THE WRAP: Telekom Austria probes IPO fraud; KPN cable buy delayed

This week saw European telcos hit by allegations of fraud and regulatory scrutiny, social networks turn from villains to heroes, and mixed blessings for Samsung.
Telekom Austria’s chief returned a €92,000 bonus received in an IPO in 2004, after a member of staff confessed to being involved in a fraud that influenced the firm’s stock price, and so automatically triggered the public offering.
Hannes Ametsreiter has placed his bonus in a trust fund while the operator explores its legal options to recoup up to €9 million paid out in stock options after the IPO.
In the Netherlands, incumbent KPN faces delays in its acquisition of regional cable TV operator CAIW after the country’s anti-competition authority blocked the deal. Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit (NMa) believes KPN’s offer to open its fiber ducts to rivals isn’t enough to maintain competition in the market.
South Korean vendor Samsung endured highs and lows, with a German court blocking sales of its latest Galaxy Tab tablet in nearly all European Union countries as part of continuing patent litigation by rival Apple. On the flip side, Samsung secured second place in global device shipments during the second quarter, according to Gartner figures.
Chinese rival ZTE didn’t need analyst figures to know it is on-track to meet its target of shipping 120 million devices in 2011. The manufacturer shipped 60 million terminals in the first half, and sold 40% of a 12 million smartphones target for the full year.
In Singapore, SingTel’s 2Q profit slipped nearly 3% due to forex losses and higher finance and tax expenses. Revenues were up despite the pressure, however its Optus unit in Australia lost ground to rival Telstra during the quarter, Ovum estimates.
Operators in South Korea banded together to demand manufacturers of Web-enabled ‘smart’ TVs make a financial contribution towards the cost of higher data traffic the sets are generating.
Filipino operator Globe called on the nation’s regulator to revoke rival PLDT’s operating licenses and force the carrier to surrender its spectrum, because it is not a Philippine national.
Meanwhile, operators in Bangladesh will be charged for spectrum for the first time, after the government finalized plans to introduce the fees when carriers renew their licenses. A base rate of 1.5 billion taka ($20 million) per MHz has been set.
RIM became the target of a hack attack, after pledging to assist UK police in tracking down individuals that used its BlackBerry Messenger service to organize riots and looting in several major cities.
However, the unrest saw social networks turn from villains to heroes, as blame for their role in helping to organize rioters was offset by their involvement in galvanizing citizens to clean up the aftermath.