The WRAP: Telenor chairman leaves; EverythingEverywhere begins 4G offensive
May 04, 2012
The past five days have seen Telenor show that a week is as long in telecom as it is politics, EverythingEverywhere talk up the financial benefits of 4G, and research firms point to Asia Pacific as a major driver of smartphone and tablet sales during the first quarter of the year.
Norwegian incumbent Telenor’s chairman, Harald Norvik, resigned after being criticized by trade and industry minister Trond Giske for his handling of the sale of Telenor’s TV2 subsidiary in January. Norway’s government is the majority shareholder in the telco, and appears to be dissatisfied that TV2 was sold to a Danish firm rather than retaining some Norwegian roots.
Analysts were left puzzled by the move, with one telling the Wall Street Journal the crisis facing the firm in India would have been cause for Norvik to quit, rather than the sale of a single business unit.
Norvik’s resignation came just days after Telenor revealed it will take a 3.9 billion kroner ($678.3 million million) hit in its 1Q12 results to cover the cost of writing down its assets in its Indian joint venture Uninor, after its 22 2G operating licenses were revoked by the country’s Supreme Court in February.
EverythingEverywhere, the operator created by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile’s UK businesses, this went on the offensive over its proposals to launch 4G services on its current spectrum. The carrier claimed next-generation mobile broadband could boost the UK’s gross domestic product by £7.5 billion ($12.14 billion) per annum in the first full decade of operation, and began talking of a data crisis in the consumer press.
The firm looks to be trying to sway opinion in the final days of a consultation on its proposal by regulator Ofcom, which has already noted its enthusiasm for the plan.
Consultation was also the order of the day at the European Commission, which this week began asking the public for ideas on cutting the cost of deploying fiber networks. Particular focus is being paid to civil engineering works – an area digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes believes is driving up rollout costs due to a lack of coordination.
First revenue drop in 13 years signals that smartphones and tablets are reaching market maturity