Pan-European cable company Liberty Global has announced a $23.3 billion acquisition of the UK’s Virgin Media that looks set to shake up the country’s telecoms, broadband and pay-TV markets.
The transaction includes a mixture of cash and Liberty Global (Amsterdam, Netherlands) shares and values Virgin Media (Hook, UK) at $47.87 a share – 24% higher than its closing price on February 4.
The deal will increase Liberty Global’s customer base to 25 million and give the company a major presence in one of Europe’s biggest markets.
Sweden’s Tele2 reported a 57% fall in net profit for the fourth quarter, to SEK565 million ($89 million), as rising costs and higher taxes ate into sales.
Revenues at the company – which operates across a number of European markets – rose by 3.9% to SEK11.3 billion.
“Tele2 [Stockholm, Sweden] continued to show sustainable revenue and subscriber growth during the fourth quarter of 2012, although profitability was below our expectations,” said Mats Granryd, the company’s president and chief executive.
A Spanish mobile application that pays users up to 25 euros ($34) a month to send messages to friends if they accept advertising may erode telephone operators' revenue as customers switch to free messaging services.
Barcelona-based Chad2Win has attracted close to 100,000 users, who receive one cent for every advertisement they see, and three cents for every ad they click on, since its launch last month, director Fernando Troyano told Reuters.
Middle Eastern operator Etisalat has struck an agreement with managed services provider Pacific Controls aimed at helping customers to reduce their energy consumption and costs.
The two companies say they will offer M2M sustainable development applications to clients across Etisalat’s (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) footprint of 15 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Three, the UK’s smallest network operator, has announced bold plans to make its forthcoming 4G services available to customers on existing price plans for no extra charge.
The move would mark a radical break with industry practice so far: most European operators are pricing 4G at a premium to older 3G services, requiring customers to sign up to new terms and conditions.
Lars Nyberg has quit his role as chief executive of TeliaSonera following criticism of the company’s activities in Uzbekistan.
Chief financial officer Per-Arne Blomquist has been appointed acting chief executive, but a board shake-up is likely to result in further departures, according to chairman Anders Narvinger, who told a news conference the operator’s situation is “troublesome”.
A sales recovery at Ericsson's key networks unit raised hopes on Thursday the world's top mobile telecom gear maker is beginning to shake off the global downturn.
Ericsson's (Stockholm, Sweden) biggest business, which builds mobile networks, showed fourth-quarter sales growth - the first rise in more than a year - helping the company as a whole to post year on year sales up 5 percent. Margins in the unit also rose from the previous quarter.
Mobile phone operators Vodafone and Three have asked British regulator Ofcom for permission to re-use their existing airwaves for 4G services, following in the footsteps of larger rival EE.
Britain got superfast mobile broadband late last year, long after countries such as the United States and Japan, when Ofcom allowed EE (London, UK) to run 4G services over its allocated spectrum.
Ofcom said on Friday it had started a consultation over liberalizing more of the spectrum that was previously licensed for 2G and 3G mobile services in response to the requests.
An external committee appointed by African mobile phone group MTN to investigate claims by rival Turkcell of corrupt dealings in Iran has dismissed the allegations as "a fabric of lies, distortions and inventions".
The committee, chaired by retired British judge Lord Hoffmann, also found nothing to support claims that MTN (Johannesburg, South Africa) had promised to get the South African government to supply Iran with defense equipment in exchange for a telecoms operating license.
UK fixed-line incumbent BT reported a disappointing 6% fall in third-quarter sales, to £4.5 billion ($7.1 billion), as tough economic conditions, adverse regulation and dwindling revenues from line rentals and calls all took their toll.
Although pre-tax profit was 7% higher than a year earlier, at £675 million, the increase was partly attributed to “the reduced cost of sales due to the decline in revenue”, plus lower depreciation and amortisation charges as the company reins in capital expenditure.