Sony Ericsson shipped 9.5 million mobile handsets during the third quarter, nearly 9 percent fewer than a year ago but many more than during the second quarter of this year, when performance was badly affected by the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake. The company says 80 percent of its shipments are smartphones. Revenues totaled €1.58 billion (US$2.18 billion), down slightly year-on-year, while the vendor's average selling price (ASP) per handset edged up slightly to €166 ($229). However, Sony Ericsson's gross margin slipped to 27 percent and operating margin came in at 2 percent, while the company reported a net income of zero (you don't get more break-even than that…). Current industry speculation suggests Sony will look to buy out Ericsson from the joint venture. (See Sony Ericsson Reports Q3, Euronews: Ericsson Could Quit Handsets and Sony Ericsson Blames Quake for Q2 Slump.)
The procurement joint venture between European network operator giants Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom (Orange) will open its doors on Monday Oct. 17, which is good news for the carrier duo but a headache for their respective suppliers. (See Bad News for Vendors and DT & FT Deepen Ties.)
It's not just China and India taking an interest in Africa ... Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG), the South African incumbent operator, is in talks to sell a 20 percent stake to Korea Telecom, reports Business Day. News of the possible deal sparked a 5 percent surge in Telkom's shares, according to Reuters.
There's some potential good news for Croatia's three mobile operators, reports Reuters, as the government there is considering scrapping the 6 percent tax on mobile services that was introduced in 2009 to help shore up public finances. T-HT, VIPnet and Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) will be following the debate with interest.
A motion to ban Britain's MPs from using mobile devices in the House of Commons has been defeated, reports the BBC. Quite a few MPs already tweet from the chamber during debates. Listen hard and you can hear the sound of Churchill whirring in his grave.