Posts filed under ‘Europe’
French communications and entertainment group Vivendi reported a 23.7% year-on-year rise in consolidated revenues (22.1% at constant currency) to EUR6.5 billion (USD8.83 billion), as a result of strong performance from the likes of telecoms arm SFR and expected synergies delivered following recent acquisitions. Group EBITDA reached EUR1.4 billion, an increase of 15.8% (13.8% at constant currency) compared to the first quarter of 2008. Vivendi said adjusted net income was EUR649 million, down EUR48 million compared to the first quarter of 2008, mainly due to the increasing interest and share of earnings attributable to minority interests. Nonetheless, the company confirmed its 2009 outlook for strong growth of EBITA.
SFR’s revenues increased to EUR3.028 billion in the three months ended 31 March 2009, up by 31.5% compared to the same period in 2008, due to the consolidation of neuf Cegetel since 15 April 2008. On a comparable basis, SFR’s revenues decreased by 0.8% y-o-y, although excluding the impact of the decrease in switched voice revenues and equipment sales, SFR revenues increased by 1.4%, it said. Mobile turnover generated EUR2.181 billion in sales which Vivendi said was ‘stable’ due to a EUR22 million decrease in equipment sales to EUR77 million. Mobile service revenues, however, rose 1.2% year-on-year to EUR2.104 billion, driven by growth of the customer base and a sharp (36%) rise in data revenues following the launch of unlimited SMS and MMS offers, and strong development of mobile internet services in the mass market and enterprise segments. SFR added 118,000 net new mobile customers in January-March, equivalent to 51% of net additions in the period. Furthermore, SFR reported an improvement in its customer mix (+3.5 percentage points year-on-year to 69.6%), adding 178,000 new post-paid customers in the period to achieve 13.76 million contract customers at the end of March 2009. SFR launched the iPhone on 8 April, and says it has already sold 120,000 handsets.
SFR (including neuf Cegetel) reported broadband internet and fixed revenues of EUR934 million in 1Q09, down 2.7% compared to the same period in 2008 on a comparable basis. Broadband internet and fixed revenues increased by 2.3%, excluding the impact of the decrease in switched voice revenues. Aided by the launch of the ‘neufbox by SFR’, SFR added 163,000 net new broadband internet active customers in the period (or >30% of all quarterly net additions). At the end of March 2009 SFR’s broadband subscriber base totalled 4.042 million, up 9.3% compared to the same period in 2008. In addition, SFR had 164,000 Enterprise data links connected to the SFR network, 10.1% higher than a year earlier. SFR’s broadband internet and fixed EBITDA, including neuf Cegetel’s operations since 15 April 2008, decreased by EUR19 million on a comparable basis to EUR133 million.
British ad-funded mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Blyk has refuted claims that it is planning to discontinue its commercial retail services, Mobile Marketing Magazine reports. Blyk was responding to reports by another UK-based media outlet that said the operator was preparing the closure of its direct-to-consumer business in order to focus on operator partnerships. It is understood, however, that rather than exiting the consumer space, the MVNO plans to add a partnership model. A Blyk spokesperson, Ann Sarimo, was quoted as saying: ‘We are not closing shop. We are actively expanding, and we are in negotiations with partners right now. Our members are our core asset. Our total proposition is partly based on the advertising side of things, but it’s also about the whole user experience and audience management. We are not just a technology solution, we are a total mobile marketing solution, based in part on the advertising and messaging component, but it’s very much about a total experience and an audience of happy, engaged users.’
While Blyk originally offered 16-24 year olds 217 free texts and 43 minutes of free talk time each month in return for accepting targeted advertising on their phone each day, the company did change its model in January 2009. It now offers its customers GBP15 (USD22.8) free credit per month which can be used for either text messaging or voice calls.
Financial Times Deutschland reports that mobile operators Vodafone Germany and T-Mobile Deutschland may back down from their position that they would not sell Nokia handsets with the Voice-over-IP (VoIP) programme Skype included. The service currently allows users to make telephone calls for free, or more cheaply than traditional telephone providers. Both operators have said that they are looking into offering special tariffs for mobile VoIP use instead of blocking the services, which have been available for their mobile internet customers for six weeks.
T-Mobile announced in early April 2009 it would not allow its customers to use the new Skype application designed specifically for Apple’s iPhone. T-Mobile spokesperson, Alexander von Schmettow, said: ‘It is clearly stated in our customer contracts that such services may not be used. There are two reasons for this – because the high level of traffic would hinder our network performance, and because if the Skype programme didn’t work properly, customers would make us responsible for it.’
Expenditure on mobile advertising in the UK exceeded market expectation in 2008 and grew 99.2 percent year-on-year to reach a total of GBP 28.6 million, according to a study by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Investment in mobile advertising grew at a faster rate than predicted as more UK brands invested in the medium due to its exceptional targeting, immediacy and return on investment. Mobile display advertising, which includes banners, text links, tenancies pre/post roll and in-game, accounted for GBP 14.2 million in 2008, 49.8 percent of all mobile advertising spend. Paid-for search advertising on mobile internet was estimated to account for GBP 14.4 million, 50.2 percent of all mobile advertising spend. In 2008, online advertising rose to GBP 3.35 billion, accounting for 19.2 percent of all advertising spend. A bigger audience is a key driver for the growth, where mobile internet usage increased in 2008 from 8.6 million in December 2007 to over 11 million in December 2008, and people on unlimited data plans has grown by a massive 109 percent in 2008. Other key drivers include advertising on mobile phones, social networking driving growth of mobile internet usage, better and smarter handsets, growth in mobile departments and mobile advertising knowledge in the market. This survey represents solely mobile media spend, and therefore do not include mobile marketing expenditure such as SMS or MMS production and delivery costs.
Greek telecommunica group Cosmote has reportedly reached an agreement with Saudi Oger over the takeover of Romanian mobile operator Zapp, Business Standard Romania reports. Cosmote will pay a “little over” EUR 200 million for 100 percent of Telemobil shares, the company that owns Zapp Romania, and is expected to sign the deal next month. With this acquisition, Cosmote aims to obtain Zapp’s 3G licence for its Romanian subsidiary Cosmote Romania, which is the only Romanian mobile operator without a UMTS concession.
Telenor Denmark acquired mobile service provider BiBoB for DKK 93 million. The acquisition strengthens Telenor’s position via its subsdiary Sonofon on the Danish mobile market, adding 69,000 customers. The acquisition will not affect BiBoBs customers or employees, and BiBoB will remain a separate brand focussing on low-cost mobile services. The acqusition does not need approval from the Danish competition authority and has been completed. Sonofon had 1.833 million mobile customers on 31 March of this year.
Georgian cellco MagtiCom has launched a mobile WiMAX service for residential and business customers, according to a press release by Cisco. MagtiCom, which is 50.1% owned by US-based Metromedia International Group, is deploying an internet protocol next-generation network (IP NGN) supplied by Cisco, that integrates mobile voice and WiMAX services into a single network. MagtiCom currently offers broadband internet via WiMAX in ten cities across the country including the capital, Tbilisi. By the end of 2009 it plans to cover all major cities and regional areas of Georgia with WiMAX broadband services. Kaan Terzioglu, vice president of Cisco for Eastern Europe, said: ‘WiMAX is an ideal technology for providing vast territories with mobile internet access. Citizens and companies across Georgia can now enjoy the benefits of connectivity, be it for business, education, health care or new online services.’