Eurobites: VMO2 points finger at rivals over handset charges

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia lands 5G deal in Jordan; TIM hopes for better Netco bids; Telefonica yacht is all at sea.

Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe

May 5, 2023

3 Min Read
Eurobites: VMO2 points finger at rivals over handset charges

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia lands 5G deal in Jordan; TIM hopes for better Netco bids; Telefonica yacht is all at sea.

  • UK converged operator Virgin Media O2 is making a fresh bid to cast itself as a consumer champion, accusing its mobile rivals of a "smartphone swindle." The "swindle" in question relates to how, in VMO2's eyes, rivals EE, Three and Vodafone keep their customers on traditional phone contracts that bundle airtime with the notional cost of the handset, even when the initial contract has expired. This practice, says VMO2, could be costing UK consumers £1.4 million (US$1.7 million) a day, and particularly affects those on lower incomes and the elderly. VMO2 is calling on its rivals to introduce "split contracts" (which bill separately for airtime and the handset), automatically "roll down" customers onto an airtime-only plan when their minimum term has expired and inform customers once they've paid off the cost of their handset. Figure 1: (Source: Maureen McLean/Alamy Stock Photo) (Source: Maureen McLean/Alamy Stock Photo)

    • Less controversially, VMO2 has introduced a new Flex scheme for small businesses, which allows business customers to adjust their Voom fiber broadband package once every 30 days, according to their usage needs.

    • Nokia has landed a 5G RAN deal with Orange Jordan, which will see the Finnish vendor supplying equipment from its AirScale range and its NetAct network management system. Orange Jordan aims to provide 5G services to half of the population within four years, followed by 5% year-over-year growth thereafter.

    • After reviewing rival bids for its fixed network infrastructure from a CDP/Macquarie/Real Assets (Europe) consortium and investment firm KKR, Telecom Italia (TIM) has decided they are "not yet adequate" and, in the light of the bidders hinting at the possibility of an improved bid, have offered a new deadline of June 9 for an improved bid. (See Telecom Italia is how other telcos fear they may one day look.)

    • The boss of chipmaker Broadcom is visiting Brussels today (Friday) in an attempt to sweet-talk the EU's antitrust stormtroopers into seeing its proposed takeover of server virtualization specialist VMware in a more positive light. As Reuters reports, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan will present his case to a star chamber that includes the EU's deputy director general for mergers, Guillaume Loriot, among others. Last month the EU formally told Broadcom that the proposed $61 billion deal may restrict competition in the market for certain components which can interoperate with VMware's software. (See Eurobites: European Commission casts doubt on Broadcom-VMware deal.)

    • BT has agreed a deal with Five9, a contact-center software company, to resell Five9's Intelligent CX Platform as part of the products and services it offers to the contact-center market. BT customers will be able to choose from a range of Five9 options, including digital engagement channels, analytics, workflow automation and optimization.

    • Telco CEOs are always banging on about choppy waters and headwinds so it seems somehow appropriate that Telefonica Black, an ocean-going yacht bearing the Spanish operator's logo that once took part in the Volvo Round the World race and is now used to offer exciting sailing experiences to the general public and for corporate "team bonding" days, came a-cropper yesterday (Thursday) in less-than-friendly British weather. As the Island Echo reports, the yacht suffered a broken mast and a rope wrapped around its propellor while being buffeted in the sea just off the Isle of Wight, which, as regular readers may be aware, is the unlikely spiritual home of Eurobites. The yacht had to be towed to safety by the brave volunteer crew of the Bembridge lifeboat.

      — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Paul Rainford

Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

Paul is 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.

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

During the noughties Paul 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 accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.

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