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Eurobites: MTS Income Hit by Bust Bank

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: France gets taste for fiber; Telekom Austria poaches Ericsson exec; EE on recruitment drive.

  • Political unrest and accompanying economic uncertainty in eastern Ukraine is very bad news for lots of individuals and companies -- and the region's telecom operators aren't escaping the fallout. Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) has announced it will incur a charge to its operating income in the fourth quarter of around 5.2 billion Russian rubles (US$87.3 million), because a Ukrainian bank in which it held 1.4 billion Ukrainian hryvnia ($59.6 million) in cash and deposits, JSC Delta Bank, has been declared insolvent. (See MTS Braced for Ruble Trouble and MTS's Russian Resolution.)

  • France is getting a taste for fiber, according to the latest figures from regulator Arcep . The number of subscriptions to fully optical FTTx access lines increased 67% over the course of the year to the end of December 2014 to reach 935,000. Subscriptions to "superfast" (i.e. downlink speeds of 30 Mbit/s or higher) broadband of all flavors stand at 3.1 million.

  • Telekom Austria Group has a new COO in the shape of Alejandro Plater, previously a senior executive at Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). During his time at Ericsson, Plater worked extensively with Telekom Austria in Mexico. His arrival coincides with the departure of CTO Günther Ottendorfer.

  • More encouraging UK telecom jobs news following BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s announcement earlier this week that it was looking to hire around 1,000 apprentices and graduates: EE , which is likely to be swallowed whole by BT in the not too distant future, is planning to recruit 250 new apprentices in 2015.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) should get some equal-opportunities kudos from its decision to define a mandatory minimum maternity benefits package for women working at all levels across the group's 30 operating companies worldwide. The package will offer at least 16 weeks' fully paid maternity leave, as well as full pay for a 30-hour week for the first six months after the post-natal return to work.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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