Vodafone raises FY outlook as sales growth improves

Vodafone raises FY outlook as sales growth improves
(Telecompaper) Vodafone issued a strategy update alongside its interim results, saying it will focus more on data services as well as sell off some of its minority stakes. The first evidence of the strategy was the sale of its holding in Japanese operator Softbank for GBP 3.1 billion. The mobile operator’s new strategy continues some of the elements of the old, such as ‘Total Communications’ in Europe, expansion in enterprise services and growth in its emerging markets, while also highlighting the growing need to meet customers’ varying demands for data services and start new services such as M2M and mobile payments. The group will also keep its focus on cost control and capital discipline, and look to maximize its free cash flow, including from non-controlled assets such as Verizon Wireless and SFR. The company signalled the focus will be on its existing assets in Europe, Africa and India going forward, which all showed improved performances in the fiscal second quarter to September. Total revenues for the first half rose 3.9 percent to GBP 22.6 billion, and adjusted operating profit was up 2.7 percent to GBP 6.1 billion. EPS jumped 56 percent to 14.31p, helped by the gain on the sale of the China Mobile stake and the tax settlement in the UK, offset by an impairment charge of GBP 800 million for the Greek operations. After free cash flow of GBP 3.6 billion in the first half, Vodafone maintained its target for a full-year figure of at least GBP 6.5 billion. Thanks to the solid first-half sales performance in all three regions and the good results at Verizon Wireless, Vodafone raised its guidance for full-year adjusted operating profit to GBP 11.8-12.2 billion, from an earlier forecast of GBP 11.2-12.0 billion. EBITDA margins will be lower, but decline at a significantly lower rate than in the previous financial year. Capex for the second half is expected to be slightly higher than the GBP 2.4 billion spent in the first six months. For the three financial years to March 2014, the company targets organic revenue growth of 1-4 percent per year, stabilising Group EBITDA margins and free cash flow of GBP 6-7 billion per annum, supporting its earlier outlook for a 7 percent rise each year in the dividend.[Lees verder]

Symbian Foundation to focus on licensing
(Telecompaper) The Symbian Foundation announced plans to halt development work and focus purely on licensing of the mobile technology. The “seismic change” in the mobile market since the foundation was set up in 2008 has led to some funding members of the Symbian Foundation shifting their strategic focus. As a result “the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation – is no longer appropriate”, said Tim Holbrow, the foundation’s executive director. The first phase of the foundation’s transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers. By April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organisation’s licensing function. The change in structure sees much of the development work for Symbian returning to Nokia. Nokia reaffirmed its commitment to the Symbian platform and said it will continue to invest in development of the software. The announcement was made from the Symbian Exchange and Exposition, which starts 9 November in Amsterdam.[Lees verder]

Mozambique picks Movitel as third operator
(Telecompaper) Mozambique has selected a unit of Vietnam’s communications firm Viettel as its third mobile operator. Movitel, a unit of Viettel that includes a consortium of local investors, won the licence with a USD 29 million bid, the chairman of the National Institute of Communications, Isidore Pedro da Silva, told state television. Movitel beat two other bidders, namely TMM, a unit of Portugal Telecom, and UniTelecom, a joint venture between Angolan operator Unitel and Mozambique’s Energy Capital, Reuters reports. The winning bid was selected not solely on price, Da Silve said. UniTelecom put in a USD 33 million bid while TMM put in a USD 25 million bid. Originally, 22 firms bid for the licence.[Lees verder]

Docomo unveils LTE pricing, launch set for 24 Dec
(Telecompaper) NTT Docomo announced that it will launch its LTE service branded as Xi on 24 December. The service will initially offer download speeds of up to 75Mbps and upload up to 37.5Mbps, ten times faster than its current 3G network, and be available for use with computers via USB modem. The company expects to launch the first handsets and voice services in its next fiscal year, which starts in April 2011. An additional ExpressCard-type terminal for LTE, enabling mobile video streaming and live video conferencing at speeds similar to fibre connections, will launch in April next year. The Xi service initially will be available in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas, with other major cities and regions to be added thereafter. The data-only service will be available with two plans, Xi Data Plan Ninen and Xi Data Plan. The plans cost respectively JPY JPY 1,000 and JPY 2,470 for the first 3,177 KB of data, after which they are billed JPY 0.315 per KB up to 20,667 KB. After that customers pay respectively JPY 6,510 or JPY 7,980 for up to 5 GB a month. Over 5 GB, customers will be charged JPY 2,625 for each 2 GB. As a special introductory offer, the maximum monthly charge for unlimited data using Xi Data Plan Ninen will be JPY 4,935 through April 2012.[Lees verder]

