Eurobites: Tele2 Plots Dutch Mobile 'Revolution'

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: hack-soiled TalkTalk surprises with dividend; new MTN boss may challenge mega-fine; Google faces EU heat over mapping.

  • Nordic operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) is hoping to "revolutionize" the mobile market in the Netherlands with the launch of "more affordable" 4G data bundles on its own LTE-Advanced infrastructure. Tele2 will introduce a 24GB bundle with unlimited voice/SMS, for a monthly cost of €35 (US$37.51) (handset costs not included), along with a range of smaller bundles. The operator is hoping that its 4G pricing will shake up the market, creating a "permanent shift" in the way the Dutch consume mobile data. Tele2's Dutch network, which was turned on two years ago and now reaches 92% of the population, uses carrier aggregation to achieve maximum speeds of 225 Mbit/s.

  • TalkTalk says the cyber attack it suffered late last month could cost it as much as £35 million ($53.1 million), but that hasn't stopped the UK broadband provider from raising its dividend by 15%, confounding the expectations of several analysts. In its half-year earnings statement, TalkTalk said it was still on track to deliver full-year results in line with market expectations that prevailed before the cyber attack took place. Half-year revenues were up 4.7% year-on-year to £912 million ($1.38 billion), though headline EBITDA was down from £110 million ($167 million) in the year-earlier period to £90 million ($136 million) this time round. TalkTalk shares were up more than 11% on the London exchange by Wednesday lunchtime. (See TalkTalk Plummets on Security Woes.)

  • The new -- and temporary -- boss of South Africa's Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) has indicated that he will seek to reduce the $5.2 billion fine that was slapped on it by the Nigerian government after it failed to disconnect unregistered mobile numbers, reports Reuters. Phuthuma Nhleko replaced Sifiso Dabengwa, who stepped down as CEO following the brouhaha surrounding the fine. (See Eurobites: Mega-Fine Topples MTN CEO.)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is feeling more heat from the European Union antitrust apparatchiks, this time on the subject of mapping apps, reports Bloomberg. The EU is looking into how much Google Maps for phones has supplanted other in-car navigation devices, such as those supplied by TomTom, Garmin and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s HERE unit. The probe is part of a wider EU investigation into whether Google abuses its pre-eminence in search to promote its own services. (See Eurobites: Google Denies EU Charges.)

  • French regulator Arcep has stepped into a mast-sharing dispute between SFR and Free Mobile , and told SFR to step up the pace at which it makes its masts available to its rival.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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