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Eurobites: DT Next to Lift Lid on Surveillance Requests

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Megafon buys big from Huawei; Europe gets tough on data privacy; EE may exit the Carphone Warehouse.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) says it intends following Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)'s lead on disclosing the number and type of surveillance requests it receives from governments around the world, reports The Guardian. The German operator has already published information about these sort of requests on its home turf, but it operates in 13 other countries. On Friday Vodafone raised a few eyebrows and dropped a few jaws when it revealed that in six out of the 29 countries in which it operates the respective governments enjoy direct wire-tap access to its networks. (See Eurobites: Vodafone Opens Window on Wire-tapping and Mobile Security: The Snowden Fallout.)

  • MegaFon , the Russian mobile operator, has agreed to buy around $600 million worth of equipment from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , reports Bloomberg. Economic ties between Russian and China have been strengthening since Russia's annexation of Crimea led to sanctions being imposed on it by the European Union.

  • European Commission ministers have agreed that companies based outside the EU must adhere to Europe's data protection rules, reports Reuters. Companies that aren't based in Europe but have operations there currently only have to comply with the data protection laws of the country in which they have their headquarters. The move comes in the wake of the European Court of Justice's "right to be forgotten" ruling, which has potentially placed an onerous and costly burden on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and its search rivals. (See The Right Not to Be Forgotten.)

  • EE , the UK mobile joint venture, is set to pull out of its distribution relationship with independent mobile retailer Carphone Warehouse Group plc (London: CPW), reports the Daily Telegraph. It is thought that if EE does indeed sever its ties with the retailer, Carphone Warehouse's planned £3.8 billion ($6.3 billion) merger with consumer electronics giant Dixons could be in jeopardy. (See Eurobites: IoT Drives UK Merger.)

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), which is sharpening its focus on pay-TV and broadband as its traditional fixed-line voice business dries up, is considering bolstering its TV content offer by investing in an independent film fund. The Daily Telegraph reports that the carrier is in talks with Curzon World, which specializes in so-called arthouse movies (i.e. not much happens, and it's probably in French) and operates a $50 million fund that is used to buy exclusive cinema and on-demand distribution rights.

  • Bharti Airtel Ltd. (Mumbai: BHARTIARTL) has entered into an agreement with London-based Movirtu Ltd. , which specializes in "virtual SIM" technology, to launch virtual SIM services across its African operations. Movirtu's patented virtual SIM platform allows those who don't have a phone to temporarily activate the virtual SIM on a friend's handset to make voice calls, send text messages, or access other services, such as mobile banking. (See Airtel Uses Virtual SIM Tech from Movirtu.)

  • Telecom Italia Sparkle , the international services arm of Telecom Italia SpA (NYSE: TI), has partnered with Dolphin Telecom to expand its global IP backbone reach in West Africa via the recently established point-of-presence (PoP) in Accra, Ghana. (See TI Sparkle Adds PoP in Ghana.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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