TDC upgrades network to LTE with Ericsson
(Telecompaper) Danish operator TDC contracted Ericsson to upgrade its network to LTE. Under the terms of the deal, Ericsson will roll out a complete LTE network, including radio access and core network equipment, as well as managed services. This is Ericsson’s first full-scope managed service contract for an LTE/Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network. The contract includes radio access network with the RBS 6000 series, a complete Evolved Packet Core solution as well as the full scope of managed services. The roll-out of the network starts immediately. The contract builds on the existing strategic partnership between the two companies.[Lees verder]

Vodacom revenue growth improves to 2.9% in H1
(Telecompaper) African mobile operator Vodacom reported revenues for the six months to 30 September of ZAR 29.5 billion, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier thanks to a solid performance in its home market South Africa and a return to growth at its international operations. Service revenue was up 2.2 percent to ZAR 26.1 billion, helped by a 41 percent increase in data revenues to ZAR 2.9 billion. Revenues in South Africa were up 5.4 percent to ZAR 25.7 billion, while the international activities posted sales down 10.3 percent to ZAR 4.0 billion due to negative currency effects. At constant currencies, the international division grew revenues 4.5 percent in the second quarter. The company finished September with a total 34.9 million customers, after net additions in fiscal Q2 of 712,000 in South Africa and 1 million at the international activities. EBITDA improved 2.8 percent to ZAR 9.8 billion, and net profit jumped to ZAR 4.3 billion from ZAR 59 million a year earlier when the company had one-time impairment and tax charges. Operating free cash flow rose 21.8 percent to ZAR 6.6 billion, while capex was down 29.6 percent to ZAR 2.1 billion. Vodacom increased its interim dividend by 64 percent to 180 cents per share. Looking ahead, Vodacom said it expected increased voice and data usage as well as its cost reduction programme to help offset regulatory and competitive pressures. While capital expenditure is expected to accelerate in the second half, the full-year spend is expected to be lower at ZAR 6.8 billion.[Lees verder]

Orascom Telcom Q3 profit boosted by Mobinil gain
(Telecompaper) Orascom Telecom said its net profit for the nine months ended 30 September jumped 130 percent from a year earlier to USD 951 million, helped by USD 822 million in gains from its new shareholders agreement at Mobinil. Excluding the gain, third-quarter net profit from continuing operations was USD 112 million, with Mobinil now accounted for through the equity method, rather than fully consolidated. Orascom Telecom’s subscriber base increased 16 percent over the same period last year, to reach more than 103.3 million customers, versus 99.1 million in June. ARPU fell to USD 4.9 in the third quarter, from USD 5.8 in the same period last year and USD 5.0 in Q2. ARPU was negatively impacted by the depreciation of local currencies in Tunisia and Pakistan, while the floods in Pakistan hurt its growth there and damaged some of its infrastructure. Revenues for the first nine months of the year reached USD 3.1 billion, up 1.6 percent over the same period of 2009 as a result of strong growth in most GSM operations, with the exception of Algeria. The 8.9 percent decrease in Algerian operator Djezzy’s revenues was driven by the crisis in Q4 2009, as well as the inability to launch new promotions until the end of Q3 2010 and banning advertising on government-owned TV channels. EBITDA for the nine months was down 0.8 percent form a year ago to USD 1.33 billion. Capex fell 10.2 percent year-on-year to USD 457 million in the nine months, as higher spending in Bangladesh was offset by blocks on equipment imports in Algeria.[Lees verder]

American Tower, Cell C ink towers deal worth USD 430 mln
(Telecompaper) American Tower Corporation and South African mobile operator Cell C announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of up to 1,400 of Cell C’s existing towers, and up to 1,800 additional towers that are either under construction or will be constructed over the next two years, for an aggregate purchase price of up to USD 430 million. Cell C will be the anchor tenant on each of the towers being purchased. The two companies expect to close the sale of the existing towers by early next year, subject to customary closing conditions. American Tower CEO Jim Taiclet said South Africa provides a compelling investment opportunity, with strong demand for voice and advanced wireless data services. The newly established presence in South Africa is also expected to provide the company with a platform for future growth in the region.[Lees verder]

