BBWN Bites: Corner Office Changes at Telia, Safaricom
Also, next-gen CAF changes could mean big opportunity for small carriers, KPN earnings out, Comcast flexes family muscle, Virgin Media and Eir disagree and holiday shopping may strain more than family budgets.
Telia Corp. named Allison Kirkby its new president and CEO, a role she will assume in the second half of 2020. Christian Luiga will remain as acting president and CEO, then return to his position as executive VP and chief financial officer of Telia. Kirkby most recently was group CEO and president of TDC Group.
For its part, Safaricom looked outside the industry for its new leader, eventually finding newly named CEO Peter Ndegwa in the beer business. Ndegwa was finance director at East African Breweries Ltd., and when he takes the helm of Safaricom in April 2020, becomes the first Kenyan to run the largest operator in the region, Business Daily Africa reported.
New Telia President and CEO
Allison Kirkby will assume the top role at Telia in the second half of 2020.
Under the pending Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the FCC could remove a clause that lets carriers bid for an entire state -- part of Connect America Fund. That means grants and loans may be distributed by census block, said Carl Russo, Calix CEO, during the company's earnings call this week. "I don't want anybody getting overly excited, but there is a next generation of CAF that's being currently debated," Russo said. "All of these smaller service providers are going to be quite advantaged in pursuing those funds as well. And we just see lots of capital formation, lots of capital flow into the space. They [can] build brand new models very quickly. We see that space growing and we see our presence in that growing." (See Calix Q3 Earnings Show Transition Is (Slowly) Underway .)
Dutch provider KPN today reported third-quarter revenue of €1.39 billion ($1.54 billion), down 1.8% year over year. However, EBITDA grew 37% to €588 million ($653 million) due to cost-cutting. The incumbent lost 17,000 broadband subs and 2,000 IPTV subscribers this quarter; in both cases, it was due to KPN's acquisition of Telfort and the loss of low-end customers, KPN said. Fixed ARPU did rise 5.4% compared with 12 months prior, but this was primarily due to price increases.
Comcast will use Xfinity Flex, its new streaming/smart home product for broadband-only customers, to help promote NBCUniversal's upcoming Peacock streaming service, NBCU CEO Steve Burke said on Comcast's Q3 call. Peacock is set to debut next spring, and is developing a free version, with ads, for pay-TV subscribers, and a paid, ad-free version. (See BBWN Bites: Comcast Gives 'Flex' to Broadband-Only Subs.)
Virgin Media began proceedings on Tuesday in Dublin's High Court against Eir, after the Irish incumbent announced it would offer subscribers Apple TV's 4K set-top, featuring its own app and the country's top free-to-air channels. Virgin, however, said its channels are included without prior authorization; Eir said it wanted to "base its future on demand content," Broadband TV News reported.
This holiday season, 59% of adults plan to buy a smart home product such as a connected doorbell, camera or lightbulb as a gift; 39% expect to give loved ones a streaming service and 38% will wrap-up a smart speaker for the holiday, according to new research from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). These results shed insight into some of the 186 million US adults expected to spend $97.1 billion between now and December on tech as gifts, CTA said. Family will be disappointed, however, if home networks and WiFi can't support all these thoughtful presents.
Safaricom's Latest Leader
Peter Ndegwa, a former finance executive from the beer business, will become Safaricom CEO in April 2020.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.