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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Three Italia to be bought out by Telecom Italia

This isn’t exactly surprising news for anyone following the telecoms situation in Italy, but Three hasn’t have a great deal of success since entering the Italian market, prompting speculation that they could soon be bought out. That speculation has only increased recently, since Telecom Italia confirmed that contact had been made between the two companies, when a spokesman said “The contacts are in such immature and preliminary status that the company cannot further comment on the news”.

The failure of Three (Hutchinson) to really penetrate the Italian market can be summed up by looking into the numbers. With a rather impressive 6.7 million subscribers to the service, it looks enough to sustain a business, but when you take into account the 32.1 million subscribers of Telecom Italia and the 26.3 million and 21.6 million of Vodafone and Wind respectively, you start to see the uphill struggle they face.

Couple their subscribers issues with the uncertain future of economies in the area and you start to see a picture of a company that would welcome a potentially exit strategy in the form of a buyout. The word “merger” is being branded around, but I’d imagine that the head offices of Hutchinson would prefer to close the book on their involvement in the Italian market, handing subscribers and employees to Telecom Italia instead.

Just how the deal will be ironed out is yet to be confirmed, but with talks scheduled for April 11th 2013, we’ll likely know sooner rather than later.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

EU roaming to increase customer satisfaction

Some of you may be aware that the European Commission passed a law in 2012 to bring the prices of roaming within the EU down. This will then allow those who use a network based in the EU to visit neighbouring countries and not have to pay extortionate fees to use their handsets. As a result of this pending law, which will start to come into effect as of July 1st 2014, almost 75% of telecoms professionals believe that consumer satisfaction will increase.

In an attempt to bring the Eurozone closer together and make it more appealing and easier for people to cross borders, it is believed that the law will also see an increase in the amount that people use their phones abroad. However, when factoring in the decreased prices, just less than half of the individuals surveyed believed that revenues for the networks would increase, meaning that over half also believe that the networks are the ones who will lose out as part of the legislation.

As a counter strategy to make it easier for consumers travelling within the EU, over 60% suggest that simply increasing the visibility of usage to customers will increase customer satisfaction, and not result in lost revenues. By using Apps, professionals also believe that they can make it easy for users to purchase add-on packages that bring the overall cost of their usage down, but also convenient and simple for them to do.

Overall, there have been 3 top strategies suggested and the senior marketing manager at Openet, Corine Suscens suggests that “by combining them, operators will not only offer customers the level of control that they crave and which has been a barrier to data roaming usage, but also maximise revenue potential by making purchasing very easy and convenient”.

This information will be available in the Telecoms.com Intelligence Indsutry Survery 2013, when published.

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Business Health Miscellaneous Mobile Phones Networks News

Telecoms providers potentially merging in Europe

Joaquin Almunia, EU Competition ChiefThis is the news that has filtered out of a meeting between some of the bosses of Europe’s largest Mobile phone networks and Joaquin Almunia, the European Union’s competition chief. The bosses in the meeting included those from Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Telefonica (Spain), France Telecom and Telecom Italia, which suggest just how large such an allegiance could result in.

The idea itself aims to pool together the infrastructure owned some of Europe’s largest network providers, which is currently spread between dozens of independent providers in the 50 European countries. The result would then be similar to the North American and Chinese markets, where operators offer services through a handful of infrastructure.

Such a radical change in the way Europe currently independently operates would of course take a long time to make a reality, but the result would see single prices being offered across Europe for phone and Internet services. This could potentially mean lower prices for consumers and more focus on customer-centric businesses, where quality of customer support would become a major differentiating factor.

In its current state, the European networks are seeing a decline in revenues, coupled with the large debts that the infrastructures hold. Therefore, with the idea of a cross-border network being on the cards, new investment would be welcomed, along with a diversified risk of the debt becoming unsustainable. However, someone close to the meetings mentioned to the FT that “Objections won’t come from Europe, they will be from the [EU’s 27 national] regulators.”. This puts the idea at risk from conception, however, if the gains are both apparent for both consumers and businesses, the idea will surely become to fruition at some point.

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