Eurobites: EE Bows Out With a Whimper

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: private equity firms expected to bid for T-Mobile Netherlands; Orange selects startups; Nokia does G.fast in Japan.

  • UK mobile operator EE, which last month became part of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), has published its last set of results relating to its time as a separate entity. And, considering the head start it had in 4G, they make surprising reading -- average revenue per user for the fourth quarter was actually down 1% on the year-earlier period, at £19 (US$27.56) a month. Including the effect of regulatory changes, operating revenue for the full year was also down, to £6 billion ($8.7 billion). But EE still claims to have hit its targets for the year in terms of 4G subscribers, with more than 14 million customers now signed up for the much-vaunted services. Its EBITDA also received a boost from efficiency measures, rising by 12.1%, to nearly £1.8 billion ($2.6 billion). One of the highlights of EE's final quarter was its poaching of the UK's emergency services network contract from Airwave, which itself has since been bought by Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT). For more detail on the numbers, see this press release. (See Motorola Pays $1.2B for UK Public-Safety Operator, EE: Building a Better Mobile Broadband Brand, BT Gets Final Go-Ahead for $17.9B EE Takeover and Converged Services.)

  • Two US private equity firms, Warburg Pincus and Apollo, have become the preferred potential bidders for Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s Dutch business, T-Mobile Netherlands , according to a Reuters report. Unnamed sources tell Reuters that the two groups are expected to submit final bids of more than $3.4 billion on Monday. The German giant is pondering an exit from the Netherlands due to the cut-throat competition there, adds the report.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s corporate venture division, Orange Digital Ventures, has taken a stake in four more startups, bringing its portfolio of startups to nine. The latest are: DataMi, which allows advertisers to fund mobile users' data consumption and thereby offer the users free access to certain mobile sites; KissKissBankBank Technologies (yes, really), a crowdfunding specialist; Veniam, which provides connectivity to vehicle fleets; and Wevr, a video-hosting platform for virtual reality.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has landed a G.fast deployment in Japan, with broadband provider Energia Communications (EneCom). EneCom will initially put the G.fast technology -- which turbocharges legacy copper cables -- to work in the Chugokua region of Japan starting in June 2016.

  • London advertising company Exterion Media is to use customer data held by Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) to target ads at their mobile customers as they go about their daily business on the capital's underground transport system, reports the Daily Telegraph. The system, which "anonymizes" the data, will track an estimated one million journeys a day made by O2 customers within London's central Zone One.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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