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Eurobites: Inflation piles pressure on European operatorsEurobites: Inflation piles pressure on European operators

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nothing thinks it's onto something with new phone; UK sports broadcasters come under scrutiny; Sparkle enlists Italian navy to protect subsea comms.

Paul Rainford

July 13, 2022

3 Min Read
Eurobites: Inflation piles pressure on European operators

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nothing thinks it's onto something with new phone; UK sports broadcasters come under scrutiny; Sparkle enlists Italian navy to protect subsea comms.

Moody's latest telecom sector report finds that operators in Belgium, Italy, Spain, the UK and the Netherlands face particular challenges in the coming months, with intense competition making it difficult for them to pass on the price rises being brought about by rampant inflation. Year-end inflation in those five countries is expected to hit 6% and beyond for 2022, with prices in the UK set to rise the most – up to 11.7% – because of inflation-linked customer contracts, says the report. The report also anticipates labor difficulties for telcos, with strikes likely as the rising rate of inflation fuels demands for higher wages. Large fiber rollouts could be in jeopardy, it adds, with inflation possibly affecting many areas of investment. "You've waited. And seen the parrots. Now it's time to get your hands on Phone (1)." So intoned the marketing aces at Nothing, the new, much-hyped, UK-based hipster on the smartphone block, as they (sort of) launched the device on Tuesday. People will be able to get their mitts on this partly transparent object of desire from July 16, at the "Nothing Kiosk" in London's Covent Garden, though in time a number of operators, including O2 in the UK and Deutsche Telekom in Germany, will be offering it within their product lineups. Figure 1: Beautiful plumage: Nothing's Phone (1) 
(Source: Deutsche Telekom) Beautiful plumage: Nothing's Phone (1)
(Source: Deutsche Telekom) The latest Scorecard from French communications regulator Arcep has concluded that the state of competition in the business market generally "remains unsatisfactory," with very little change in market positions over time, despite some encouraging developments in a few specific market segments. In other competition news, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into suspected collusion between sports broadcasters relating to the purchasing of freelance services. BT and Sky are among those in the dock. In a statement, the CMA said that at this stage it has "reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law." Sparkle, Telecom Italia's international services unit, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Italian navy aimed at improving the protection of Sparkle's subsea communications infrastructure. The plan is to set up shared operating procedures and, possibly, undertake joint reconnaissance and monitoring activities, among other measures. CVC Capital Partners has denied submitting a new €7 billion (US$7.04 billion) offer to Telecom Italia for the operator's enterprise service arm. As Reuters reports, the story first surfaced in La Repubblica, an Italian daily newspaper. The gap between the best and worst providers in the UK broadband, landline and pay-TV sectors is widening, according to the latest survey of complaints from UK communications regulator Ofcom. Standout go-and-stand-in-the-corner turns included Virgin Media, whose pay-TV service attracted 10 complaints per 100,000 customers, which was twice as bad as its nearest rival, BT. Ironically enough, "complaints handling" was cited as the key driver of complaints in Virgin's case. On the broadband/landline front, Shell Energy scooped the not-that-coveted "Most complaints" award. The phony war between Putin's government and US tech giants rumbles on, with Apple and Zoom the latest to feel the mighty paw of the Russian bear. As Reuters reports, both were fined relatively piddling amounts for allegedly refusing to store the data of Russian citizens on Russian soil. — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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

During the nougthies he 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 sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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