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Vodafone holds off deploying Huawei in core network due to security row

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The Vodafone logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

 

LONDON: 25 January 2019: Vodafone, the world’s second largest mobile operator, said it was “pausing” the deployment of Huawei equipment in its core networks until Western governments give the Chinese firm full security clearance.

The United States and some allies, including Australia and New Zealand, have banned Huawei from 5G networks because of alleged ties to the Chinese government, while the firm has denied that its technology could be used by Beijing for spying.

Vodafone’s Chief Executive Nick Read said on Friday after reporting third-quarter results that the debate was playing out at a “too simplistic level”, adding that Huawei was an important player in an equipment market which it dominates along with Ericsson Sweden’s Ericsson and Nokia.

“We have decided to pause further Huawei in our core whilst we engage with the various agencies and governments and Huawei just to finalise the situation, of which I feel Huawei is really open and working hard,” Read said.

Poland is set to exclude Huawei from 5G after it arrested a Huawei executive earlier this month on spying allegations. Huawei fired the man, who has denied wrongdoing.

Europe’s mobile industry would face higher costs and delays to faster networks if authorities imposed a blanket ban on Huawei equipment, particularly the radio technology deployed on mobile towers, Vodafone’s Read said.

Operators in Europe such as BT and Orange, have already removed Huawei’s equipment or taken steps to limit its future use.

Read said Huawei’s equipment was used in Vodafone’s core – which he described as the intelligent part of the network – in Spain and some other smaller markets.

European governments and security agencies had not pressurised Vodafone into taking the step, but the “noise level” had increased, and the debate now needed more facts, Read said, adding that governments in Africa and the Middle East, where Vodafone also uses Huawei, had not raised concerns.

A spokesman for Huawei, which become the world’s biggest telecoms equipment maker earlier this decade despite being shut out of the U.S. market, said it had been a long-term strategic partner to Vodafone since 2007.

“Huawei is focused on supporting Vodafone’s 5G network rollouts, of which the core is a small proportion. We are grateful to Vodafone for its support of Huawei and we will endeavour to live up to the trust placed in us,” he said.

However, Read said that Vodafone had already agreed terms with a range of 5G suppliers, so moving away from Huawei in parts of the roll-out would not incur additional costs.

TOUGH END TO YEAR

Shares in Vodafone fell after it reported a deterioration in its key revenue measure in the third quarter, down 40 basis points quarter-on-quarter to 0.1 percent, reflecting price competition in Spain and Italy and a slowdown in South Africa.

Analysts had expected growth of 0.3 percent and the stock fell to its lowest level since July 2010 after the update, trading down 2.9 percent at 140 pence at 1245 GMT.

Vodafone said, however, that competition in the Spanish and Italian markets had moderated through the quarter and it improved its level of churn, or the number of customers leaving, by two percentage points year-on-year.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer Margherita Della Valle said the performance improvements would start to show in the top line after the current quarter.

“We expect as we enter into the next fiscal year to start seeing the benefits in terms of revenue growth,” she said.

Analysts at UBS said Vodafone performed well in net adds and churn across Europe, but they expected fourth quarter service revenue to drop to –0.5 percent, driven by weakness in Spain and tougher comparatives in Britain.

“This is disappointing relative to prior comments that service revenues would be similar to the +0.5 percent seen in Q2,” they said.

Vodafone’s reiterated its guidance for this year of around 3 percent growth in underlying adjusted core earnings, with free cash flow before spectrum costs of about 5.4 billion euros.

Reuters 

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Nissan SA’s Whitfield given Egypt portfolio

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CAPE TOWN – Nissan South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa managing director Mike Whitfield has been appointed managing director of Nissan Motor Egypt.

The Japanese-based group said yesterday that Whitfield would also serve as chairperson of Nissan in Africa South as it announced changes in its senior management structure in Africa to drive growth.

Africa is seen as the last frontier for global carmakers. The group said Whitfield would be based in Cairo and his appointment would be effective from June 20.

Whitfield, a former president of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa and vice-president of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, joined Nissan in 1981 as a marketing trainee.

Since then he has held a variety of senior positions before being appointed as Nissan SA’s managing director in 2008. “Under his leadership, Nissan posted a record market share in South Africa of more than 10 percent in the last financial year, the highest this century,” the group said.

It said Shinkichi Izumi would succeed him as the managing director of Nissan South Africa.

“Nissan has a plan for rapid and sustainable growth in Africa. We were the first to assemble cars in Nigeria and our ambition is to lead the way in developing automotive manufacturing on the continent,” said the chairperson of Nissan’s Africa, Middle East and India region, Peyman Kargar.

BUSINESS REPORT

 

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Smile Telecoms Appoints Ahmad Farroukh As New Group Chief Executive Officer

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Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, May 21, 2019 – Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Group Executive Director Operations, appointed as Group CEO; Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman.

Smile Telecoms, a Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today announces the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

Ahmad Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile’s Group Executive Director Operations, is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success. Mr. Farroukh’s vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band. thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet. After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance.”

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard”, added Irene Charnley.

“Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent’s best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile’s proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage,” concluded Ahmad Farroukh.

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd.

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General Electric appoints Eric Amoussouga as GE Francophone Africa CEO

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Eric is also Sales Director for GE’s Grid Solutions Business across Sub-Saharan Africa

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, April, 2019 — General Electric (GE) has announced the appointment of Eric Amoussouga as the Chief Executive Officer for Francophone Africa. In this position, Eric will play a pivotal role in steering the next phase of strategy and growth for GE in Francophone African markets.

Based in Abidjan, Eric will lead the development of diverse programs with public and private sector projects and partnerships across Francophone Africa.

Commenting on the appointment, Farid Fezoua, President and CEO, GE Africa, reiterated GE’s commitment to work together with government and private sector order to develop public private partnerships and sustainable outcome-based solutions.

“We are optimistic about Francophone Africa and the opportunities to develop breakthrough solutions in power, healthcare, aviation and renewable energy. We believe that the appointment of Eric is a further step in making our vision a reality. We are also glad to bring on board someone with the experience and passion required to drive our growth in this region,” he said.

Eric brings onboard 19 years of experience in the energy sector with the major players like AREVA, ALSTOM and GE and has strong expertise in energy business development and sales strategy especially in West and Central Africa.

“I am very excited to be leading GE’s regional growth in Francophone Africa and driving innovative initiatives to support the needs of GE stakeholders within the region.” Eric Amoussouga said.

Partnership with Governments and local companies form a very important part of GE’s growth in Francophone Africa and across the continent. Through these collaborations, GE has made significant investments to develop infrastructure projects, including sustainable energy solutions, provide efficient and reliable transportation as well as improve access to quality healthcare.

– GE

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