Business Transformation

Eurobites: Telcos' 'Vision' Sees Them Staying Relevant, Tackling Disruptors

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Europeans get a taste for vacation roaming; VeloCloud appoints UK manager; Uber back in court.

  • A new study, carried out by Accenture on behalf of the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) , concludes that traditional telcos in Europe can make up for the ground it has lost to "digital disruptors" in the last decade by focusing on three "cornerstones," namely: the creation of an ecosystem centered on the Internet of Things (or Internet of Everything, as ETNO prefers to call it); investment in software-defined, low-latency networks; and the provision of "solutions for digital identity management, transaction security and full transparency and control over data use." The full report, "Lead or Lose – A Vision for Europe's Digital Future," is available to download here.

  • Europeans are changing their mobile phone habits while traveling to other EU countries since the ending of so-called roaming charges on June 15, with the percentage of travelers using their mobile data abroad more than doubling, to 31%. Such are the findings of a new Flash Eurobarometer survey, which also discovered that 71% of Europeans are aware that roaming charges have ended. Having said all that, 60% of travelers surveyed said they still restricted their mobile phone use while abroad, despite the potential for "bill shock" being greatly reduced. (See Eurobites: Roaming Rumpus Isn't Over Yet, Eurobites: Finns Look for Roaming Opt-Out and EU Agrees to Ban Roaming Charges, Enforce Net Neutrality.)

  • VeloCloud Networks Inc. , the California-based SD-WAN specialist, has appointed Jon Arnold as its new UK country manager as part of a general beefing-up of its presence across Europe.

  • It's been a lively few days in the UK for cab-hailing phenomenon Uber, which on Friday was told it was going to lose its license to operate in London and today must, as Reuters reports, attend an employment tribunal to argue the case that its drivers are truly self-employed, as opposed to being gig-economy wage slaves who should be entitled to standard employment rights such as paid holidays. (See Uber Crashes Into UK Regulators, Loses London License and The Telecoms.com Podcast: Capital Punishment.)

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s latest move in its ongoing metaphorical chess match with the European competition watchdogs is to offer to ring-fence its online shopping business, in theory keeping it commercially separate from its search engine parent. As the Daily Telegraph reports, Google hopes that this ruse will placate the European Commission, which believes -- to the tune of a €2.4 billion (US$2.8 billion) fine -- that the search giant has abused its dominant position in search to promote its online shopping sideline. (See Eurobites: EU Crunch Time for Google and Eurobites: Google's Q2 Gouged by EU Mega-Fine.)

  • And on the subject of online behemoths getting into difficulties in Europe, Facebook has been told by the Russian authorities that it will have its social networking platform blocked next year unless it complies with a law that requires websites to store the data of Russian citizens on servers located in Russian. As Reuters reports, the threat has been made by communications regulator Roskomnadzor, which has form in this area: last November it blocked access to LinkedIn for the same offense.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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