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TELEFONICA

Latin market shines for struggling Telefonica

Spanish telecom group Telefonica reported a sharp fall in net profit for the second quarter on Thursday but did better than expected with a strong performance in Latin America.

Latin market shines for struggling Telefonica
Telefonica said in a statement that it had achieved double-digit growth in Latin America. Photo: Oscar Paradela

The giant group said that net profit fell by 13.1 percent to €1.154 billion ($1.5 billion).

This was better than the overall expectations of eight analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires who had forseen a net figure of 1.053 billion euros.

Telefonica said in a statement that it had achieved double-digit growth in Latin America and that it had benefited from an improvement of activity in Europe.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Telefonica had bought E-Plus, the German subsidiary of Dutch group KPN, for €5 billion in cash and a 17.6-percent stake in Telefonica Deutschland.

Analysts said that the deal was part of a strategy by Telefonica to develop in northern Europe to balance exposure to markets in recession-hit southern Europe.

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TECHNOLOGY

There are still 16,000 public telephones in Spain

Spain has a law to provide at least one payphone for every 3,000 inhabitants, even though an average of one call a day is made from them.

There are still 16,000 public telephones in Spain
Photo: pawpopa3336/Depositphotos

New data reveals that Spain currently has over 16,000 public payphone dotted around the length of breadth of Spain even though an average of one call a day is made from them.

Telefonica sources cited by news agency Efe revealed that Spain's biggest telecommunications company currently spends €4.52 million a year maintaining the phone booths.

Despite the fact that they are rarely used, Telefonica is tied to a “universal service obligation” imposed by the government to provide and maintain in working order a public payphone for every 3,000 inhabitants in each town of 1,000 or more and one cabin in all municipalities of less than 1,000 inhabitants.

The company estimates that of the 16,000 currently in use, half are almost never used and 12,000 ceased to be profitable years ago, losing the company some €3 million  a year.

The number of payphones has been vastly reduced since the  introduction of mobile phones. Twenty years ago there were almost four times as many payphones across Spain  –  55,000 payphones available in 1999 – and you could expect to find one on many a street corner.

Spain's communications regulator CNMC has called on the government to drop the universal service obligation for public payphones after a recent survey found that nearly 9 in 10 Spaniards (88 percent) admitted to never having used a public payphone in their life.

When was the last time you used one?

READ ALSO: Could technology be killing off Spain's sociable mealtimes?

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