Telecom New Zealand and Vodafone have picked up the majority of management rights to the country's 700 megahertz spectrum as competition heats up to bring high-speed 4G broadband services to users in rural areas.
Telecom (Auckland, New Zealand), the country's largest telecom company, and Vodafone (Auckland, New Zealand) successfully bid on the maximum three lots of 2x15 megahertz lots for NZ$66 million ($54.55 million) each, while mobile phone operator 2degrees secured two lots of 2x10 MHz bandwidth.
Croatian incumbent Hrvatski Telekom has filed an application to participate in an auction of 800MHz airwaves that regulatory authorities failed to sell a year ago.
The operator – controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom (Bonn) – was one of two companies to win a 2x10MHz block of 800MHz spectrum during an auction in October 2012, paying €20 million ($27.6 million) for its license.
Rival operator Vipnet, the other license winner, also paid €20 million for its concession, but the remaining 2x10MHz block remained unsold at the auction’s conclusion.
Austria's telecoms watchdog will hold a hearing of complaints by operators about the 2 billion euro ($2.8 billion) auction for fourth-generation frequencies, which was criticized for being too expensive.
The 4G auction in Europe's most price-competitive telecoms market raised four times the minimum set by the regulator and was the most expensive in Europe per head of population.
French telecoms incumbent Orange has reported a slump in earnings and revenues for the three months ending September, with regulation and competition weighing heavily on the operator in its economically challenged European heartlands.
The operator witnessed a 4% drop in revenues, to €10.16 billion ($14 billion), and saw restated earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fall by 7%, to €3.37 billion, in its third quarter.
Telekom Austria may have to risk its credit rating, which it said earlier this year was its top priority, to raise debt for a costly frequency auction, its chief executive said.
The company said late on Monday it would pay 1.03 billion euros ($1.41 billion) to buy half the spectrum on offer in an auction for Austrian fourth-generation frequencies, almost three times as much as most analysts had expected.
UK operator EE says it has now signed up nearly 1.2 million 4G customers less than a year after first launching services, while reporting a decline in revenues for the three months ending September.
The company’s 4G progress means it has easily beaten an end-of-year target of capturing one million customers and now covers about 60% of the UK’s population with the high-speed technology.
Rivals Telefonica (Slough, UK) and Vodafone (Newbury, UK) launched 4G services at the end of August but have yet to extend networks outside a handful of the country’s biggest cities.
Spanish telecoms incumbent Telefonica has acknowledged it is exploring “strategic alternatives” for its Czech subsidiary in a stock exchange filing.
The statement came in response to press speculation that Telefonica (Madrid, Spain) is planning to sell its 70% stake in Telefonica Czech Republic in a deal that could raise as much as $3.6 billion for the debt-burdened Spanish operator, based on the subsidiary’s current market value.
UK operator Vodafone says it will extend 4G services to Liverpool, Glasgow and Manchester this month and claims to have signed up more than 100,000 customers since it began offering the service in late August.
The company plans to switch on its 4G network in Liverpool on October 17, activate services in Glasgow on October 24 and add Manchester to the list soon after that.
Last month, Vodafone (Newbury, UK) launched 4G services in the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield, having made services available in London in late August.
Australian telecoms incumbent Telstra says more than 3.2 million 4G devices are now operating on its network just two years after it first launched the high-speed technology.
Telstra’s (Melbourne, Australia) ability to convert customers to 4G looks impressive considering that UK operator EE (Hatfield) – which provides services in a much bigger market, in terms of population, but over a much smaller geographical area – took ten months to sign up one million 4G customers despite being a monopoly provider of the technology over that period.
Middle Eastern telecoms operator Zain Bahrain has signed a managed-services deal with Ericsson as it looks to free up resources for investment in higher-end services and offerings.
The four-year agreement will see the operator transfer responsibility to Ericsson (Stockholm, Sweden) for handling the day-to-day operations of its network.
Similar deals have been struck in other parts of the world as companies try to improve their operating efficiency and focus efforts on improving their service offerings.