Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan

Ofcom , Orange France and VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) are making waves in today's cruise through the EMEA headlines.

  • All may not be well with the schedule of the U.K.'s 4G spectrum auction, according to a report on Reuters. A spokesman for regulator Ofcom, which will run the auction, has admitted the proposed timescale -- it was originally meant to happen in the first quarter of 2012 -- is "ambitious." (See UK Plots 4G Spectrum Auction .)

  • Orange France has responded to the increasing competitiveness of the French mobile market by launching "Sosh" (it's short for "social," apparently), a Web-leaning mobile brand aimed squarely at the 18-35 age group and available only over the Internet. The monthly tariffs start at €19.90 (US$28) and include VoIP. (See Euronews: France Telecom Outlines Masterplan.)

  • Russian giant VimpelCom, which acquired Italy's Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA in April, has reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) for the second quarter up 73 percent year-on-year to $2.1 billion. Its mobile subscriber base increased by 11 percent year-on-year, with particularly strong growth coming in its domestic market. (See VimpelCom Reports Q2, VimpelCom Gets Wind and Russia on the Rebound?)

  • At VimpelCom's rival Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT), second-quarter net income edged up just 2.6 percent year-on-year to $367 million, prompting the mobile operator to downgrade its profitability guidance for the year in the face of intense domestic competition. (See MTS Reports Q2 and Russian Ops to Share LTE Network.)

  • MTS is also the first operator to benefit from the opening of a new network operations center in Russia by Nokia Networks . The new center is intended to help operators across Russia and the neighboring CIS states use outsourcing to improve their services and achieve economies of scale. (See NSN Starts NOC in Russia.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:54:33 PM
    re: Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan

    I think some of the blame has to be put on the operators, even though it's a very difficult and messy situation. The operators, regulator and government have been trying to sort out this mess for years. 

    But I'm not sure why operators wouldn't have the same objections they've always had about this auction. Hopefully, I'm wrong about that.


    Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 4:54:33 PM
    re: Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan

    The saga of the UK's LTE auction is just so depressing and embarrassing. At a press briefing in March this year, Ofcom CEO Ed Richards pointed out the risk of the U.K. becoming a laggard in mobile if the timeline for this auction slipped again.  It now looks like that's the fate the U.K. may have to accept if this auction keeps getting delayed. 

    Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:54:33 PM
    re: Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan

    Couldn't agree more Michelle - it is just dragging on. How much are the operators to blame for the delay though? They are all saying they want it to happen as soon as possible but their objections are holding things up too.

    Anne Morris 12/5/2012 | 4:54:33 PM
    re: Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan

    Good to see Orange France is launching a youth-focused secondary brand on the market, and also interesting to note that the operator is not providing subsidised handsets but is offering the option of a 12 or 24-month financing plan. Looks like more operators are going down that route as they seek alternatives to expensive smartphone subsidies.

    Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 4:54:31 PM
    re: Euronews: Concern Over UK LTE Auction Plan

    Slightly embarrassing for Ofcom and the UK mobile sector, yes. Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and Estonia seem to have it figured out.

    Mind you, maybe we're being crafty. Let them de-bug it first and then we can sweep in and pick up cheap LTE gear that works first time. A cunning plan perhaps?

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