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Euronews: Slim's Austrian Plan Hits Roadblock

Paul Rainford

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EE overnight outage; suicides at Orange France; spam fightback by UK mobile operators.

  • A plan to pool the respective stakes of the Austrian government and Carlos Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V. in Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) appears to have run into the sand, according to a Reuters report citing the Kurier newspaper. The Austrian government is apparently insisting on maintaining veto rights over certain decisions, and as a result Slim's team has rejected a draft of the proposed accord. America Movil currently holds a 27% stake in Telekom Austria, while the Austrian government's investment vehicle holds a 28% stake. Things aren't going that well for Carlos Slim at the moment: The Mexican government is currently working on a bill intended to curb Slim's domination of the telecom and media industries there. (See Euronews: Austria Braced for Slim Bid .)

  • Customers of UK mobile joint venture EE suffered an overnight outage, with problems starting around 6 p.m. (UK time) Wednesday and service restored around 9 a.m. Thursday. A quarter of a million users were thought to be affected.

  • A French government minister has sounded a note of concern over a spate of suicides at Orange France : Ten employees of the operator have killed themselves since the start of the year, most of them for work-related reasons, according to this report in The Guardian.

  • EE, Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), 3 , and Vodafone UK have teamed up with the UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to use the GSM Association (GSMA) 's Spam Reporting Service and allow UK mobile users to report unsolicited text messages. The service, powered by software from Cloudmark Inc. , enables operators to analyse spam attack patterns and identify the sources of attacks.

    Good to know.
    Good to know.

  • Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has won plaudits from the European Commission for its role in the "SmartSantander" project, which attempted to turn the agreeable Spanish resort into the first "comprehensive smart city" in Europe. The project rolled out 20,000 devices -- including sensors, repeaters, gateways, informative screens, and mobile handsets -- across the city and the surrounding area to enable various M2M applications in such areas as public transport, waste management, and noise control.

    It's in Santander, so it's a smart beach.
    It's in Santander, so it's a smart beach.

  • Ovivo, a UK mobile virtual network operator, has suddenly closed down, leaving more than a few disgruntled customers, reports the BBC. Ovivo allowed its users to access Vodafone's network for no monthly fee, provided they agreed to view on-phone adverts every 10 minutes.

  • Sky (NYSE, London: SKY) plans to launch a "buy and keep" movie download service in the next few weeks, reports The Guardian. The service will compete with the likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL).

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    3/21/2014 | 8:21:58 AM
    Re: Orange France
    Agreed, Kruz. I'm not sure how they know they all blamed work, but you can't ignore that correlation.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/21/2014 | 4:40:16 AM
    Re: Orange France
    This is just not acceptable and no excuses can be made! Work conditions clearly have to be investigated and this should be feasible in france where the union and syndicates are powerful.
    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    3/20/2014 | 2:06:53 PM
    Re: Orange France
    Yeah, at Foxconn too. Maybe statistically "normal," but still disturbing.
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/20/2014 | 1:57:18 PM
    Re: Orange France
    Recall the same happening in France Telecom a few years ago?

    At the time, the official explaination was that that was statistically normal, given the number of employees and average national suicide rate.

    Sarah Thomas
    Sarah Thomas,
    User Rank: Blogger
    3/20/2014 | 1:40:34 PM
    Orange France
    Woah, that is just terrible. What's going on over there?
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/20/2014 | 10:24:48 AM
    For Ovivo, this brings the following questions: what happens to user data and logs in this case?
    User Rank: Light Sabre
    3/20/2014 | 9:35:15 AM
    Triple alliance, anyone?
    Mr. Slim should have familiarized himself with Austria's long history of bureaucratic deal-making (and un-making) before pursuing partnerships with Austrian officials. Maybe there is a place for people with advanced degrees in history after all.
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