A rally in European telecom stocks has closed the big valuation gap with U.S. peers seen nine months ago, boosted by hopes that regulators will allow more mergers in the industry as it starts to recover from the bruising recession.
A series of telecoms and cable industry deals this year has helped fuel speculation that competition regulators will loosen the leash on mobile firms wanting to merge to encourage the investment needed for Europe to catch up on building faster broadband networks.
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta has reportedly unveiled plans to set investment targets for the country’s telecoms sector to ensure it does not fall behind other parts of Europe.
According to a report from Reuters, Letta has appointed a group of telecoms and economics experts – including former Cable & Wireless (London, UK) chief executive Francesco Caio, French economist Gerard Pogorel, and former FCC advisor Scott Marcus – to produce a report on investment requirements by the end of the year.
Belgacom has announced that chief financial officer Ray Stewart and chairman Stefaan De Clerck will jointly assume chief executive responsibilities following the sacking of Didier Bellens last week.
Stewart and De Clerck are to lead the Belgian incumbent until a full-time replacement for Bellens has been found.
The operator’s board of directors appears to have recruited an external headhunting agency to find a successor by drawing up a shortlist of qualified candidates.
China Mobile International, a unit of China Mobile, has launched an application it hopes will win business from millions of overseas Chinese and others communicating with China.
The app, Jego, allows anyone outside China with an Android or iOS smartphone and a data connection to receive free incoming calls on a China Mobile (Beijing, China) number, if they have one, or via a rented number if they don't. They can also make cheap international calls using the app.
Shares in France's Iliad fell more than 4 percent after the low-cost telecoms operator founded by billionaire Xavier Niel reported slower growth at its mobile phone business Free.
Iliad said the number of new mobile customers fell to 640,000 in the third quarter from 720,000 in the second, suggesting that a price war with more established mobile operators is making it harder for Iliad's (Paris, France) Free Mobile service to lure away their customers.
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Russia’s MegaFon has flagged growth in revenue and profits on the back of rising demand for mobile data services and an increase in smartphone sales.
The operator – Russia’s third biggest after MTS (Moscow, Russia) and VimpelCom (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – said revenues for the three months ending September were up by 9%, to RUB77.5 billion ($2.37 billion), while net profit rose by 2.9%, to RUB15.3 billion, compared with the same period last year.
Portugal Telecom has reported drops in revenue and earnings for the three months ending September due to the weakness of the Brazilian real and a slump in domestic sales.
The Portuguese incumbent flagged an 11.3% fall in operating revenues, to €1.45 billion ($1.95 billion), and said net income plummeted by 66.4%, to just €21 million, between the third quarters of 2012 and 2013.
Portugal Telecom (Lisbon, Portugal) said its performance in its domestic market continued to be affected by intense competition and poor macroeconomic conditions.
Belgian telecoms companies Belgacom and Mobistar and Dutch KPN's BASE said on Tuesday they bought licences to operate super-fast 4G mobile services in Belgium for 120 million euros ($161.25 million) each.
The 20-year licences for 800 Megahertz (MHz) spectrum were auctioned by the Belgian telecoms regulator, which had already said at the start of October that there were three bidders for three licences.
T-Mobile US Inc is considering buying spectrum from an unidentified private party and would use some of the proceeds of a planned $2 billion share offering to finance such a deal, the company said in a regulatory filing on Tuesday.
On Monday, after the market close, the company announced an offering of up to roughly 72 million shares and said it could buy wireless airwaves using proceeds from the sale. The share sale could represent the fourth biggest secondary offering so far this year, according to Reuters data.