number of engineers hired by BT in 2012 to more than 1,000. (See Openreach Adds Engineers and BT Ramps Up Its FTTX Speeds.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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