Euronews: Ofcom Slams Vodafone's 3G

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: AlcaLu's German tax headache; Deutsche Telekom's Q3 boosted by T-Mobile US; Swisscom names new CEO.

  • Vodafone UK has been told by UK regulator Ofcom that its 3G coverage isn't good enough, and that it must bring it up to snuff by the end of 2013. Under the terms of its spectrum license, the operator was supposed to have rolled out coverage to 90 percent of the UK population by June 30, 2013: Vodafone has fallen 1.4 percent short of this target. Following a ticking-off by the regulator, Vodafone has said that it has put plans in place to comply with the coverage obligation by the end of this year.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s third-quarter EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fell 2.6 percent year-on-year to €4.7 billion ($6.3 billion), despite revenues growing 6 percent to €15.5 billion. The numbers, slightly better than expected, were buoyed by the success of T-Mobile US Inc. 's "Un-carrier" strategy, though domestically and in Europe as a whole the picture is less rosy though the operator's home market is now more "stable" than in recent times. (See Deutsche Telekom Reports Q3 Growth and T-Mobile Adds 1.1M Subs.)

  • Following coverage in the German media, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has clarified that it is set to face a tax bill in Germany that could hit €174 million (US$235 million), but stresses that this information "is definitely not new" as it has been reported in various financial reports for more than a year. For more details, see this press release. AlcaLu is in the midst of a major corporate and financial revamp, so could certainly do without such hefty tax bills. (See Alcatel-Lucent to Raise $2.7B and Alcatel-Lucent to Cut 10,000 Jobs.)

  • Despite the European Commission 's decision to move to a "Phase 2" examination of its proposed acquisition of Telefónica Ireland, Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY), which owns mobile operator 3 Ireland , is "confident" that the acquisition and subsequent merger of the two Irish operators will be approved. For more details, see this press release. (See Three to Acquire O2 Ireland and Li Ka-shing in the Hunt for EU Telcos.)

  • Urs Schaeppi, who took temporary control of Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) following the death of former CEO Carsten Schloter, has been appointed its new CEO. Schaeppi has been with Swisscom for 15 years. The operator has just released its third-quarter financials, which show revenue up by 0.4 percent year-on-year to 8.42 billion Swiss francs ($9.22 billion) for the first nine months of the year, though net income is down 7.7 percent to CHF1.35 billion ($1.47 billion). Higher network maintenance expenses on its home turf received some of the blame for this. (See Swisscom Appoints CEO, Updates Strategy, Swisscom Reports Sales Growth, and Swisscom CEO Found Dead.)

  • Former Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) CEO Stephen Elop definitely features on a list of five external candidates being considered for Steve Ballmer's job at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), according to a Reuters report. As for internal candidates, former Skype Ltd. CEO Tony Bates has apparently made the cut, along with at least three others. The selection process could take several more months to complete, according to the anonymous source cited in the report. (See Euronews: Nokia CEO Tipped for Ballmer's Job and The Nokia/Microsoft Conspiracy Theory.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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