Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: TDC's earnings down, despite cost-cutting; Iliad bond raises €1.3 billion to help bankroll Play acquisition; Telenor, Intelsat add 4K channels.
Telecom Italia (TIM) has signed up – albeit fashionably late – to the European operators' branch of the open RAN fan club, a group that to date has included Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Vodafone and Telefónica. According to a TIM statement, the move "enhances the company’s individual commitment to developing innovative solutions for the mobile ultrabroadband network which, by exploiting open virtualised architecture." The original four members of the group got together in January with the express intention of attracting investment in the nascent technology of open RAN and accelerating the development of products that operators can use in mainstream networks. (See Europe's telco giants come together over open RAN.)
TDC's full-year EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) of 6.42 billion Danish kroner (US$1.03 billion) was down slightly on the operator's previous year's performance but in accordance with previously announced expectations. Predictably, TDC is seeing a decline in "traditional" products such as landline telephony, DSL broadband and old-school TV. Because of this, and the extraordinary customer departure from its YouSee cable subsidiary, TDC expects EBITDA in 2021 to be slightly lower or on a par with 2020. More encouragingly for shareholders, TDC managed to cut costs by 8.7% year-on-year in the fourth quarter.
France's Iliad, parent company of Free, has raised €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) through a two-tranche bond issue, one tranche over three years worth €600 million and the other over seven years worth €700 million. According to Iliad, the successful issue will enable it to complete the refinancing of its acquisition of Polish operator Play.
Telenor Satellite and Intelsat are adding two new 4K/UHD channels to their 1° West media distribution partnership for Nordic and Central Eastern European (CEE) countries. The new 4K channels will be broadcast to viewers on Telenor Satellite's THOR 7, and Intelsat will do the same for CEE viewers using Intelsat 10-02. The first channels to be offered are NASA TV and WOW TV; more are coming soon.
Reuters reports that Amazon plans to hire more than 1,000 apprentices in the UK during 2021, offering roles in areas that include IT, robotics (which might kill some other Amazon jobs) and software engineering. The online giant, which will be under new management come July, currently employs more than 40,000 people in the UK.
Every so often you come across a piece of research that shakes an industry to its core, effectively forcing thought leaders everywhere to think again. This, however, isn't one of them. UK altnet Hyperoptic has discovered that millions of Brits are streaming "cheaters," secretly watching episodes of series on their own that they had promised to watch with someone else. Generation Z (16 to 24-year-olds) are apparently the worst culprits, with a quarter admitting to being a regular streaming cheater. And don't get us started on the "Netflix spoiler" tribe…