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Euronews: Vodafone Connects With Audi, VW

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: GSMA sets out single-market concerns; Telecom Italia cancels dividend; Apple's remarkable tax efficiency.

  • The "connected car" concept has received another tap on the accelerator with the announcement of an agreement between Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and the Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi. Beginning with selected Audi models in 2015, the plan is to equip new cars with embedded SIM cards/chips developed specifically for the automotive industry. The SIM will use the Vodafone network and M2M service platform to provide customers with Internet access on the road. (See AT&T Ups the Stakes in Connected Cars.)

  • The GSM Association (GSMA) has clubbed together with a group of European telco bigwigs to pen a letter to Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission , setting out what they think is needed to help make the proposed "single market" for telecom a success. As might be expected, the rolling back of regulation tops the wishlist, together with a re-working of the "antitrust framework" and a fresh look at the way spectrum is allocated across the region. (See Euronews: Single Telecom Market Is Go! and GSMA, Mobile Operators Pitch on Single Euro Market.)

  • Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI) recorded a loss of €674 million (US$937 million) in 2013, with domestic revenues almost 10% down on the previous year. The operator has therefore decided not to distribute dividends for ordinary shares, although it pledges to remunerate all shareholders again next year, in the light of "signs of recovery" it claims to be able to discern in the market.

  • The number of subscribers to high-speed broadband in France grew by 28% last year to 2.1 million, according to regulator ARCEP . Its definition of "high-speed" is a download rate equal to or greater than 30 Mbit/s. The number of those still lumbering in the slow lane, however, stood at 22.8 million at the end of the fourth quarter. (See L'Arcep Updates on French Broadband.)

  • Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) could be in for further flak over its tax arrangements following revelations in the Irish Times that between 2004 and 2008 its ASI entity in Ireland paid just $36 million in corporation tax on pre-tax profits of $7.11 billion -- way below the $890 million that ought to have been paid at the 12.5% corporation tax rate. According to the report, the accounts do not explain why this lower tax rate was applied.

  • The head of Europol's cybercrime center, Troels Oerting, has warned that the number of cyber-attacks on people using public WiFi is on the rise. He recommends that people should just enjoy their oversized, overpriced coffees and wait until they get home before doing any online banking.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané,
    User Rank: Blogger
    4/1/2014 | 5:07:19 AM
    Re: Apple tax

    "There are tax managers in every country where Apple operates. Then there are tax consultants, auditors- both internal and external. I find it hard to believe that Apple did not know how much tax to pay."

    That's one reason, precisely, why it's not Apple's fault. It's someone else's job to tell how much it is to be paid. 


    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/31/2014 | 2:00:47 PM
    Re: Apple tax
    The period in question (2004-08) was a time when the Irish government was, um, bending over backwards to get technology firms to locate in Ireland. The emphasis was on bringing jobs into the country (small j, but by coincidence also attracted Apple's Big J). Outrageous tax breaks were part of the deal.  
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/31/2014 | 1:25:12 PM
    Re: Apple tax
    > I don't see how that is Apple's fault either. Again, isn't the Irish tax system
    > the one that should tell Apple how much to pay according to company audits?

    @ Susan:

    There are tax managers in every country where Apple operates. Then there are tax consultants, auditors- both internal and external. I find it hard to believe that Apple did not know how much tax to pay.
    User Rank: Blogger
    3/8/2014 | 4:25:26 PM
    Telecom Italia
    Still seems like they are trying to do too much. I read recently that TI said it won't sell out of Brazil even though top investor Telefonica wants it to. When you have a poor earnings AND cut your dividend and the general media reaction is no surprise whatsoever, you need to re-evaluate your priorities.
    Susan Fourtané
    Susan Fourtané,
    User Rank: Blogger
    3/8/2014 | 7:32:45 AM
    Re: Apple tax


    And these bits from The Irish Times?!

    "The accounts do not explain by whom or how this rate was decided, or in what jurisdiction the lower tax was paid."

    I don't see how that is Apple's fault. It talks about lack of control in the Irish tax system, instead. 

    "The current tax charge is lower than the standard rate in Ireland, " the accounts say."

    I don't see how that is Apple's fault either. Again, isn't the Irish tax system the one that should tell Apple how much to pay according to company audits? 

    "There is no suggestion that Apple's accounting was in any way illegal."

    Ha! So, what's the problem then? And most importantly, whose problem is this? I don't think it's Apple's problem. 


    Mitch Wagner
    Mitch Wagner,
    User Rank: Lightning
    3/7/2014 | 5:35:28 PM
    Apple tax
    Is Apple different from other companies in its tax avoidance? If a country thinks Apple isn't paying enough taxes, that country should just raise the taxes.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/7/2014 | 12:51:35 PM
    Re: many kinds of connected cars
    From what I've seen so far, it's one provider per manufacturer. That will change if manufacturers find demand for competing products, but that is likely a few years down the road after these pilots have some meaningful metrics.
    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    3/7/2014 | 9:54:08 AM
    many kinds of connected cars
    It seems like a lot of operators have deals with car makers, like Audi. Are they all complementary -- roaming partners -- or are car makers not betting on one form of connectivity or one provider?
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