Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: MegaFon gets loan to buy Nokia gear; BT and Sky extend UK content deal to Ireland; why GDPR can be good for you.
Foreign currency movements against the euro, particularly those in Brazil and Argentina, took their toll on Telefónica 's third quarter, with revenues down 8.3% on the previous year to €11.7 billion (US$13.2 billion). In "organic" terms, however, revenues grew by 2.7%, helped by a 20.7% growth in the value of handset sales. Operating income (before depreciation and amortization) also slipped, by 1.4%, to €4.03 billion ($4.56 billion).
In terms of territories, the operator reckons commercial activity on its home turf of Spain was the best in a single quarter for the last ten years, while the UK increased its mobile service revenues for the ninth consecutive quarter.
Taken as a whole, the results were good enough to allow Telefónica to upgrade its revenue growth guidance for the year to around 2%, up from around 1% previously.
Russian operator MegaFon has agreed a loan of €150 million ($170 million) with ING Group, and intends to use the money to finance the purchase of hardware, software and services from Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), with the amount being amortized over a period of eight and a half years. The loan is guaranteed by Finnvera, the Finnish export credit agency.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and Sky have extended their UK content partnership to Ireland. As the Irish Times reports, from next summer Sky will carry BT's sports channels on its subscription service for Irish customers. It's another sign that these two former deadly rivals are, in the face of the growing threat posed by "over-the-top" competitors such as Amazon, now prepared to collaborate to survive. (See BT's Bogeyman: A Soccer-Mad Amazon.)
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The advent of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU this year might have been viewed by many as a massive pain in the rear, but it has rendered the region's businesses better prepared than rivals elsewhere to deal with the regulation that will inevitably accompany the widespread use of artificial intelligence. At least, that's the opinion of researchers at Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), who, as the Telegraph reports, have released a new study into the coming rollout of the technology in the UK. British retailers, it reckons, are in a particularly strong position to make use of AI, having a lot of the necessary data infrastructure and processes already in place, thanks largely to the demands of GDPR. (See Eurobites: Most EU States Still Not Ready for GDPR, Top 4 GDPR Misconceptions and The Telecoms.com Podcast: GDPR SNAFU.)
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has appointed a new human resources supremo, Leanne Wood, who is giving up her allowance of (presumably) discounted scarves and coats at fashion retailer Burberry to take over from Ronald Schellekens on April 1, 2019.