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Mobile services

Eurobites: Indian Write-Down Sends Vodafone to €6.1B Loss

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: SFR has a pop at Orange; Sparkle adds providers to Sicily hub; cable M&A action in northern Spain; Nokia hired for Rwandan smart city project.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) recorded a loss of €6.1 billion (US$6.7 billion) in the year to March 31, which is being partly attributed to a €5 billion ($5.5 billion) write-down of its Indian unit in the face of fierce competition from new market entrant Reliance Jio, the Financial Times reports (subscription required). Shares in the group still rose 3.5% in Tuesday morning trading, however, as Vodafone raised its guidance for underlying or "organic" profit growth to a figure in the range of 4%-8%. Group revenue for the year decreased by 4.4% to €47.6 billion ($52.6 billion), partly because of foreign exchange movements. A full breakdown of the figures can be found here. (See Jio Piles Further Pressure Onto Indian Old Guard .)

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) says that rival French operator SFR has filed a lawsuit against it, Reuters reports. The plaintiff is demanding a bigger share of Orange's fiber network, but a spokesman for Orange said that the existing agreement between the two operators had already been ratified by the regulator and the government.

  • Telecom Italia Sparkle , the international services arm of the Italian incumbent, has welcomed two new service providers to its Sicily Hub in Palermo. Expanding their reach in Europe and beyond with new points of presence are Zajil, a Kuwaiti outfit, and Pakistan's PCTL.

  • There's cable M&A action in northern Spain, with Basque market leader Euskaltel making an offer of around 700 million euros ($770 million) for rival Telecable, which has its heartland in the Asturias region. As Reuters reports, Telecable is owned by investment firm Zegona, and Zegona will retain a 15% stake in the combined company should the deal go through.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) is to partner with the Rwandan government to drive the rollout of "smart city" technology in the African nation, in a project that will encompass applications dealing with issues such as public safety, waste management and healthcare. Nokia will collaborate with local development organization SRG on the project.

  • On another front there's good and bad news for Nokia: The good news is that Nokia is still the most valuable Finnish brand, with an estimated worth of €4.4 billion ($4.8 billion); the bad news is that in 2008, when men were men and Nokia mobile phones ruled the world, the brand was worth €22.5 billion ($24.9 billion). The figures come from UK firm Brand Finance, and are cited by Finnish website YLE.

  • Belgium's Proximus is to take its trial of Tessares' Multipath TCP (MPTCP) hybrid technology -- which combines the speeds of existing fixed (DSL) and mobile (4G/LTE) networks -- nationwide, with a view to commercial launch later this year.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has upgraded its Speedport Smart home router so that it's more in tune with the "smart home." As well as your common-or-garden WiFi, the router now supports the DECT ULE cordless standard, enabling, says DT, the integration of smoke detectors, thermostats and other smart home accoutrements.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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