Vodafone raises FY outlook as sales growth improves
(Telecompaper) Vodafone issued a strategy update alongside its interim results, saying it will focus more on data services as well as sell off some of its minority stakes. The first evidence of the strategy was the sale of its holding in Japanese operator Softbank for GBP 3.1 billion. The mobile operator’s new strategy continues some of the elements of the old, such as ‘Total Communications’ in Europe, expansion in enterprise services and growth in its emerging markets, while also highlighting the growing need to meet customers’ varying demands for data services and start new services such as M2M and mobile payments. The group will also keep its focus on cost control and capital discipline, and look to maximize its free cash flow, including from non-controlled assets such as Verizon Wireless and SFR. The company signalled the focus will be on its existing assets in Europe, Africa and India going forward, which all showed improved performances in the fiscal second quarter to September. Total revenues for the first half rose 3.9 percent to GBP 22.6 billion, and adjusted operating profit was up 2.7 percent to GBP 6.1 billion. EPS jumped 56 percent to 14.31p, helped by the gain on the sale of the China Mobile stake and the tax settlement in the UK, offset by an impairment charge of GBP 800 million for the Greek operations. After free cash flow of GBP 3.6 billion in the first half, Vodafone maintained its target for a full-year figure of at least GBP 6.5 billion. Thanks to the solid first-half sales performance in all three regions and the good results at Verizon Wireless, Vodafone raised its guidance for full-year adjusted operating profit to GBP 11.8-12.2 billion, from an earlier forecast of GBP 11.2-12.0 billion. EBITDA margins will be lower, but decline at a significantly lower rate than in the previous financial year. Capex for the second half is expected to be slightly higher than the GBP 2.4 billion spent in the first six months. For the three financial years to March 2014, the company targets organic revenue growth of 1-4 percent per year, stabilising Group EBITDA margins and free cash flow of GBP 6-7 billion per annum, supporting its earlier outlook for a 7 percent rise each year in the dividend.[Lees verder]

Symbian Foundation to focus on licensing
(Telecompaper) The Symbian Foundation announced plans to halt development work and focus purely on licensing of the mobile technology. The “seismic change” in the mobile market since the foundation was set up in 2008 has led to some funding members of the Symbian Foundation shifting their strategic focus. As a result “the current governance structure for the Symbian platform – the foundation – is no longer appropriate”, said Tim Holbrow, the foundation’s executive director. The first phase of the foundation’s transition will involve a reduction in operations and staff numbers. By April 2011, the Symbian Foundation will be governed by a group of non-executive directors tasked with overseeing the organisation’s licensing function. The change in structure sees much of the development work for Symbian returning to Nokia. Nokia reaffirmed its commitment to the Symbian platform and said it will continue to invest in development of the software. The announcement was made from the Symbian Exchange and Exposition, which starts 9 November in Amsterdam.[Lees verder]

Mozambique picks Movitel as third operator
(Telecompaper) Mozambique has selected a unit of Vietnam’s communications firm Viettel as its third mobile operator. Movitel, a unit of Viettel that includes a consortium of local investors, won the licence with a USD 29 million bid, the chairman of the National Institute of Communications, Isidore Pedro da Silva, told state television. Movitel beat two other bidders, namely TMM, a unit of Portugal Telecom, and UniTelecom, a joint venture between Angolan operator Unitel and Mozambique’s Energy Capital, Reuters reports. The winning bid was selected not solely on price, Da Silve said. UniTelecom put in a USD 33 million bid while TMM put in a USD 25 million bid. Originally, 22 firms bid for the licence.[Lees verder]

Docomo unveils LTE pricing, launch set for 24 Dec
(Telecompaper) NTT Docomo announced that it will launch its LTE service branded as Xi on 24 December. The service will initially offer download speeds of up to 75Mbps and upload up to 37.5Mbps, ten times faster than its current 3G network, and be available for use with computers via USB modem. The company expects to launch the first handsets and voice services in its next fiscal year, which starts in April 2011. An additional ExpressCard-type terminal for LTE, enabling mobile video streaming and live video conferencing at speeds similar to fibre connections, will launch in April next year. The Xi service initially will be available in the Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka areas, with other major cities and regions to be added thereafter. The data-only service will be available with two plans, Xi Data Plan Ninen and Xi Data Plan. The plans cost respectively JPY JPY 1,000 and JPY 2,470 for the first 3,177 KB of data, after which they are billed JPY 0.315 per KB up to 20,667 KB. After that customers pay respectively JPY 6,510 or JPY 7,980 for up to 5 GB a month. Over 5 GB, customers will be charged JPY 2,625 for each 2 GB. As a special introductory offer, the maximum monthly charge for unlimited data using Xi Data Plan Ninen will be JPY 4,935 through April 2012.[Lees verder]

