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.
aYo Holdings boosts executive team
aYo Holdings Ivan Welch and Miles Bloemstein
African insurtech aYo Holdings has made two key C-suite appointments as it looks to accelerate its ambitious growth plans across the continent and into the South African market. The company has named Ivan Welch as its new Chief Customer Acquisition Officer and Miles Bloemstein as its Chief Operating Officer as part of its vision of becoming the largest insurance technology platform in Africa.
Welch, who has already been with aYo for four years, will be responsible for driving new customer acquisition through various distribution channels, with a specific focus on digital marketing and sales. His position will also include a commercial legal remit and administrative oversight, and support of the company’s subsidiary operations.
A 20-year veteran of the African insurance sector, Welch defines success as a world where every customer with a mobile phone has an aYo subscription, which would have been obtained through a simple few clicks or button presses on a mobile device. While approximately 46% of Africa’s population has access to and uses cell phone services, insurance penetration remains below 5% in most markets, except South Africa.
“The industry has so much scope for development, as it is massively underserved in Africa. With aYo and our shareholders, MTN and Sanlam, I believe we have the right offering, platforms and ability to scale to serve this market,” he said.
Bloemstein joined aYo in July 2021. He also has more than 20 years’ experience in the insurance industry, specifically in IT operations and related functions. His new position will include him overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business, working closely with executive and product teams to grow the platform and its system and channel capabilities.
“We must constantly find ways to keep our clients engaged and be able to have access to insurance. Due to low disposable income levels, insurance adoption and trust in insurers, we are being challenged to produce ‘out of the box’ solutions to keep our clients engaged and active,” he said.
aYo Group CEO Marius Botha said Welch and Bloemstein’s expertise are key to the company’s drive to enable the distribution of affordable financial services products to people who have never had the opportunity to engage in financial services before. aYo launched in January 2017 in Uganda and has since expanded its operations across Ghana, Zambia, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon, with plans to launch operations in Nigeria and South Africa imminent.
Fearless Energy Drink Backs Fanfaro Autofest 2022
Fearless energy drink from the stable of Rite Foods Limited has made full preparation to support this year’s Fanfaro Autofest event as the headline sponsor. This is in its bid to make the platform bigger and more thrilling for car drifters, super bikers, and fun seekers in the ancient city of Ibadan from Friday, 2nd to Sunday, 4th December 2022.
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Fanfaro Oil Nigeria, Mr. Adekunle Olanrewaju, stated that the support from the Fearless energy drink is enormous hence the event is credited to it and dubbed “Fanfaro Autofest, Fearless Edition,” as the contestants will be rejuvenated with the brand’s positive energy and courageous spirit to actively showcase their talent in car drifting.
“It takes a lot for someone to align with your dream; it takes like minds to be part of it. The previous events have been successful, but now having the marketing leading; Fearless brand behind it, is a success even before the start of the event. The brand also resonates with what the sport stands for, we are fearless, tough, energetic, and want to make it more exhilarating,” Olanrewaju explained.
He pointed out that with the Fearless brand behind the largest motorsport in the country, Nigerians should expect more exciting and action-packed sporting activities, as the product has been with Fanfaro from the planning stage to the exercise which takes a year to put together, and also for a refreshing moment with the trailblazer in the energy drink segment.
According to him, a Fearless brand raffle draw will be organised before the main event in November, where participants would be told to make a creative design with five empty bottles of the product, with the winners going home with exciting gifts.
Commenting on the sponsorship, Rite Foods Head of Marketing, Olumide Aruleba, affirmed that the Fearless brand is very proud to throw its weight behind the sport, as it will bring into it the positive energy associated with the brand as a means to create the desired impact and make it a ground-breaking event. “We also want everyone to look forward to it,” he stated.
On her part, the Assistant Brand Manager of Fearless Energy Drink, Kanyisola Sangowawa, said the support from the product signpost is its connection with consumers in keeping them refreshed by providing the vigour needed while attaining their dreams or showcasing useful talents. She avowed that it takes a fearless spirit to support an action like the auto fest, which requires boldness, daring force, and strength in making it a success.
In his remark, the Fearless Brand Ambassador and the Face of Fanfaro Autofest, the Fearless Edition, Tobi Bakre, actor and a lead cast in the movie, Brotherhood, extolled the partnership between the Fearless energy drink and the motorsport, stating that both connects with a Fearless and reinvigorating force.
Mouka’s Femi Fapohunda Recognised as HR Champion of the Year
Femi Fapohunda, MD at Mouka Limited (Photo: Supplied)
Mouka’s, Femi Fapohunda, has been bestowed the laurel of the HR Champion of the Year at this year’s HR Champions Awards in recognition of the company’s development and sustenance of best human resource (HR) practices.
The elaborate event was organised recently by HR People Magazine, a foremost Human Resources publication in Africa, in Lagos to celebrate excellence in the HR profession and recognise commendable initiatives and strategies. As various organisations gathered to witness this occasion, Mouka was called forward to receive an award in recognition of its visionary leadership style, which ensures that all its employees have a clear understanding of the business strategy of the leading organisation in the sleep industry.
According to HR People Magazine, the leadership of Mouka has created a conducive working environment that enables open communication and a professional work culture which encourages all employees to align with Mouka’s corporate values. These values of Passion, Integrity, Innovation, Performance, and Excellence, have contributed to Mouka’s growth trajectory over the years.
In Mouka, the role of MD requires the counsel of the Head, HR and Admin., Ifeoma Okoruen, on Talent Management and Rewards interventions to boost overall staff motivation. He views the HR lead as a trusted partner for his people agenda and constantly taps into her wealth of knowledge and experience to provide innovative interventions to employee challenges.
Commenting on the feat, Mouka’s current MD, Mr Femi Fapohunda, commended the organisers for being honoured as the recipient of the prestigious award and also applauded the efforts of the company’s employees for their commitment to high-performance culture and excellence. “At Mouka, our employees come first; hence our people’s agenda is one of the key pillars to the success of our business. We are also very deliberate with our HR interventions and ensure that HR leadership is involved in strategic business decisions. To date, several sustainable HR practices have been instituted to ensure that the business continues to achieve its overall business objectives,” he stated.
This award comes right after the market leader formally unveiled several innovative products in the Nigerian market at its recent Business Partner conferences across the nation. These products include the Wellbeing Mattress Topper made with memory foam, the Wellbeing Hybrid mattress specially designed for couples, the Mondeo Firm Spring mattress, which is a great choice for hotels, the Bio-crystal pillow made with breakthrough stress relief technology and Royal Memory foam pillow.