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Eurobites: Vodafone Bolsters Top Team

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EU governments could face universal service bill for broadband; Proximus tightens belt in Q2; the joy of switching.

  • Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) has made a couple of key appointments: Serpil Timuray, who joined Vodafone Turkey as chief executive in 2009, becomes chief commercial operations and strategy officer for the entire group, while Vivek Badrinath steps into Timuray's shoes as chief executive for the group's Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific (AMAP) region. Many will be familiar with Badrinath from his time at Orange (NYSE: FTE), where he held several positions, culminating in deputy chief executive. Badrinath's move to Vodafone means that he must step down from his position on Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s board of directors.

  • All national governments within the European Union will be forced to foot the bill for guaranteed Internet access for their citizens, according to a EurActiv report. The website has obtained an internal EU document which, it says, proposes that governments rather than telcos will be mandated to pay for guaranteed Internet as part of "universal service" obligations.

  • Belgium's Proximus reported a year-on-year 1.7% rise in underlying group EBITDA to €463 million (US$516.4 million) in the second quarter, on underlying revenues of €1.46 billion ($1.62 billion). The operator manage to shrink operating expenses by 2.9% during the quarter, partly through the implementation of its voluntary early retirement program for its employees -- 1,855 full-timers have signed up to the program and will leave Proximus during the next five years.

  • Orange has been telling press and analysts what it's been up to in Africa and the Middle East, which includes the launch of Nomad, a customer authentication portal which is accessible via an Android app or via USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), and a new roaming deal for the Orange subscribers in the region. (See Orange Innovates in Africa & Middle East.)

  • UK regulator Ofcom has announced new proposals which it hopes will make it easier for fixed voice, broadband and pay-TV customers to switch providers. Switching between providers is often problematic -- Ofcom's research has found that 17% of consumers lost service for around a week, on average, during their switch. The regulator's preferred option places all the responsibility for coordinating the customer switch into the hands of the customer's new provider, though the alternative would see the consumer still having to contact their existing provider but not having to speak to them on the phone.

  • BT rivals TalkTalk , Vodafone and Sky have joined forces with the Federation of Communication Services to launch a campaign to force BT to split off its Openreach network access division. Called "Fix Britain's Internet," the lobby group wants consumers to tell the regulator that the status quo isn't good enough. (See BT Clings On to Openreach – Just.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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