TDC upgrades network to LTE with Ericsson
(Telecompaper) Danish operator TDC contracted Ericsson to upgrade its network to LTE. Under the terms of the deal, Ericsson will roll out a complete LTE network, including radio access and core network equipment, as well as managed services. This is Ericsson’s first full-scope managed service contract for an LTE/Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network. The contract includes radio access network with the RBS 6000 series, a complete Evolved Packet Core solution as well as the full scope of managed services. The roll-out of the network starts immediately. The contract builds on the existing strategic partnership between the two companies.[Lees verder]

Vodacom revenue growth improves to 2.9% in H1
(Telecompaper) African mobile operator Vodacom reported revenues for the six months to 30 September of ZAR 29.5 billion, up 2.9 percent from a year earlier thanks to a solid performance in its home market South Africa and a return to growth at its international operations. Service revenue was up 2.2 percent to ZAR 26.1 billion, helped by a 41 percent increase in data revenues to ZAR 2.9 billion. Revenues in South Africa were up 5.4 percent to ZAR 25.7 billion, while the international activities posted sales down 10.3 percent to ZAR 4.0 billion due to negative currency effects. At constant currencies, the international division grew revenues 4.5 percent in the second quarter. The company finished September with a total 34.9 million customers, after net additions in fiscal Q2 of 712,000 in South Africa and 1 million at the international activities. EBITDA improved 2.8 percent to ZAR 9.8 billion, and net profit jumped to ZAR 4.3 billion from ZAR 59 million a year earlier when the company had one-time impairment and tax charges. Operating free cash flow rose 21.8 percent to ZAR 6.6 billion, while capex was down 29.6 percent to ZAR 2.1 billion. Vodacom increased its interim dividend by 64 percent to 180 cents per share. Looking ahead, Vodacom said it expected increased voice and data usage as well as its cost reduction programme to help offset regulatory and competitive pressures. While capital expenditure is expected to accelerate in the second half, the full-year spend is expected to be lower at ZAR 6.8 billion.[Lees verder]

Orascom Telcom Q3 profit boosted by Mobinil gain
(Telecompaper) Orascom Telecom said its net profit for the nine months ended 30 September jumped 130 percent from a year earlier to USD 951 million, helped by USD 822 million in gains from its new shareholders agreement at Mobinil. Excluding the gain, third-quarter net profit from continuing operations was USD 112 million, with Mobinil now accounted for through the equity method, rather than fully consolidated. Orascom Telecom’s subscriber base increased 16 percent over the same period last year, to reach more than 103.3 million customers, versus 99.1 million in June. ARPU fell to USD 4.9 in the third quarter, from USD 5.8 in the same period last year and USD 5.0 in Q2. ARPU was negatively impacted by the depreciation of local currencies in Tunisia and Pakistan, while the floods in Pakistan hurt its growth there and damaged some of its infrastructure. Revenues for the first nine months of the year reached USD 3.1 billion, up 1.6 percent over the same period of 2009 as a result of strong growth in most GSM operations, with the exception of Algeria. The 8.9 percent decrease in Algerian operator Djezzy’s revenues was driven by the crisis in Q4 2009, as well as the inability to launch new promotions until the end of Q3 2010 and banning advertising on government-owned TV channels. EBITDA for the nine months was down 0.8 percent form a year ago to USD 1.33 billion. Capex fell 10.2 percent year-on-year to USD 457 million in the nine months, as higher spending in Bangladesh was offset by blocks on equipment imports in Algeria.[Lees verder]

American Tower, Cell C ink towers deal worth USD 430 mln
(Telecompaper) American Tower Corporation and South African mobile operator Cell C announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of up to 1,400 of Cell C’s existing towers, and up to 1,800 additional towers that are either under construction or will be constructed over the next two years, for an aggregate purchase price of up to USD 430 million. Cell C will be the anchor tenant on each of the towers being purchased. The two companies expect to close the sale of the existing towers by early next year, subject to customary closing conditions. American Tower CEO Jim Taiclet said South Africa provides a compelling investment opportunity, with strong demand for voice and advanced wireless data services. The newly established presence in South Africa is also expected to provide the company with a platform for future growth in the region.[Lees verder]

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