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TELIA

Telia to slash 3,000 jobs in Sweden

In announcing disappointing second quarter results, Sweden's telecoms operator Telia Sonera has detailed massive cost savings that will lead to significant job losses in Sweden.

The company made a profit of 3 billion kronor after tax and capital costs, down from 5.5 billion in the same period last year.

Despite an increase of 6% in net sales to 21,752 million kronor and what the company described as “strong customer growth”, managing director Anders Igel descibed the full impact on Sweden of the ongoing cost-cutting programme.

“In total it will be about 3,000 staff who will be let go,” said Igel to news agency TT.

The company is determined to save up to 6 billion kronor a year – and between 4 billion and 5 billion of that will come from Sweden.

The need for cost savings is motivated by increasing price pressure from other operators, not least Tele2 and its flat rate offer which is said to have won it 38,000 new customers in the last quarter.

1,000 Telia Sonera staff have already been offered early retirement and 625 have accepted.

But the chairman of the Union of Service and Communication Employees, Janne Rudén, told TT that it was still unclear when the rest would get their marching orders.

“But we should point out that when the company made people redundant before, they were people who were needed in operational areas,” he told TT.

“This has meant that either their colleagues have to work twice as hard or operations are outsourced.”

Operating income, excluding exceptional items, was down 13.3 percent at 4.38 billion kronor. Market expectations had been for an operating profit of 4.663 billion kronor.

Sales rose to 21.752 billion kronor from 20.422 billion, while EBITDA, or earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization and excluding non-recurring items, fell to 7.2 billion kronor from 7.327 billion.

TeliaSonera said that while there had been good development in most operations, price pressure and migration from fixed to mobile and Internet in Sweden and Finland pressured margins.

“The strong volume growth in mobile communications is expected to continue but price pressure will limit sales growth in the home markets,” the company said.

“In Sweden, decline in sales of traditional fixed services will partly be compensated by sales of other services during the three-year transition (restructuring) period. After this period, market growth is expected to return to higher levels,” it added.

The Local/AFP

PRIVACY

Telia leaks customers’ private phone logs

Swedish telecom firm Telia has come under fire after the company published customers' private information, leaked their bills online, and revealed lists of SMS and phone call recipients.

Telia leaks customers' private phone logs

Several customers of Telia, the Swedish subsidiary of Swedish-Finnish telecom company TeliaSonera, learned this week that their information had been leaked for several months and was still available on Google cached documents. One of those affected was 28-year-old Madelene Dalebrand Wachler from Hudiksvall in eastern Sweden.

“[Swedish tabloid] Aftonbladet rang me and explained that my billing statements were viewable online… you could come in directly and see it all – all the calls I’d made and all the people to whom I had sent an SMS,” she told The Local.

The information came with names, addresses, telephone numbers and even lengths of the phone calls.

“It’s terrible. Some of the people I had contacted had private and unpublished numbers, and all of this has been leaked by Telia,” she added.

Wachler has since contacted authorities at Sweden’s Data Inspectorate (Datainspektionen) who have promised to launch an investigation into the matter.

“I’m also looking into getting compensation from Telia. Information shouldn’t be available like this, it’s horrible and it’s quite scary actually. And it makes it harder to trust all these big companies,” she said.

Telia spokesman Hans G. Larsson was shocked to learn of the leaks, confirming that only a few people were affected.

“This in unacceptable, of course, and it’s something we will be looking into. We do offer our customers confidentiality and this involves the data protection act,” he told Aftonbladet.

He explained that the system had been shuttered later on Monday night, which meant no customers were able to see their own statements online at the time.

“If you need to pay a bill over the coming days, you can log into My Pages [Mina sidor] on Telia to see the statements,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

“Thank goodness, this seems to have been very limited. Nothing points to it being a large group of customers being affected, but it’s bad enough already,” Larsson told the TT news agency.

Oliver Gee

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