Broadband services

Eurobites: Vodafone Strikes Wholesale Deal With Telefónica Deutschland

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Liberty Global revenue down in Q1; Deutsche Telekom rebrands in Austria; France Télécom suicides trial underway.

  • Vodafone has entered into a wholesale agreement in Germany with Telefónica Deutschland, under the terms of which Telefónica Deutschland will have access to the combined Vodafone/Unitymedia high-speed broadband network that covers 23.7 million households. The UK-based operator hopes that the agreement will help secure approval for its proposed €18.4 billion (US$20.93 billion) acquisition of Liberty Global's cable business in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, which is currently being scrutinized by the European Commission. (See Vodafone-Liberty Global Deal About to Catch More Heat – Report.)

  • Meanwhile, and related to the above, Liberty Global saw its first-quarter revenue fall 0.6% year-on-year to $2.868 billion, with "revenue contractions" in Switzerland and Belgium taking some of the blame. Things look brighter for the operator in the UK and Ireland where, under the Virgin Media brand, it added 59,200 subscribers in net terms, up more than 14,000 on the equivalent figure for 2018.

  • Deutsche Telekom has completed a rebranding exercise in Austria, with the merger of its two subsidiaries, T-Mobile Austria and UPC Austria, to form Magenta Telekom. The newly monikered entity will supply both mobile and fixed-line services.

  • Seven former senior executives at France Télécom, the French operator that became Orange, have gone on trial for allegedly creating a climate of fear that drove at least 19 employees to commit suicide following a major restructuring of the company in 2006. As The Guardian reports, the former president of France Télécom, Didier Lombard, is among those accused of "moral harassment." (See France Telecom Under Fire.)

  • France's Iliad has had an encouraging first quarter, with revenues up 7.7% year-on-year to €1.293 billion ($1.448 billion). Though its number of mobile subscribers in France actually fell by around 50,000 year-on-year, domestic mobile services revenues rose 2.3% to €487 million ($545 million) in the quarter. Iliad has also entered into a series of agreements with Spanish infrastructure operator Cellnex covering the possible sale of 5,700 mobile tower sites in France as well as 2,200 sites in Italy in a deal worth €2 billion.

  • As Light Reading's very own Big 5G Event kicks off in Denver, Ericsson's ConsumerLab has unveiled some new research that it says busts four "common industry myths" regarding 5G, namely that: 5G offers consumers no short-term benefits; there are no real use cases for 5G, and consumers aren't prepared to pay a "price premium" for it; smartphones will be the "silver bullet" for 5G; and that current usage patterns can be used to predict future 5G demand. The study is based on 35,000 interviews with smartphone users aged 15 to 69, carried out in 22 different countries.

  • Swisscom has teamed up with IT services provider Trivadis to offer database services from the cloud, an automated approach that, as its name suggests, provides access to a database hosted in the cloud via a usage-based pricing model.

  • Giovanni Ronca has left his position as co-head of UniCredit commercial bank network in Italy to become chief financial officer of Telecom Italia (TIM). He starts today.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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