The WRAP: Telenor chairman leaves; EverythingEverywhere begins 4G offensive
The sluggish rollout of fiber is encouraging European cellcos to look, instead, at point to multipoint microwave for data backhaul, according to Lance Hiley, vice president of marketing a Cambridge Broadband Networks. However, Hiley predicts carriers will use a mix of microwave and fiber for backhaul in the long term.
Research firm Canalys this week revealed China overtook the US as the world’s largest market for smartphones during the first quarter, accounting for 22% of global shipments compared to 16% for the US. While the launch of Apple’s iPhone spurred sales in China during the quarter, Samsung was crowned the largest vendor in the country, with a 22% market share.
Asia Pacific’s emerging markets are also proving a strong stomping ground for tablet makers, according to researchers at GfK Asia. The firm estimates sales of the devices in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam hit $962 million (€731 million) in 2011.
In other device news, a leading US analyst this week re-ignited rumors that Apple is gearing up to become a mobile service provider, while an executive at LG Electronics revealed the vendor is preparing to ditch Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform in favor of Google’s Android operating system.
In 1Q12 earnings news for the week, France Telecom saw EBITDA slip 7% year-on-year to €3.4 billion ($4.47 billion) on a near 2% fall in revenue; Swiss incumbent Swisscom reported net income of 456 million Swiss francs ($499.1 million), down 3.8% on 1Q11; Bharti Airtel revealed a 28% slump in profit to 10.06 billion rupees ($188.6 million) for the quarter – the Indian cellco’s fiscal 4Q; and state owned Thai carrier TOT Corporation scaled back its 3G ambitions after failing to reach revenue targets for the network.
The GSM Association blasted Indian regulator TRAI’s plan to re-auction 2G spectrum at premium prices, claiming the move threatens future mobile broadband rollouts in the country. The regulator last week proposed re-selling 122 licenses at a base price of 36.22 billion rupees – some 13 times higher than the fee at the original auction in 2008.
And it was the week that saw a third credit ratings agency junk Nokia’s stock in the space of a fortnight, as Standard & Poor's joined Fitch Ratings and Moody’s in questioning the vendor’s prospects.
Standard & Poor’s cut Nokia’s rating to BB+ from BBB- over concerns handset sales will continue to decline through 2012 , Reuters reports.
Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia's executive vice president and CFO, hit back by noting the firm is in the middle of a cost cutting program. Ihamuotila has previously noted the firm’s net cash position remains strong.
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