The GSMA has issued a fresh call for policy overhaul in the European mobile sector in a bid to bring the region up to speed with the world’s leading markets. Spectrum harmonisation, the removal of barriers to consolidation and freedom from close regulator control on pricing are essential to the sector’s improvement, the group said.
Norwegian operator Telenor is moving to consolidate its position in the Swedish broadband and television services sector with the acquisition of Tele2 Sweden’s fiber and cable business for SEK775m ($121.4m). Tele2 has some 370,000 households connected with fiber and cable, including 125,000 fixed broadband customers, 75,000 digital TV customers and 220,000 cable TV customers.
Spain’s Telefónica has confirmed that it is in discussions with Czech investment group PPF surrounding the sale of its Czech operation O2. In a stock market announcement following speculation in the financial press, Telefónica said that it is “exploring strategic options in relation to its stake in Telefónica Czech Republic, including conversations with investor group PPF, with nothing certain whether an agreement will be reached, or final terms and conditions.”
On September 2, 2013, Vodafone and Verizon announced that they had reached an agreement for Vodafone to sell its 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless back to Verizon for $130bn. Ovum believes that the deal is good for both parties, but that the decision to return 65 per cent of the proceeds from the sale back to shareholders is short-sighted. It may make Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao popular, but we don’t believe that he will have enough left to future proof the business.
US carrier Verizon Communications has confirmed that it is to acquire Vodafone’s US holdings, including the UK operator’s 45 per cent of Verizon Wireless for $130 billion, consisting primarily of cash and stock. The firm said that the deal had unanimous approval from both boards and will likely close in the first quarter of next year.
Vodafone put a price on the sale of its 45 per cent share in Verizon Wireless to Verizon in another short statement on Sunday, sizing the deal at $130bn (£83.4bn) in cash and common Verizon stock. While the firm described the talks as “advanced”, and despite reports on Sunday and Monday that the deal is all but done, a formal announcement has yet to be made.
Liberty Global shares rose sharply yesterday on speculation that Vodafone could use cash freed up by its exit from Verizon Wireless to acquire the international cable giant.
Mexican operator América Móvil has said that it is prepared to withdraw its €2.40/share bid for ownership of Dutch incumbent KPN after the independent KPN foundation exercised an option to buy shares that has given it almost 50 per cent of the voting rights in the telco.
Vodafone has confirmed that it is discussing the potential sale of its 45 per cent stake in US operator Verizon Wireless to JV partner Verizon Communications. Verizon’s desire to assume full control of the largest mobile operator in the US is well known and the deal has been the subject of speculation for the better part of a decade.
Singaporean incumbent operator Singtel is to up its stake in India’s Bharti Telecom to 39.78 per cent, taking its effective interest in Bharti Airtel, India’s largest mobile operator, to 32.34 per cent.
Russian operator Megafon has announced that it is to acquire domestic competitor Scartel, which operates an LTE network under the Yota brand, for $1.18bn. TeliaSonera, which holds 25.2 per cent of Scartel described the deal as “strategically attractive and value enhancing” for Megafon. Scartel is currently owned by Garsdale, a holding company of Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who also controls more than 50 per cent of Megafon.
Mexico based operator group América Móvil could increase its stake in European operator group KPN after ending a truce to cap its stake in the Dutch based firm.
Dutch incumbent KPN has confirmed that it is to sell its German mobile operation, E-Plus, to Spain’s Telefónica, which operates as O2 in the German market. Telefónica will pay €5bn in cash to KPN, which will also hold a 17.6 per cent stake in Telefónica Deutschland once the deal, subject to regulatory approval, has been completed.
German fixed broadband and TV operator Kabel Deutschland has confirmed that it has received an acquisition approach from international cable provider Liberty Global. The move follows an offer from Vodafone last week. No details on the size of either offer have been made public and the prospect of a bidding war now looms.
The CEO of Portuguese incumbent Portugal Telecom, which also holds 23.34 per cent of Brazilian player Oi, has voiced concern over Europe’s ability to continue to compete on the global telecoms stage if further consolidation among the operator community is not encouraged.
German operator group Deutsche Telekom has submitted what it says is a final offer for US operator MetroPCS. The firm hopes to persuade a number of MetroPCS’s shareholders that voiced objections to the terms of the initial bid.
Swedish operator group TeliaSonera will retain its Spanish subsidiary Yoigo as it has not received a suitable offer for the business from prospective buyers, the firm has said.
A while ago I was told by an executive from one of the big network equipment vendors that he had seen proof that a Chinese competitor was spoofing network performance in a competitive trial to try and win business. One conclusion can be drawn from this accusation, valid or not: Things are getting desperate in the infrastructure supply sector. Falsifying performance data would be a drastic act, after all—but then so would slandering the opposition.
Almost two thirds of the industry believes that greater consolidation is needed among mobile operators, with support emerging for the concept of single network markets, according to the latest research from Telecoms.com Intelligence.
Bengt Nordstrom, founder of industry consultancy NorthStream, shares a series of predictions for the mobile industry in 2013. In this second instalment he suggests that European regulators will become more open to consolidation among operators, helping to revitalise the European market.