Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EE revenue slips in Q3; Deutsche Telekom pondering Dutch sale; Swisscom brings mobile services to CERN.
Sky has reported a strong set of results for its fiscal first quarter, with a 6% year-on-year increase in group revenue to £2.8 billion (US$4.3 billion) and a 10% increase in operating profit to £375 million ($579.5 million). One of the few blots on the landscape was the performance in Italy, where operating profit was down 24% to £25 million ($38.6 million) and 37,000 customers were lost. Sky blamed challenging economic conditions and the loss of Champions League soccer rights in Italy for the disappointing figures there. In the UK, Sky's sports channels seem to be withstanding the challenge of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which has stumped up a small fortune to pinch the rights to Champions League soccer matches. (See BT, Sky Splash £5.1B on Premier League Rights.)
Operating revenue at EE slipped 0.6% year-on-year in the third quarter, to £1.51 billion ($2.33 billion), though that figure includes the effect of regulatory measures. Its postpaid ARPU (average revenue per user) was also down 3.1% from a year ago, to £28 ($43.27). However, the operator, which is in the process of being acquired by BT, is pleased with its progress on the 4G front, pointing to a 4G customer base that is up 1.7 million in the quarter to 12.6 million, the largest such customer base in Europe.
The Netherlands is also an issue for Nordic operator Tele2 AB (Nasdaq: TLTO). In its third-quarter results, Tele2 recorded a drop in EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization), from 1.68 billion Swedish kronor ($202 million) in the year-ago quarter to SEK1.59 billion ($191 million) this time around, and it pointed a finger at its Dutch operation, where poor EBITDA figures dented the overall performance of the group.
Belgium's Proximus has settled its long-running legal row with BASE and Mobistar SA over termination rates. Proximus is paying €66 million ($74.9 million) to BASE and €54 million ($61.3 million) to Mobistar to bring the matter to a close.
There are some places where you can't stick your head out of the window to improve mobile reception -- and the CERN nuclear research center in Geneva is one of them. Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has won the contract to provide mobile voice and data services at CERN, which is known for its massive subterranean caverns and tunnels, where boffins like to smash atoms together and do other things that the simple folk at Eurobites Towers don't really understand. The operator will use 14 outdoor antennae and 46 indoor cells to provide the network.