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Eurobites: Telenor Admits Child Labor Link

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Nokia's HERE unit seeks new CEO; TeliaSonera network-shares in Finland; Kate Bush latest.

  • Nordic operator Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) has admitted that it has been unwittingly using child labor to help it build Myanmar's new mobile network, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). In a sustainability report published this week, Telenor said that its unannounced inspections of sites where subcontractors were building transmission towers had discovered, amongst other cases, two 12-year-olds and a 13-year-old carrying out excavation work.

  • HERE, the mapping and location applications unit of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), is to lose its CEO. Michael Halbherr has decided to step down from the role, effective September 1, to pursue his own "entrepreneurial interests" outside the company. Cliff Fox, currently senior vice president, Core Map Group, at HERE, will take over the reins while a search for a permanent successor to Halbherr is carried out. HERE, which was one of the three business units Nokia had left following the sale of its handsets unit to Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), provides the technology for about 80% of car navigation systems. (See Nokia Ushers In New Era, Retires NSN Name.)

  • Telia Company 's Finnish arm, Sonera, has agreed to a network-sharing venture with local operator DNA Oy in the sparsely populated northern and eastern regions of Finland. The hope is that the collaboration, which is expected to begin operating in 2015, will allow for a more efficient buildout of the network in areas that currently only offer 15% coverage by population.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is boasting success with its TV services, with the number of its TV subscriber lines growing 21% year-on-year during the first half of 2014, to 1.09 million. Net revenues grew 0.6% to 5.7 billion Swiss francs (US$6.2 billion) during the period, though net income was down 1.6% to CHF806 million ($884 million).

  • The West African state of Ghana has got its first 4G network, courtesy of local operator Surfline Communications and Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), reports Reuters. Ghana is the sixth sub-Saharan African country to benefit from 4G services.

  • Should the industry be worrying about a smartphone backlash? Caterwauling songstress Kate Bush has made it clear that she does not want fans touting their top-of-the-range handsets at her forthcoming gigs in London, her first since 1979. Bush used her website to tell her followers: "I very much want to have contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras." That's all very well, Kate, but how will their friends know they are ACTUALLY THERE!!!?

    Kate Bush: Loves a bit of gothic imagery, hates smartphones.
    Kate Bush: Loves a bit of gothic imagery, hates smartphones.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané,
    User Rank: Blogger
    8/21/2014 | 3:33:19 AM
    In the collaboration between Sonera and DNA the one winning is DNA. DNA's network has been decreasing in quality for at least the past two years. 

    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/20/2014 | 11:03:33 AM
    Re: Telenor and child labor
    @Gabriel If I'm not mistaken, even in the USA the child labor laws treat someone over 16 differently from someone younger, and it is quite possible for a 17 year-old to have completed high school.
    Gabriel Brown
    Gabriel Brown,
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/20/2014 | 10:57:34 AM
    Re: Telenor and child labor
    A good stance for Telenor to take, especially as it seems underage working and exploitation is rife in Burma / Myanmar. Setting a good example is worth something.

    None of the cases seem too worrisome in the scheme of things. The five cases of 12-14 year olds working are obviously the most concern, but frankly, a 17-yeard old working is not something to worry about.

    The food, clothing, and electronics, we consume are much more lilkey to have child labor in the supply chain than a mobile phone network.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/20/2014 | 9:47:02 AM
    Re: Telenor and child labor
    At least it admits it. Some companies just deny, deny, deny. 
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    8/20/2014 | 7:57:36 AM
    Telenor and child labor
    To be fair to Telenor, they were obviously very proactive in rooting out these instances of child labor at the companies who were working for them in Myanmar (or Burma as it used to be called).
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