August 17, 2018
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Turk Telekom and Vestel answer Erdogan's call; Swisscom bolsters broadband; MTN linked with Jumia sale; Rovio's revenues fall.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) appears to have caved in to pressure from US authorities and withdrawn from Iran. Detecon, a subsidiary of the German operator's T-Systems International GmbH IT services unit, has terminated an Iranian deal worth about €300,000 ($340,000) annually, according to Reuters, with US authorities indicating that companies doing business in Iran will face restrictions in the US. "Given the sensitivity in relations with Iran worldwide, Detecon ended its business in Iran with immediate effect in May 2018," a spokesperson for Deutsche Telekom told Reuters. The German operator is active in the US through T-Mobile US Inc. , the country's third-biggest mobile operator, and is currently seeking regulatory approval for a merger of this company with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), the number-four player. (See T-Mobile & Sprint: Marriage made in hell.)
Turkish electronics manufacturer Vestel and fixed-line operator Turk Telekom have teamed up in response to calls by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for a boycott of Apple's iPhone, according to a report from Reuters. Erdogan asked Turks to use locally made devices after US President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on Turkish goods that triggered a sharp devaluation of the Turkish lira. Under their agreement, Vestel will be able to use Turk Telekom's sales infrastructure for its smartphones, reports Reuters.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) announced plans to boost speeds for a number of its broadband services. From October, said the Swiss incumbent, download speeds will be increased by up to 100% and upload speeds by up to 500% for most existing and new customers. The catch is a slight increase in price for customers on the most basic packages, although subscribers to higher-speed services will see no change in fees. Swisscom has been making investments in a range of broadband technologies to improve connectivity, including full-fiber networks and Gfast, which boosts performance on last-mile copper loops. (See Swisscom Claims Europe's First Commercial G.fast.)
South African telecom giant MTN Group Ltd. is looking into a sale of shares in ecommerce business Jumia, and has valued the company at about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. With its 40% stake, MTN is the biggest shareholder in Jumia, and smaller investors are also open to selling stock, according to sources close to the matter who spoke with Bloomberg. A sale could help MTN to reduce borrowings, said the report. (See Eurobites: MTN Manages H1 Growth, Despite Headwinds.)
Finland's Rovio Entertainment, which develops the popular Angry Birds game, reported a 17% year-on-year drop in overall sales for its second quarter, to €72 million ($82 million), but said revenues at its gaming business were up 6%, to €65 million ($74 million). Operating profits at the company fell to €6 million ($6.8 million), from €16 million ($18 million) a year earlier.
— Iain Morris, International Editor, Light Reading
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