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Eurobites: MVNOs outperforming UK's Big Four, says Which?

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vodafone shareholders get restless; Bezeq boss steps down; Cellnex trumpets green progress.

  • New research from Which?, the highly regarded consumer organization, has found that UK mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) are, in terms of customer satisfaction, largely outperforming the Big Four (Vodafone, O2, EE and Three) whose network infrastructure they piggy-back on. Topping the satisfaction table was Smarty, which uses the network of Three, the Big Four operator that found itself in lowly joint thirteenth position. Giffgaff, Tesco and Sky also scored higher than O2, the network on which they ride. Which? calculates that customers of virtual networks pay on average £10 a month less than Big Four customers, while those on an MVNO SIM-only deal will save on average £5.20 a month compared to their infrastructure-owning rivals. According to communications regulator Ofcom, the four main operators serve 76% of the population in the UK – though Which? expects this to change as the cost of living continues to increase sharply and mobile phone users look to shrink their bills.

  • Some shareholders in Vodafone are getting increasingly impatient with the apparent lack of progress on dealmaking, according to a report in the Financial Times. One named investor, Peter Schoenfeld of hedge fund PSAM, said that the operator's "failure to do a deal has been a problem," adding that the issue is not so much the company's focus as the fact that "they're executing poorly." Some investors believes Vodafone is missing a trick with its Vantage towers unit, with one (unnamed) shareholder saying that if CEO Nick Read doesn't get something done on this front then his "days are numbered."

  • The CEO of Israeli operator Bezeq, Dudu Mizrahi, is to step down after nearly four years at the helm. Mizrahi, who has been with the company for more than 20 years, will continue to serve as CEO until a replacement is found.

  • Cellnex, the Spanish towers company, says it has implemented 91% of its planned actions listed in its 2021-2025 sustainability masterplan in the last year. During 2021 Cellnex sought to underline its environmental credentials by, among other measures, committing to establishing specific emission reduction targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) aligned with the broader aim of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Centigrade.

  • Nokia has launched a 5G Open Lab in Seoul, South Korea, to accelerate the adoption of private wireless networks in the country. The lab is equipped with Nokia's 5G private wireless network gear, including its AirScale range. Digital Automation Cloud and MX Industrial Edge will also be added and cross-connected with the existing equipment by the third quarter of the year, says the Finnish vendor.

  • Proximity has announced the completion of Zayo's high-capacity dark fiber network at its edge colocation data center in Chester Gates near Manchester, UK. Zayo's dark fiber connection to Proximity Edge 4 at Chester Gates allows service providers to offer a range of low-latency services to businesses located in the Northwest of England.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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