Mobile services

Eurobites: India Turns Up Tax Heat on Vodafone

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telefónica tackles IoT security; Virgin Media's fourth quarter; Telecom Italia's three-year grand plan.

  • Indian authorities have warned Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) that it may face its assets in India being seized if it doesn't pay a 142 billion rupee ($2.1 billion) tax bill, according to a Bloomberg report. The dispute relates to Vodafone's $11 billion acquisition, completed in 2007, of a 67% stake in mobile operator Hutchinson Essar. Ironically, just yesterday Vodafone was trumpeting how much it contributes to public coffers in the countries where it operates. (See Vodafone's $554M India Bill and India to Vodafone: $2.5B Please.)

  • Telefónica 's cybersecurity arm, ElevenPaths, will be giving what it claims is the first technology to specifically target cyber attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT) its first public airing at Mobile World Congress next week. Called Faast, the technology allows companies to continually scan IoT devices connected to the organization, detecting vulnerabilities.

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), the cable operator owned by Liberty Global, added a record 55,000 UK customers in the fourth quarter in the UK, though things aren't so rosy in its Irish market, where it shed 6,200 customers. Average revenue per user (ARPU) was up in both territories, however, to £49.74 ($71.72) a month in the UK and to €54.37 ($60.68) in Ireland. For the two countries combined, fourth-quarter cable revenues were up 3.1%, to £818.2 million ($1.18 billion), but mobile revenues slumped by 9.3% to £112.8 million ($162.6 million). Last month Virgin announced that it was to cut 900 British jobs over two years as part of a restructuring plan. (See Eurobites: Virgin Media Trims UK Headcount.)

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) releases its annual results today, and we will have full details of them later. Yesterday, though, Telecom Italia's board met to approve the company's three-year strategic plan, which, among other things, promises investment of almost €12 billion ($13.4 billion) over the period and the availability of fiber broadband to 84% of the population.

  • Monaco Telecom has chosen OpenCloud Ltd. 's Sentinel voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) product for use in its virtualized network. OpenCloud, based in New Zealand, says the open nature of its technology will allow Monaco Telecom to develop service extensions without having recourse to the vendor.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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