While Vodafone's fiscal first-quarter numbers confirmed what we already know -- that times are hard for mobile operators in Southern Europe -- they also highlighted that data is now very much where it's at. Vodafone's data revenue grew by 17.1 percent year-on-year to £1.6 billion (US$2.5 billion), accounting for 16 percent of group service revenue in the three months to the end of June. More specifically, European mobile Internet revenue grew by 47.2 percent as smartphones become increasingly ubiquitous. Overall, Vodafone's group revenue declined by 7.7 percent year-on-year, though if the cuts in mobile termination rates and changes in currency exchange rates are discounted, a 1 percent increase magically appears. (See Vodafone Provides Fiscal Q1 Interims, Vodafone, Telefónica Merge UK Networks and Euronews: Vodafone Profits Slip as Europe Suffers.)
On the face of it, Nokia's second-quarter figures were pretty scary, but the reaction on the Helsinki exchange was positive, with shares jumping more than 17 percent in Thursday afternoon trading, reports the Daily Telegraph, citing better-than-expected sales of lower-end devices as the main reason for the positivity. Sales of the flagship Lumia handset -- up to 4 million units in the second quarter from around 2 million in the previous one -- also cheered analysts, according to Bloomberg, giving them reason to believe that there might be something in this Windows Phone lark after all. (See Euronews: Nokia Loses $1.9B in Q2 and Nokia Cuts 10,000 Jobs, Restructures.)
MTN Group Ltd. and Zain Group have set their sights on South Sudan, the recently created African state, as the next big untapped "mobile money" market, reports Reuters. Just 13 percent of South Sudan's 8 million people own a mobile phone at present, and for every adult in the country there are fewer than 0.01 bank accounts.
Net Insight AB (Stockholm: NETI-B), the Swedish video transport equipment specialist, saw second-quarter operating profits more than halve year-on-year to 3.4 million Swedish kroner ($490,000). Increased operating expenses were cited as the main reason for the slump. (See Net Insight Reports Q2 Profit of SEK3.4M.)
The principality of Wales is to receive a fiber broadband boost to the tune of £425 million ($667 million), with £220 million ($345 million) of that coming from BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and the rest made up of state aid from a range of sources, including around £90 million ($141 million) from the European Regional Development Fund and £57 million ($89.5 million) from the increasingly controversial Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot. The Welsh Government is committed to providing 96 percent of Welsh homes and businesses with access to world-class broadband speeds of up to 80 Mbit/s by the end of 2015. (See BT to Boost Broadband in Wales and Broadband Delivery UK Formed.)