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Euronews: Telecom Italia Boss on the Brink

Paul Rainford
9/30/2013

Also in today's EMEA lineup: BT to hike its prices; consortium acquires Ireland's e|net; Maroc Telecom bid deadline extended.

  • Is Telecom Italia (TIM) 's executive chairman close to calling it a day? That's the likely outcome of a board meeting planned for Thursday, according to unnamed sources quoted by Reuters. Franco Bernabe is looking for support for his plans to relaunch the debt-laden company, but this may not be forthcoming, says the report. (See Euronews: Telefónica Ups Stake in Telecom Italia.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) looks set to wish its customers a happy new year with price hikes of up to 6.5 percent in January, reports The Guardian. The operator, which has pumped hundreds of millions of pounds into the launch of its Sky -challenging sports channels in recent months, swears blind that the two are not connected, stating that it revises its prices every year. Look out for the term "own goal" to be used widely. (See BT's Got Balls.)

  • Vodafone's Qatar unit has joined forces with Zain, du and Kuwaiti Internet service provider Zajil to form a consortium that will make better use of an existing fiber network in the region and eventually connect it to Europe, reports Reuters. Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System (MEETS), as the consortium will be known, has signed a 15-year rental contract to active and manage the network.

  • Ireland's e|net, which operates state-owned metropolitan area networks in 94 towns and cities across the country and counts BT and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) amongst its customers, has been acquired by a US investment consortium. No financial details were disclosed.

  • The deadline for talks over Etisalat 's bid for Vivendi 's Maroc Telecom has been extended until October 31, according to the UAE operator. In July Etisalat made an offer of €3.9 billion (US$5.2 billion) for a 53 percent stake in Maroc Telecom. (See Euronews: Bidding War for Maroc Telecom Stake.)

  • UK regulator Ofcom has appointed Philip Marnick its new group director in charge of spectrum. Marnick is an industry veteran, who joins from UK Broadband Ltd. but has stints with BT, Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), and Orange (NYSE: FTE) under his belt.

  • Telefónica O2 Czech Republic isn't happy about the way the authorities have set up the country's 4G spectrum auction and has filed a lawsuit to challenge some of the terms and conditions, reports Reuters.

  • French CDN supplier Broadpeak has launched its umbrellaCDN offering, which is aimed at content providers looking to optimize the delivery of their videos by contracting with several CDN providers.

  • The forthcoming sale of a 25 percent stake in Arqiva, the UK infrastructure business, has attracted the attention of some of Canada's largest pension funds, according to a report in the Financial Times (subscription required). PSP Investments and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board -- which already owns 48 percent of Arqiva -- are expected to compete for the stake being sold by investment fund manager Macquarie.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    PaulERainford
    PaulERainford
    9/30/2013 | 9:23:35 AM
    Be careful BT et al
    Ed Milliband, the Labour Party leader, last week announced that, should his party back into power at the next UK election, he would put a freeze on gas and electricity prices for a year or two. If telecom companies keep upping their prices, might he extend this policy to them as well? After all, phone bills come under the 'utility' category too. Could be a vote-winner...
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