The telecoms sector recovery took a knock this week with several companies reporting bad news on both sides of the Atlantic.
BT Ignite has revealed that it is to review its loss-making business in the German market, cutting several hundred jobs from its 1,500 local employees. It incurred an operating loss of £165m in the six months to the end of March.
Also in Europe, France Telecom, the biggest shareholder in UK cable firm NTL, has said that it will not provide additional funding to bale the company out.
France Telecom's chief executive is reported to have said publicly that NTL's management is working on a financial restructuring plan that will not have "a cash impact" on the French carrier, which itself has debts of £40bn.
In Italy, the board of third-generation (3G) mobile venture Ipse looks set to approve plans which will keep the company afloat and avoid confrontation with the Italian government which could withdraw its 3G licence.
In the US, following hot on the trail of yesterday's news that Global Crossing had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, fibre-optic network firm Level 3 Communications warned that it may not be able to meet agreed covenants with its bank credit facility by the summer.
Analysts said that the stronger, more reliable companies would survive, and that any shakeout of smaller companies may benefit the telecoms industry.
"The names we're seeing fail aren't all that familiar to us," said Camille Mendler of analyst group Yankee. "We've got too many players in this space and these will surely get whittled down to the bigger players. Whether we like it or not, the incumbents are ever with us."
On the up side, Anglo-French mobile firm Orange claimed that it had pipped Vodafone to the top spot with the most subscribers, although the average revenues per user figures trailed its rival, hitting £237 a year, well below its £280 figure in 2000, and well behind Vodafone's figure of £273.
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