Eurobites: Uzbek Fine Takes Toll on Telia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telia hits 500 Mbit/s on 4.5G; Orange pushes IoT to the enterprise; connected car trials in UK; Sky looks to pre-register mobile customers; is music streaming too expensive?

  • A huge fine imposed on Telia Company for dodgy dealings in central Asia has pulverized the Swedish operator's profits for the July-to-September quarter. The company, which was recently fined $1.4 billion by US and Dutch legal authorities for corruption in Uzbekistan, reported a loss of 8.6 billion Swedish kronor ($960 million), compared with a profit of SEK5 billion ($560 million) in the year-earlier quarter, having made a "provision" of SEK12.5 billion ($1.4 billion) related to the so-called "settlement proposal." Telia's revenues fell by 0.9%, to SEK21.5 billion ($2.4 billion), while EBITDA shrank by 1.5%, to SEK18.4 billion ($2.1 billion) over the same period. Unpleasantness in Uzbekistan and somewhat depressing conditions throughout the region have compelled Telia to quit Eurasia and withdraw to apparently safer European turf. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has struggled to find a buyer for its assets but said it would next year explore a joint divestment of Fintur, the holding company for various Eurasian subsidiaries, with Turkey's Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri A.S. (NYSE: TKC), Fintur's other shareholder. It has also recently managed to offload a 60% stake in Tadjik operator Tcell to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, which is now in sole control of Tcell. (See TeliaSonera to Quit Eurasia, Focus on Europe.)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) says it has achieved download speeds of more than 500 Mbit/s on field tests of so-called 4.5G in Turin. The joint project with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) used techniques such as carrier aggregation and improvements in antenna transmission systems to accelerate the LTE network. In the coming months the operator plans to roll out the innovations in other Italian cities, and hopes to see compatible devices introduced by the end of the year.

  • Orange Business Services has gone global with its Datavenue tool, which helps enterprises engage more efficiently with the Internet of Things. Datavenue, which was previously only available in France, allows companies to, among other things, select from a range of certified and tested objects such as sensors and cameras to connect to existing assets.

  • Car makers Jaguar Land Rover and Ford have started testing connected cars in what Reuters describes as the first such trials in the UK.

  • Sky , the UK-based pay-TV giant, is looking for customers to register their interest in its forthcoming mobile service from October 31, the Guardian reports. The operator agreed a deal with Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2) in January 2015 to launch a mobile offering.

  • Are subscription-based music streaming services too pricey to make it into the mainstream? That's the question raised by a poll conducted by YouGov and Zuora in the UK, which, the BBC reports, found that half the people surveyed who don't subscribe to the likes of Spotify or Apple Music think they are too expensive.

  • Belgium's Proximus has opened up a new portal for developers wanting to access the operator's technologies to create apps and more. Initially, the portal, called EnCo, will focus on the Internet of Things, the cloud, big data and telecom staples such as SMS.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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