Euronews: March 17

VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP), Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED), Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) are all comin' at ya in today's roundup of news headlines from the EMEA region.

  • After months of to-ing and fro-ing, VimpelCom's proposed acquisition of Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA has finally been given the green light at a shareholders' Special General Meeting. Norwegian carrier Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), which holds a 39.6 percent stake in the Russian group and has opposed the deal since it was first mooted last October, issed a statement confirming, no doubt through gritted teeth, its "continued commitment to the future prosperity of VimpelCom." (See VimpelCom's Wind Acquisition Approved, Telenor Commits to VimpelCom , Euronews: March 9, Euronews: Dec. 20 and Telenor Opposes VimpelCom Acquisition.)

  • Virgin Media has come up with a novel way of demonstrating its 100Mbit/s broadband: The U.K. cable operator has taken over a property belonging to the House of St Barnabas charity in London's media-centric Soho area, and is in the process of turning it into a temporary private members' club, complete with bar, private chapel and, of course, ultrafast broadband on tap. "Our House" will be open from March 28 till April 21, after which time the "club" will close but the charity gets to keep all the cabling and associated broadband gubbins. Which is nice. Virgin has also announced that its 100Mbit/s service now passes more than 1 million homes in the U.K. (See Virgin Media Shows Off 100Mbit/s, Virgin's Business Broadband Broadside, Virgin Media CEO Disses DSL and ISPs Shamed by UK Broadband Speed Tests.)

  • Oi, Teppo, keep your eyes on the road! Finnish handset giant Nokia is one of 11 companies signing up to the Car Connectivity Consortium, which, as its name suggests, is a group investigating ways of developing mobile-friendly in-car connectivity systems. Other members of the consortium include Daimler, General Motors, Honda and Samsung Corp. (See Car Connectivity Consortium Starts Up.)

  • South African carrier Telkom has its fifth CEO in eight years, and her name is Nombulelo Moholi, reports Reuters. Moholi, an engineer with 23 years' experience in the telecom industry, has the unenviable task of trying to turn around the state-owned firm, which has struggled in the face of competition from the likes of Vodacom Pty. Ltd. and MTN Group Ltd. (See Telecom Market Spotlight: Africa.)

  • The Warsaw Business Journal reports that two Polish operators, Polkomtel SA and Polska Telefonia Cyfrowa Sp. z.o.o. (PTC) , have been fined by the country's competition watchdog as part of an investigation into alleged price-fixing. Polkomtel received a demand for 130 million Polish Zloty ($45.5 million); PTC is facing a PLN123 million ($42.1 million) bill. Both are likely to appeal.
  • The U.K. government has roped in Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the "inventor" of the Web, to help adjudicate on the issue of net neutrality, reports the Financial Times. The move follows a gathering of various interested parties, including the Ofcom and BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), in London on Wednesday. (See EC Reports on Net Neutrality.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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