Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telekom Austria's Bulgarian body-blow; Ukraine clamps down on Internet; Redknee hits Euro jackpot.
Are consumers prepared to pay much of a premium for 4G? It's not looking that way for Vodafone UK , reports the Daily Telegraph, as figures show that only one in 10 of the UK's 9.2 million 4G users are on Vodafone's network, even though Vodafone has almost a third of all 2G and 3G users on its books. Vodafone charges £22 a month (US$37) for a 4G SIM-only packaged with 1GB of data included, whereas the equivalent from its rivals costs at least £5 less. According to quoted analysts CCS Insight , Vodafone's bundling of free mobile access to Netflix, Sky Sports or Spotify into its 4G packages does not seem to have helped it claw back much lost ground.
Telekom Austria Group 's figures for the first half of 2014 have taken a €400 million ($534 million) hit from an impairment charge at its Bulgarian operations, and this takes a share of the blame for a net loss of €300 million ($400 million) for the period. The operator, which is now controlled by Mexican moneybags Carlos Slim, reported weak revenues on its home turf as well as in Bulgaria and Croatia, though Belarus provided a light in the overall gloom, with a revenue increase of 20.6% on a local currency basis. (See Eurobites: Carlos Slim Lands Telekom Austria.)
The Ukrainian parliament has approved the first draft of a law that could see its government being given the power to close down media outlets and block websites on the grounds of national security, without having to get the permission from a court first, according to Reporters Without Borders, the group that campaigns for freedom of information.
US SPIT provider Redknee Inc. (Toronto TSX: RKN) has landed a $17 million deal from an unnamed "leading group operator" in the EMEA region. Specifically, the operator has opted for Redknee's real-time monetization and subscriber management software, Redknee Unified.
Israel-based GetTaxi, a rival to better known taxi-hailing app Uber, has raised another $150 million in its latest funding round, reports Bloomberg. That brings the total investment GetTaxi has raised to more than $210 million.
The UK pay-TV wars have intensified, with broadband provider TalkTalk now offering three months of Sky 's Sky Sports content for "half-price" (£15 a month). As the UK's soccer Premier League returns next weekend, now is a crucial time for the pay-TV operators -- which now include BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) with its BT Sport offer -- to start luring potential viewers. (See BT's Got Balls.)