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Eurobites: 'Uzbekgate' Scandal Claims More Telenor Scalps

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sparkle lands major subsea gig; utility firm seeks slice of Metroweb; T-Mobile Czech Republic taps Ericsson for revenue management.

  • There's been yet more fallout at Norway's Telenor ASA (Nasdaq: TELN) from its involvement with a bribery scandal in Uzbekistan in which its affiliate, VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP), was implicated. Deputy Chairman Frank Dangeard and board members Marit Vaagen and Burckhard Bergman are all on their way out, reports Reuters, ahead of a meeting on Wednesday that will see new board members being appointed. Telenor, which holds a 33% stake in VimpelCom, has already seen a number of its executives resign or receive temporary suspensions in the wake of the scandal, including former Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas, who made way for Sigve Brekke. (See Eurobites: 'Uzbekgate' Claims More Victims at Telenor, Eurobites: Ex-VimpelCom Boss Held Over Uzbek Deals and Eurobites: Norway Dumps Telenor Chairman.)

  • Telecom Italia Sparkle , the international services arm of Telecom Italia, has landed the contract to act as network administrator and run the network operations center for the SEA-ME-WE 5 subsea cable system, which connects Asia and the Middle East with Europe and has a landing station in Sicily.

  • Enel, an Italian utility company, has made an informal offer to buy a controlling stake in Metroweb SpA , reports Reuters. If the offer is accepted, Enel would acquire 54% of Metroweb for around €400 million (US$455 million). Metroweb is in line for a significant role in the Italian government's €12 billion ($13 billion) nationwide fiber rollout plan. (See Eurobites: Vodafone Preps for Italian Fiber Job and Eurobites: Metroweb Spurns Telecom Italia Advances.)

  • Telefónica has chosen Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT)'s Mobile Application Platform as its "reference platform" for mobile development, the two companies have announced. The Spanish operator says the move is part of its strategy to "deploy multi-tenant, multi-operator solutions based on open standards" that can help expand its ecosystem of application developers, "enable them to reuse code and foster greater cooperation between Telefónica's operators around the world." The operator has been using Red Hat's system in some markets since 2012 but the system is now the global reference platform for the group, which covers multiple European and Latin American markets.

  • T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s. has chosen Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Revenue Manager software as part of its network transformation. The operator is aiming to replace all existing real-time charging and intelligent network functions with a cloud-based convergent BSS across all its lines of business.

  • UK regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation in relation to its Wholesale Local Access (WLA) market review, which examines the market for access connections used to provide voice and broadband services to residential and business consumers.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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