Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: VimpelCom's Renee walks away; "roam like at home" a step closer; AlcaLu claims subsea breakthrough.
Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has earmarked €23.5 billion (US$27 billion) for investment in its domestic networks over the next five years, according to a Bloomberg report. This compares with a €23 billion capex budget set for 2010-2015. Speaking at a conference over the weekend, CEO Timotheus Hoettges said: "Building networks is what we know how to do best -- we’ll leave making apps and creating services to others."
VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP)'s chief operating officer, Rene Schuster, is leaving the international operator after only seven months in the role. Schuster, who joined VimpelCom from Telefonica Deutschland in July 2014, is leaving to "pursue other business interests." The operator's CEO, Jo Lunder, is taking on his responsibilities for the time being. VimpelCom, which has more than 220 million mobile customers across Eastern Europe, Italy, Asia and Africa, has also announced, in this press release, that its head of human resources is leaving.
Nordic group Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), a minority owner in the aforementioned VimpelCom, has sent a request to VimpelCom for further explanation of information received by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries from an anonymous whistleblower about the murky circumstances surrounding VimpelCom's entry into Uzbekistan. Last month, Telenor CEO Jon Fredrik Baksaas resigned from the board of VimpelCom following allegations that Telenor turned a blind eye to bribes paid by VimpelCom in Uzbekistan.
Plans to introduce "roam like at home" legislation in the European Union -- whereby consumers pay domestic rates to access mobile Internet data when they are traveling within the EU -- are coming closer to fruition, according to a Reuters report. A first draft of the legislation is expected within the next couple of weeks, says the report, although, as is always the case with European Commission productions, it will probably be a while before it is fully implemented. (See EU Telecom Market, Sans Roaming Charges and Eurobites: Red-Letter Day for Roaming Charges.)
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) is claiming a breakthrough on the Africa Coast to Europe (ACE) subsea system -- which connects France to the west coast of Africa -- following the completion of a field trial that achieved transmission speeds of 12.6 Tbit/s of data per fiber pair. ACE now connects 16 countries, 13 of which are in Africa.
UK operators EE , Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and Vodafone UK have signed up the voluntary Open Internet Code established by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) , an independent broadband advisory body. The code commits ISPs to the provision of "full and open" Internet access, and requires them to confirm that sneaky traffic management practices will not be used to "target and degrade the services of a competitor." The move means that all of the UK's leading ISPs have now signed up to the code, says the BSG, which is not to be confused with this. (See UK ISPs Commit to Open Internet Code.)
There's also some less positive news about EE: The Daily Telegraph reports that after having wrongly applied a 20% sales tax on data used by its customers while using their phones outside the European Union, the operator now faces a bill of around ₤1 million ($1.5 million) to reimburse all those affected by the billing balls-up.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading