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.
Operator spending on optical network equipment has fallen over the July-September period, despite an increase in spending on WDM equipment, according to a new study from Infonetics Research.
“In the third quarter of 2013, sales of WDM optical equipment are up 4% from a year ago and remain at elevated levels reached earlier in the year, but overall optical spending is down on a quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year basis,” said Andrew Schmitt, a principal analyst at Infonetics.
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.
UK operator BT has announced that Liv Garfield, the chief executive of its Openreach division, will step down in Spring 2014 to join water company Severn Trent.
Garfield has been responsible for overseeing a £2.5 billion ($4 billion) commercial rollout of fiber broadband services by Openreach, BT’s (London, UK) local access network business.
BT also says she played a “pivotal role” in developing the business case for that fiber deployment in her previous role as Group Strategy Director.
New Zealand’s Chorus has withdrawn its full-year dividend guidance, blaming the ongoing regulatory uncertainty over wholesale pricing for its move.
The company – which rents capacity on its broadband network to retail service providers, including Telecom New Zealand (Auckland, New Zealand) – had previously issued dividend guidance of NZD0.25 per share, but its financial plans have recently been thrown into disarray by regulatory proposals to lower the price of it services.
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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.
Britain's Vodafone will spend 7 billion pounds - more than expected and earlier than expected - to increase the speed and coverage of its networks and reverse a record fall in revenues resulting from its struggling European business.
The world's second-largest mobile operator, which is using some of the proceeds from the $130 billion sale of its U.S. arm to upgrade its infrastructure, said it would spend 3 billion pounds in Europe, 1.5 billion in its emerging markets and the rest on fixed-line assets, enterprise and its retail arm.