Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: VEON's tribulations with GTH continue; my brand's bigger than yours; EdgeConnex expands in Europe; Telia wants slice of enterprise SD-WAN action.
Vodacom Pty. Ltd. saw service revenue in its core South African market slip by 0.9% year-on-year in the quarter ended December 31, 2018, to 13.93 billion South African Rand (US$1 billion), despite overall group revenues rising 1.5% to ZAR22.97 billion ($1.66 billion). In a statement, group CEO Shameel Joosub said that domestic service revenue was hit by the effects of the operator's "pricing transformation strategy," which saw the introduction of lower-priced bundled offers during 2018. On the international front, however, the continuing popularity of the M-Pesa mobile payment platform and the ongoing explosion of data usage helped service revenue increase in that sector by 13.2%
VEON's difficulties with its GTH subsidiary continue, as the emerging-markets operator revealed that it was considering whether to take GTH private. Made up the networks formerly owned by Orascom, an Egyptian operator that VEON bought in 2010 (when it was known as VimpelCom), GTH today operates networks across Algeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Amsterdam-headquartered VEON, whose biggest market is Russia, owned 57.69% of GTH in the 2017 fiscal year, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and had seen Egyptian authorities frustrate its efforts to buy out minority shareholders, it said. In a statement published this week, VEON said it had not been able to obtain the necessary guidance from the Egyptian Financial Regulatory Authority to allow it to proceed with its plans to take GTH private. VEON also said it would engage with other stakeholders to reach a solution. The update comes shortly after VEON was revealed to have scrapped its digital platform -- a move that will lead to about 200 job losses at the company. (See VEON to Close London Office, Cut Jobs After Digital Disaster.)
What's the best telecom brand in Europe? Well, it seems to be a case of "you pays your money and you take your choice." According to Fortune magazine, Telefónica is the "most highly valued" European telco, ranking third globally in the telecom bit of its annual ranking of "The World's Most Admired Companies" (behind AT&T and Verizon). But just hold your Spanish horses: Over in Germany, Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has been rated the "most valuable European telecommunications brand" by an outfit called Brand Finance Global 500, achieving a "brand value" of $46.26 billion. Want to see some bad branding? Course you do!
EdgeConneX Inc. , a data center operator with facilities in the Americas and Europe, has acquired a new facility in Munich, its ninth in Europe. As part of the deal, existing network service providers and customers will continue to operate critical network and peering infrastructure at the data center, which is located at Landsberger Strasse 155.
Sweden's Telia Company has joined the Next Generation Enterprise Network Alliance (ngena) , with the intention of offering ngena's managed SD-WAN services to Telia's enterprise customers in the Nordic and Baltic countries.
Huawei heebie-jeebies latest: Reuters reports that Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd can still bid for "sensitive" contracts in the UK, according to a government minister; however, high-profile royal charity The Prince's Trust has ruled out accepting any more donations from the Chinese vendor, says the FT (subscription required); and in France, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told parliament that the government is "aware of the risks [of using Huawei technology] … and will take the necessary steps when needed." (See Eurobites: Now Germany Gets the Huawei Heebie-Jeebies, Orange Rules Out Huawei for 5G in France and Where Huawei Fears to Tread.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading