THE WRAP: Death for bribery, RIM slims down

John C. Tanner
29 Jul 2011
00:00
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Daily News

It was the week that saw another death sentence for telecom-related bribery, job cuts for RIM and ministerial concerns over India’s hypercompetitive mobile sector.

It was the week that saw Zhang Chunjiang – former China Mobile deputy GM and former CEO of China Netcom – sentenced to death after being found guilty of taking 7.46 million yuan ($1.6 million) in bribes during his tenure at the operator.

The sentence has been suspended for two years, and could be reduced to life imprisonment with good behavior. Zhang is the second former China Mobile exec to get a death sentence for bribery – last month, Shi Wanzhong was sentenced to death for allegedly taking bribes from go-betweens of Siemens.

It was also the week that saw struggling smartphone vendor RIM reveal that it slashed around 2,000 jobs – roughly 10.5% of its workforce.

RIM previously cut around 200 jobs in June, after it reported a 10% slump in first-quarter profit. Financial analysts remained unimpressed, telling Reuters the cuts will do little to improve RIM's competitive position and that changes will need to be made at the top level to make a difference.

In other news for the week, India’s telecoms minister voiced concerns that India’s famously hypercompetitive mobile sector was getting out of hand.

Telecom minister Kapil Sibal told the Economic Times that Indian mobile operators are “at war,” and “trying to destroy each other”, and that the industry risks destroying itself if it continues its intense rivalry.

In related news, Tata Teleservices reportedly plans to restructure itself by combining Tata Indicom with Tata DoCoMo, which is likely to result in sacking around 15% of its staff (mainly from Indicom).

In other news for the week, Australian telecom regulator ACMA said it wants to prevent operators from misusing the term “cap” in advertising.

A draft report into the high number of consumer complaints in the Australian telecom sector attributes the issue partly to bill shock and confusing phone deal information. The ACMA report recommends prohibiting the use of terms that could be misleading to consumers, including advertising cap plans where the cap is the minimum and not the maximum spend.

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