Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sky does movie deal with Disney; Telenor re-jigs management; bad news for Mobily investors.
Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) is setting out its stall as a serious fixed-line broadband player in the UK with the rollout of its fiber network to 22 million premises. The network, which the mobile giant says offers speeds of up 76 Mbit/s, has until now only been available to existing Vodafone mobile customers. Vodafone is even throwing in a year's worth of Netflix subscription for "free" to new broadband subscribers. Faced with the imminent coming together of fixed-line incumbent BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and mobile market leader EE , Vodafone knows that it needs to become a true converged-services player to compete. (See BT, EE Defend $19.9B Merger Plans.)
Sky has agreed a new multi-year deal with Disney that will give it the first pay-TV "window" on future Disney movie releases in the UK and Ireland -- around nine months after their initial cinema release -- thereby stealing a march on Netflix and others.
Nordic operator Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has undergone a major management reshuffle, with Ruza Sabanovic being made EVP and CTO amongst a host of other appointments. Nine members of the new management team are non-Norwegians. For full details, see this press release.
The stock market regulator in Saudi Arabia has said no to the demands of shareholders in Etihad Etisalat Co. (Mobily) to be compensated for the massive drop in the operator's share price, reports Reuters. The operator's shares have fallen 63% since last November, when it unexpectedly adjusted previously announced profits.
UK quad-play challenger TalkTalk has added its voice to the chorus of disapproval regarding BT's cozy relationship with Openreach , its access division, reports the Daily Telegraph. In its submission to regulator Ofcom 's consultation on the subject, the operator says: "An incumbent of this size or reach will never have a strong enough incentive to invest in transformative new technology and infrastructure," and demands a full separation of BT and Openreach.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading