Ericsson’s poor strategy rings in fresh pain

October 12, 2016

The Swedish telecom company's dividend is at risk after third-quarter operating income slumped more than 90 percent. Industry peers are also exposed to falling demand for mobile network kit. But Ericsson has cut costs too slowly and embarked on misguided diversification.

Vodafone tops up for a fight in India

September 23, 2016

Injecting $7 bln of cash will help the mobile giant's Indian unit compete in a mega spectrum auction and in a price war against new entrant Jio. It also suggests an IPO of the wholly owned business is off the table for now. India may become a big drag on its London-listed parent.

DoCoMo spat adds odd twist to India scare stories

September 6, 2016

The Japanese telco is struggling to enforce a London arbitration award ordering Tata Sons to pay it $1.2 bln. Tata says it wants to pay. India refuses to approve. Despite a slew of reforms, high-profile legacy disputes with foreign firms hurt the idea India is open for business.

Europe may end up behind the curve on 5G internet

September 1, 2016

Telecom companies claim the EU's new open-internet guidelines disadvantage them relative to U.S. and Chinese players. They're right that Europe may slip behind in the race for superfast internet, but net neutrality isn't the real enemy. Blame a highly fragmented market instead.

Merger “synergies” can’t just be code for job cuts

June 8, 2016

Most mega-deals leave companies with fewer staff, and higher sales and profit per head, a Breakingviews analysis shows. That’s capitalism. But the mood is changing, at least in pro-market Britain. Synergies do exist, but those reliant on cutting jobs may get harder to realise.

Brussels O2 veto cements BT’s home advantage

May 11, 2016

The EU’s anti-trust tsar has rejected CK Hutchison’s 10.3 billion pound takeover of O2, because it says it would raise mobile prices. That leaves several UK players figuring out next steps. In an industry moving towards packages of mobile, landline, broadband and TV, the winner is the beefed-up BT.

UK deal veto would be big setback for Li Ka-shing

May 4, 2016

A $15 bln takeover of Telefonica’s O2 unit was key to making the Hong Kong tycoon’s costly bet on European telecoms pay off. If CK Hutchison cannot overturn a likely EU veto, his UK telco will either have to carry on as a disruptive fourth player, or find a fallback deal.

Facebook’s free internet faces big test in India

January 5, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg is fighting hard to save his plan to offer a free mobile web service to the country’s poor. If India shuts it down, other developing nations may follow. It’s another case where the social network founder’s apparently noble goals have sparked a furious backlash.

O2 deal may get hung up on UK telco concessions

December 9, 2015

Brussels’ trustbusters are assessing the market impact of Hutchison’s 10 bln stg bid for Telefonica’s UK arm. It would be odd to push the bidder to surrender spectrum: rivals have more. A demand for it to create a new operator looks sounder but would hurt the deal logic.

A Panglossian guide to valuing Telecom Italia

November 20, 2015

Telecom Italia’s tough home market and high debt might struggle to elicit a buy from even Voltaire’s eternal optimist. Purchases from French billionaires Vincent Bollore and Xavier Niel have driven up the price. The shares could be worth more, but only with heroic assumptions.