Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia looks at wholesale business re-jig; Slovenian sale on ice; BT deploys the zombies.
It was a mixed bag of second-quarter results for Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY)'s European operations, with a particularly weak performance at its Ziggo unit in the Netherlands. Ziggo lost 87,000 subscribers in the quarter, a slump attributed to "operational challenges" thrown up by its post-acquisition "product harmonization and integration work." In Germany, however, Unitymedia added 92,000 subscribers in the quarter, while the UK's Virgin Media managed just 2,000 additions. At UPC Cablecom in Switzerland, 16,000 subscribers were added, with 14,000 signing up in Belgium. (See Eurobites: Ziggo Plans Post-Merger Job Cuts.)
A fear of possible antitrust fines is driving Telecom Italia (TIM) to look at a radical restructuring of its wholesale business, according to a Bloomberg report. Unnamed sources say that the carrier may fold its OpenAccess unit -- which is supposed to guarantee its rivals equal access to its fixed-line network -- into its wholesale business, creating something not dissimilar to BT's Openreach unit.
The Slovenian government has decided to cancel the sale of Telekom Slovenije after the only bidder, private equity fund Cinven Ltd. , pulled out from the deal, reports Reuters. Cinven cited "recent adverse developments in the regulatory environment and telecoms market" as the reason for its cold feet.
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) is adding the AMC network to its TV offering, marking a UK debut for the US-based channel. Fear the Walking Dead will be one of the initial delights available to BT customers. Eurobites says: Enough already with the zombies.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has joined forces with SIX, the organization that operates Switzerland's financial market infrastructure, to establish a country-wide mobile payment platform in collaboration with a number of Swiss banks. The payment platform will be based on Paymit, a system which was launched by SIX, UBS and Zürcher Kantonalbank in May.
Telekom Austria Group 's domestic unit, A1, is launching a new mobile TV offer, A1 Now, which will allow its customers to watch 40 live TV channels on mobile devices and use a cloud recording facility to store the entire range of A1 Now channels for up to seven days and watch later. A1 claims 259,000 subscribers to its existing TV service.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading