Eurobites: Iliad Crashes Italian Market With Cut-Rate Deal

In today's EMEA regional roundup: Iliad takes its disruptive undercutting tactics to Italy; Spain kickstarts 5G spectrum auction process; UK retailer Dixons Carphone feels the squeeze; Telia revamps its top team; and much more.

  • Iliad (Euronext: ILD), the operator that transformed the French broadband and mobile markets by undercutting the incumbent service providers, has launched its long-planned service in Italy, becoming the country's fourth mobile operator. As expected it has entered the market with a low-cost offer -- €5.99 (US$6.91) per month for 30 Gbytes of data and unlimited texts and voice minutes -- for the first 1 million Italians to sign up. The offer, which Iliad claims is up to five times cheaper than those of its three rivals, will put competitive pressure on beleaguered national incumbent TIM, as well as Vodafone and Wind Tre. Iliad, which is aiming for a 10% share of the Italian market during its firt few years of operation and ultimately a 25% share of a market currently worth €16 billion ($18.5 billion)per year, has pledged to invest more than €1 billion ($1.15 billion) during the next few years to build out its own network and market it services, which it is currently doing using the hashtag #Rivoluzioneiliad. The launch comes only weeks after Iliad reported disappointing group financials that sent its share price down by almost 20%. The timing of Iliad's launch in Italy is somewhat unfortunate for the company, as it will be overshadowed by the country's current political turmoil that has gained global media coverage. (See Iliad's Italian Odyssey May Be a Hard Slog.)

  • Spain's Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda is to auction 200MHz of 5G spectrum in the 3.6-3.8 GHz band in July. Operators have until June 29 to register their interest, while the auction is expected to start in mid-July. The winning bids will each receive a license of 20 years' duration.

  • UK high street mobile and electrical goods retailer Dixons Carphone is to close 92 of its 700-plus Carphone Warehouse stores following a profit warning that sent its share price into freefall. In a trading update the company said its profit before tax for the financial year ending April 28, 2018, would be £382 million ($507 million), down almost 24% year-on-year, while the expected profit before tax for the current 2018-2019 fiscal year is expected to be around £300 million ($398 million). The company blamed "challenges" in the UK mobile market for the decline. By late morning, Dixons Carphone's share price was trading down 20.6% at 185.4 pence on the London Stock Exchange. For more, see the following article from our sister site, Telecoms.com: Dixons Carphone profits down, outlook down, shares down 20%.

  • Telia Company has announced a number of senior management changes. The operator has named Anders Olsson as the CEO of Telia Sweden, taking over from Johan Dennelind, who is starting his new role as President and CEO of Telia Company on June 1. Magnus Zetterberg, currently CTO at Telenor Norway, is stepping into Olsson's shoes as Chief Operating Officer and Head of Global Services & Operations at Telia and will start, at the latest, in October. Henriette Wendt, Head of Telia's operations in Lithuania, Estonia and Denmark, is leaving and will be replaced by Emil Nilsson, who will add that role to his existing job as Head of Region Eurasia.

  • News of the management shake-up at Telia comes only days after the operator announced that it has upgraded its 4G LTE network, which covers 99.9% of Sweden's population and more than 95% of the country's land surface, to support NB-IoT services. The operator previously added NB-IoT capabilities to its network in Finland. (See Telia Launches NB-IoT in Sweden.)

  • With GDPR in place, the next regulation that's set to turn hair grey across the European Union is e-Privacy, which was due to be implemented with GDPR but which is now set for implementation in 2019. And the lobbyists are already hard at work, according to this report from our sister site, Telecoms.com.

  • Inmarsat plc (London: ISAT) says its European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight WiFi service will be launched as a commercial offer in the business aviation market "by early 2019." EAN integrates connectivity from Inmarsat's satellites with terrestrial 4G LTE connectivity provided by Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) across all 28 European Union member states plus Norway and Switzerland. Inmarsat claims the service, which enables continuous connectivity for aircraft over land and sea, will be able to deliver wireless broadband speeds of up to 75 Mbit/s. (See Eurobites: Airline WiFi Scheme Set for Take-Off and Inmarsat, DT Launch WiFi-in-the-Sky Service.)

  • Finnish BSS specialist Tecnotree had what it describes as a "challenging quarter" to start the year, with revenues of €7.6 million ($8.8 million) down by 52% compared with the previous quarter and down by 38% year-on-year. The company, which was recently the subject of a failed takeover bid by software sector turnaround company Viking Acquisition, says it continues to "seek new investment to address the ongoing concerns on our financial position. Finding a solution in financing would help us get the order book and sales back on track, as there are multiple opportunities in the pipeline for our Digital commerce, BSS Stack in new markets, among others… Our major preference today is to continue efforts for finding a durable solution for financing so that we can ensure the company’s stable operations and further development."

    — Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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