Eurobites: Vodafone Faces Legal Challenge Over 4G Emergency Calls Patent

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica Deutschland's revenues rise but losses widen in Q2; Bango expands its OTT partnerships; dearth of sexy stuff in dragon movie.

  • Vodafone is facing a court case in the UK over its use of 4G technology that allows access to the mobile network for emergency calls. The case has been brought by IPCom, a German company that lays claim to more than 200 patent families in the mobile technology sphere. IPCom says it has gone down the litigation route reluctantly, following "years of attempted negotiations" and the presentation of a FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) offer to Vodafone. The specific patent in question has the identification code 100T8, and the High Court must decide whether 100T8 is a "standard essential" patent. The trial is scheduled to take place on November 19.

  • Telefónica Deutschland saw its underlying second-quarter revenues rise 2.4% year-on-year to €1.79 billion (US$1.99 billion), its mobile service revenues, excluding the effects of regulatory measures, climbing 1.5% to €1.33 billion ($1.48 billion). Losses widened, however, to €49 million ($54 million), compared with a €12 million ($13 million) loss in the year-ago period. During the quarter, the operator acquired 5G spectrum and, with Mercedes-Benz, set up what it says was the world's first 5G network for automobile production.

  • Away from the numbers, Telefónica Deutschland has appointed Mallik Rao as its new CTO, responsible for both its fixed and mobile operations. Rao is a 25-year veteran of the telecom industry, his most recent role being at Vodafone Turkey. He will replace Cayetano Carbajo Martin, who is moving on to a new position at the Spanish parent company.

  • Bango, the UK-based mobile commerce company, has launched new OTT partnerships that allow prepaid mobile customers in Spain, UAE, India, Singapore, Philippines and New Zealand to have streaming media subscriptions as part of their existing plans.

  • Adjusted revenues at Dutch incumbent KPN fell 3.1% year-on-year in the second quarter, to €1.35 billion ($1.50 billion), though EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) was up 1.1%, to €602 million ($671 million). A growth in bundled offerings, says the operator, was offset by a decline in "legacy" services.

  • It was a brighter picture for Orange Belgium in the second quarter, with revenues up 1.9% year-on-year to €318.9 million ($355.5 million), and EBITDA (after leases) up 18.2% to €78.9 million ($87.9 million). Higher retail service revenues and cost controls were among the reasons cited for the positive direction of travel.

  • Sky, the UK-based pay-TV player, has introduced a new movie ratings system for its Sky Q set-top box that it hopes will help parents decide whether a particular box-office smash is suitable fare for their kids. As an example, Sky shows that How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World receives two points (out of five) for "educational value," four points for "positive role models and representations" and a disappointing one point for "sexy stuff." Well, that's that one crossed off the list for the next Eurobites Towers movie night.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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