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Mobile services

Eurobites: Orange on the Up in Q1 (Just)

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EE trials programmable network in Scotland; Nokia buys health wearables company; TalkTalk launches non-subscription video streaming service.

  • First-quarter revenues inched up 0.6% year-on-year to €10 billion (US$11.2 billion) for Orange (NYSE: FTE), while underlying EBITDA (excluding the impact of an employee shareholding operation) was also up, by 0.3%, the operator claimed. The number of its 4G customers doubled year-on-year, to 20 million, while Orange fiber offerings are now worming their way into 2.22 million customer premises -- again, a doubling of the previous year's total. After a slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2015, mobile sales in Africa and the Middle East bounced back, with 1.6 million customers being added in these regions. Last week Orange signaled its intention to enter the European banking market by acquiring a 65% stake in France's Groupama Banque, claiming that research shows that a third of its customers have expressed an interest in opening a bank account with it. (See Eurobites: Orange Seals Bank Acquisition Deal.)

  • EE , the UK mobile operator now owned by BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), has teamed up with Lime Microsystems and Canonical Ltd. , two open source specialists, for an open source project with the University of Highlands and Islands in Scotland. The project will use Lime's programmable "network in a box" offering, which developers can configure to provide any wireless service for a mobile network, says EE.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) looks like it might be planning a return to the consumer products market through a €170 million ($194.4 million) acquisition of Withings, a French maker of health monitors, including wearables. Withings, which began life in 2008, has around 200 employees spread across France, the US and Hong Kong. It will become part of the Nokia Technologies business. (See Nokia to Acquire Withings for €170M.)

  • Swiss Re, the reinsurance giant, is climbing aboard Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM)'s Private Enterprise Cloud, allowing its 12,500 employees to, in theory, share data more quickly and more securely. The introduction of the private infrastructure and platform services (IaaS and PaaS) is a first step towards the provision of a hybrid cloud offer for Swiss Re, says Swisscom.

  • UK local loop unbundler TalkTalk has remodeled Blinkbox, the video streaming platform it acquired last year from retailing behemoth Tesco for £5 million ($7.5 million), to present its own subscription-free streaming offer, the TalkTalk TV Store. TalkTalk says its movies will be cheaper than those available via Amazon Prime, iTunes, Sky and BT, at £3.45 ($5.02) a pop. More than 7,000 movies and TV shows are available on the platform at launch, to TalkTalk customers and non-customers alike.

  • Elsewhere in TV land, France's Altice is launching a dedicated sports channel, reports Broadband TV News. At the same time, Altice subsidiary Numericable-SFR will acquire Altice's media assets, which include daily newspaper Liberation and NextRadioTV.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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