WEEKLY TELECOM ANALYSIS : Yahoo! turns gloomy, 9/11 passes peacefully, while Broadcom clinches $3.7 bn acquisition


The highlight of the week was no doubt the controversial
stepping down of Yahoo!’s CEO, Carol Bartz,
who was asked to resign over a phone call from the company’s chairman. Coming
just months after a trust vote that Bartz won, the announcement of her
resignation came as a shock and sent Yahoo!’s stocks plummeting. However, this
event was waiting in the wings to occur. In her 2-year tenure, Bartz failed to
help Yahoo! gain on its falling profit margins, and instead revenues in Q2 declined
to $1,076 million, a 5 percent decrease from Q2, 2010. The decline was
primarily due to the revenue share related to the search agreement with
Microsoft, who it is believed was reaping more than its fair share of profits
from its agreement to help Yahoo! with its advertising model. However, Bartz
was rapped for her move to sell Alipay, a subsidiary of Alibaba, which cost
Yahoo! heavily.


With growing fears of the company’s inability to stand up
to competition from giants like Google, a day after Bartz stepped down, reports
said that Yahoo! was looking to sell a stake in the company to a potential bidder. Meanwhile,
the move to appoint CFO Timothy Morse, as interim CEO, while Yahoo! looks for a
permanent CEO, is being severely criticized globally as yet another wrong move
by the company. The world is now waiting and watching to see what Morse’s next
move will be – to either salvage the company, or jeopardize it further.


In other news, in the Middle East, while Etisalat and du
approached TRA for a further reduction in their tariffs, with an aim to arrest
falling ARPUs, Batelco
has said it will appeal to the same telecom body to sell a 30 percent stake in
its Indian JV with S Tel, for a possible consolidation in the future. Batelco
has a 42.7 percent stake in S Tel and has now hired an investment bank to sell
most of its stake to release funds for its other operations.


Meanwhile in Africa, Airtel Uganda,
which was earlier threatening to cut off calls between UTL due to the latter’s
non-payment of interconnection fees that it incurred in 2008-2009, called off
this move after the two telecoms reached a monetary understanding. However, in
order to compete in the price-sensitive market, Airtel has decided to hike his
per second tariffs, and other operators are also likely to follow suit.


Bharti Airtel also secured its first license to operate
2G and 3G services in Rwanda, and plans to invest over US$100 million in the
network expansion over the next three years, including US$30 million for the
purchase of the operating license.


In India, Airtel was the second operator to hike 2G
tariffs recently. Its chairman Sunil Mittal announced last week that tariffs
would be further increased to cope with the rural roll-out burden. However, for
the first time in several months, Airtel was among the few top operators to see
a minuscule rise in ARPUs.  


While the 2G scam is appears to be swinging the other way
in India, with the telecom minister and TRAI saying that there was no loss to
the exchequer in the 2G scam, and CBI upholding this view and proceedings now
having a deadline of 2012 to be cleared, a 3G tariff war
has now broken out with operators slashing 3G prices.


A permanent solution to the Do Not Call Registry, marking
the end of unwanted tele-marketing calls is expected by September 27.


Vodafone launched low-cost handset Vodafone 555 Blue in India, in association with Facebook, marking the debut of the telecom
service provider in the telecom manufacturing space.


Sandeep Girotra
was also appointed to lead the India region of NSN, in yet another incident of
an Indian being hired at the top-level post in a global subsidiary.


The anniversary of 9/11 passed peacefully in the United
States, with no hacking of telecom networks by terrorists, while MTV’s Viacom
in association with international music artists launched a national -I Will’
service campaign with PSAs and widgets allowing site visitors to upload their
comments on their tribute to 9/11.


By Beryl M
[email protected]