Eurobites: Orange Sees End to Price War

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BlackBerry mulls closure of Swedish office; Sky Italia rebuffed by Mediaset; TeliaSonera updates on its workers in Nepal.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) CEO Stephane Richard believes the end is in sight for France's fierce telecom price war, reports Reuters, citing a radio interview given by Richard. The heat has been on for France's mobile operators since the arrival of discount player Iliad (Euronext: ILD) on the scene in 2012. "Let's be realistic: saying that prices will continue to decline in the coming years, it's insane," said Richard. He also expressed the belief that the French mobile market would function better with three players rather than the current four. (See Iliad Plans Next Assault on French Rivals, Eurobites: Free's Price Drop Spooks Rivals, Orange Feels European Squeeze and Euronews: Iliad Shares Soar in Wake of Bouygues Pact.)

  • BlackBerry may close its offices in Sweden, putting around 100 employees out of work, according to a Wall Street Journal report (subscription required for full text). The smartphone maker employs around 7,000 people worldwide.

  • Sky 's Italian unit approached broadcaster Mediaset with a view to buying its Mediaset Premium pay-TV business but got shown the door, according to a Reuters report. Last year Mediaset, owned by fun-lovin' former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, won exclusive Italian rights to European Champions League soccer, which was a major blow to Sky.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is to continue to roll out Zenterio AB 's independent software platform for interactive TV, Zenterio OS, in its southern and eastern European markets. Deutsche Telekom's subsidiaries in Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece will all use the Swedish vendor's offering as the foundation for interactive TV services.

  • Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has announced the successful launch of its latest satellite, THOR 7, which was fired into space late Sunday from the Guiana Space Centre in French Guiana. THOR 7 is Telenor's first high-throughput satellite (HTS) Ka-band payload, designed for the VSAT (very small aperture terminal) market to provide coverage over the North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Red Sea, Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

  • Sweden's Telia Company says that as of Monday morning there have been no reports of any of the 515 employees at its Nepal subsidiary, Ncell, being injured by the effects of the earthquake that hit the country over the weekend. The operator says it has sent an aircraft to Nepal with tents, water cleaning facilities and medical supplies to support its employees. Light Reading's thoughts are with all the people affected by the tragedy. Donations to help those in need in Nepal can be made through Oxfam and Unicef, among other organizations.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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