Mobile services

Eurobites: Hutchison Rules Out Further Concessions on 3/O2 Deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sky profits up 12%; Orange completes DRC acquisition; Tele2 sees profits slip in Q1.

  • Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY) does not intend to make any further concessions to win approval for the proposed merger of Three UK and Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), despite the negative vibes coming out from both the UK and European antitrust authorities on the matter, reports Reuters. Hutchison has offered to sell space on the combined network to MVNOs as a way of maintaining competition in the UK mobile market, but the UK's Competition & Markets Authority was not swayed by the move, and the European Commission antitrust wonks are reportedly similarly unimpressed. Fearing the worst, Telefónica has already been casting about for alternative buyers, according to reports. (See Eurobites: O2/3 Deal Facing EU Veto and Telefónica Eyes Alternative Buyers for UK Biz – Report.)

  • Pan-European pay-TV giant Sky saw revenues increase by 5% to £8.71 billion (US$12.54 billion) in the first nine months of the year, the only blot on the landscape being Italy, where revenues actually slipped 2%, as customer numbers fell away during the first half of the fiscal year. Operating profit was up 12% overall, to £1.14 billion ($1.64 billion). Average revenue per user (ARPU) figures held steady, at £47 ($67) a month in the UK, €35 ($39) in Germany and Austria, and €42 ($47) in Italy. The operator spent £15 million ($21.5 million) promoting its fancy-dan new set-top box, Sky Q, during the most recent quarter. (See Eurobites: OTT Feel for Sky's New Set-Top.)

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has completed its acquisition of Tigo, a mobile operator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The DRC has a population of more than 80 million and a mobile penetration rate of just 50% of the population, so the potential for growth is clear. The recent collapse of its takeover talks with domestic rival Bouygues has probably forced Orange to focus more strongly on growth opportunities away from its home turf. (See End of the Bouygues Affair for Orange.)

  • Nordic operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO) saw first-quarter net sales slip nearly 1% year-on-year to 6.44 billion Swedish kronor ($794 million), while EBITDA fell 14.1% to SEK1.22 billion ($150 million). Last year Tele2's Norwegian unit was sold to Swedish rival Telia Company .

  • Everynet, a UK-based LoRaWAN specialist, has launched an IoT interoperability lab. Devices from Microchip and Flashnet and an application platform from Teezle have already been put through their paces. Everynet is a member of the LoRa Alliance . (See Everynet Launches IoT Interoperability Lab.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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