Mobile services

Eurobites: Vivendi Tightens Its Grip on Telecom Italia

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Euro firms complain about the Internet's gatekeepers; Denmark's TDC has flat Q1; Salt peppers Switzerland with 4G.

  • French conglomerate Vivendi has tightened its hold on Telecom Italia (TIM) after fulfilling its ambition to appoint ten directors out of a possible 15 to the Italian company's board, Reuters reports. Vivendi is the largest stakeholder in Telecom Italia, holding a 24% chunk, but it has faced regulatory hurdles to its attempted stakebuilding in the telco. Vivendi had placed CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine at the top of its list of candidates for Telecom Italia's board, suggesting that it wants de Puyfontaine to replace Giuseppe Recchi as the Italian operator's chairman, though Reuters believes that today's board meeting is likely to confirm the current chairman, Giuseppe Recchi, in the role for now while Vivendi waits to hear a European ruling relating to its growing hold over Telecom Italia. (See Eurobites: Vivendi Fights Back After Italian Rebuff and Vivendi CEO Eyes Chairman Job at Telecom Italia.)

  • A group of disgruntled European Internet businesses, music streaming services Spotify and Deezer among them, have collaborated on a letter to the European Commission to complain about how the really big Internet platforms (no names, no pack drill) "abuse their privileged position." As the Financial Times reports (subscription required), the letter grumbles that some operating systems and app stores have evolved sneakily from "gateways" to "gatekeepers."

  • Pernille Erenbjerg, group CEO and president of Denmark's TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC), declared her company's first-quarter results "satisfactory," even though earnings declined 0.9% year-on-year on revenue that edged up 0.7% to 5.2 billion Danish kroner (US$766 million). Erenbjerg pointed to the fact that there were 9% fewer calls to TDC's customer service desk in the first quarter as evidence that the operator was getting something right.

  • Domestic first-quarter revenues at Belgium's Proximus rose 3.2% year-on-year, to €1.11 billion ($1.21 billion), despite mobile revenue for the residential and enterprise sectors coming in at 3.1% below that of the year-earlier period. The operator's international wholesale business unit, BICS , reported EBITDA of €33 million ($36.1 million), a 6.4% decline on the previous year.

  • Salt SA , the Swiss mobile operator that used to be part of Orange, is trumpeting the fact that its 4G network now covers 97% of the Swiss population. It highlights the fact that, particularly in the country's Alpine areas, "strategic positioning" of antennas can help its network penetrate hard-to-reach areas.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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