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Eurobites: TIM, Vodafone tackle debt with Inwit stake sale

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ADVA hit by Wuhan lockdown; Ericsson powers ABB; UK mobile churn down in COVID-19 time; fiber fun in Ukraine.

Paul Rainford

April 23, 2020

3 Min Read
Eurobites: TIM, Vodafone tackle debt with Inwit stake sale

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: ADVA hit by Wuhan lockdown; Ericsson powers ABB; UK mobile churn down in COVID-19 time; fiber fun in Ukraine.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) and Vodafone Italia have been addressing their respective debt piles by together selling 8.6% of Inwit, their jointly owned towers company. This equates to 41.7 million shares each, at a price of €9.60 per share, raising approximately €400 million (US$431.5 million) for each operator. The Italian tower merger experienced a bit of turbulence before eventually getting the green light from the European Union in March, after the two companies agreed to allow rivals access to some of their shared sites in certain locations for up to nine years. (See EC clears Inwit tower deal, Vodafone banks €2.14B cash windfall , Eurobites: Italy's Inwit offers rivals access to towers to allay antitrust concerns and Vodafone, TIM strike network-sharing deal.)

    • First-quarter revenues at Germany's ADVA were up 3.5% year-on-year, at €132.7 million ($143.1 million). Pro forma operating income was in the red to the tune of €1.7 million ($1.8 million), a big fall on the previous quarter that ADVA mainly attributes to the lockdown in Wuhan, which disrupted the vendor's supply chain. Uncertainty about where the coronavirus-related recession is heading has led ADVA to withdraw its previous outlook for the 2020 financial year – "it is not possible to reliably predict further implications for the company," says the company in a statement.

    • ABB Power Grids, a "smart grid" giant, has become the first company in Sweden to commercially use Ericsson's Industry Connect 5G-ready private network, says the vendor. Initially, ABB's Ludvika factory will be connecting essential tools such as cordless screwdrivers, and, in time, handheld computers will also be connected as part of the "digitalization" process. The project is a collaboration between Ericsson, ABB, Telia and AFRY.

    • Ericsson has also appointed the Nomination Committee for its annual general meeting in 2021. The lineup is as follows: Johan Forssell of Investor AB; Karl Åberg of AB Industrivärden and Svenska Handelsbankens Pensionsstiftelse; Jonas Synnergren of Cevian Capital Partners; Anders Oscarsson of AMF; and Ronnie Leten, who is the chair of the board of directors.

    • Every cloud… Analyst firm Jefferies says its data shows that customer "churn" has reduced by 55-63% in Italy, France and Belgium during the COVID-19 lockdown period. The full Jefferies note can be found here.

    • Ukrtelecom, Iskratel and SID Bank have signed an agreement to build a GPON fiber network to connect the rural areas of Ukraine. The two-year project, which represents an investment of almost 200 million Ukrainian Hyyvnia ($7.4 million), will connect more than 200 localities in 13 Ukrainian regions.

    • Belgian's Proximus has announced that its chief enterprise market officer, Bart Van Den Meersche, is stepping down on July 1. Van Den Meersche joined Proximus in 2011 after many years with IBM. No successor has been named.

    • An Israeli government watchdog has voted to block the police using cellphone data to enforce COVID-19 quarantines following concerns about privacy infringements. As Reuters reports, Benjamin Netanyahu's government gave the police the power to "requisition" cellphone data on those ordered to self-isolate as suspected or confirmed carriers of the coronavirus.

    • O2 UK reports that the traditional phone call has made a spirited comeback since the COVID-19 lockdown kicked in on March 24. The operator, part of the Telefónica group, says its customers now make or receive 25% more calls a day, and the average length of calls is up 30% since Brits received their stay-at-home orders. Also, over a third of snowflake 18-24-year-olds have "shed feelings of phone call anxiety," with almost one in three feeling more confident about facing the trauma of the "phone call experience." Stay strong, kids.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.

He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.

During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.

Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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