Also in today's regional roundup: German broadband operators on the block; Android to get extra search tool options in EU; Brits lag on IoT; and more.
Telecom Italia's share price dipped 2% in Milan early Friday after the phone incumbent posted a 4.4% drop in revenues for the first half of the year, to about €9 billion (US$10 billion), compared with the same period in 2018. Figures show the operator has lost nearly half a million mobile customers in Italy this year, leaving it with fewer than 22 million in total (not including machine-based connections), and that average revenues per person have fallen to €12.5 per month from €13.6 a year ago. Telecom Italia has been hurt by competition from Iliad, which entered Italy's mobile market last year. Group earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) fell 2.6% organically in the second quarter, to €1.9 billion ($2.1 billion), compared with the year-earlier period. Telecom Italia cut another 585 jobs in the first six months of the year and had 57,316 employees on its books at the end of June, down from 59,429 in December 2017. It has also recently concluded a network-sharing agreement with Vodafone that is aimed at reducing the cost of building an Italian 5G network. Net debt, long a source of woe for company shareholders, has fallen €539 million ($598 million) since the end of last year, to about €24.7 billion ($27.4 billion). The recently agreed sale of its Persidera broadcasting unit is expected to cut net debt by another €160 million ($177.5 million) this year.
German fiber operators Inexio and Deutsche Glasfaser are coming up for sale, according to Reuters. Citing sources close to the matter, a report says Inexio could be valued at around €1 billion ($1.1 billion) when it kicks off sale proceedings later this year, and that Deutsche Glasfaser is also planning sale at the end of the year or early in 2020. Both companies are building fiber-optic broadband networks in "underserved" parts of Germany, according to the Reuters report, and are private-equity owned. For more on this subject, see this story on Broadband World News, our sister site.
From early 2020, Google will offer alternative search tool options on its Android operating system in Europe: The three companies that win the right to be default options in a bidding process will join Google in the list of options, reports The Verge. Search providers will pay a fee to Google each time they are selected by users, according to the report.
A new report from Microsoft suggests the UK is lagging on IoT adoption and risks losing out on the economic benefits of the digital economy. For more, see this story from our sister site, Telecoms.com.
The European Commission has approved €300 million ($333 million) of public support for the Ultrafast Broadband Infrastructure Scheme in Greece. The scheme aims to bring "ultrafast broadband services to customers in areas with insufficient connectivity" in the southern European country. For more details, see this EC announcement.
Google has halted the transcription of Google Assistant speech data in the European Union for a period of at least three months, it has told Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s commissioner for data protection and Germany’s lead regulator of Google on privacy issues. For more, see this Telecoms.com story.
The ETSI Special Committee EMTEL (emergency communications) has issued a report focused on use cases and communications involving IoT devices in the provision of emergency situations and "providing recommendations on standardization requirements that could enhance the safety of these communications." European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) notes the report was prepared by a group of experts possessing a mix of both IoT and emergency communications competencies. For more details, see this press release.
Facebook is being asked by the UK government to explain why evidence supplied to a parliamentary committee investigating the Cambridge Analytica affair by the social media giant differed from evidence provided by Facebook to the Security and Exchange Committee's investigation in the US. Find out more by reading this Telecoms.com story.
— Iain Morris (hungover) and Ray Le Maistre (over-caffeinated), Light Reading