Eurobites: Telecom Italia Plans Layoffs, Says Union

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: European Commission puts pressure on Sky over "geo-blocking"; VPNs get round iPlayer viewing restrictions; Nokia helps roll out 3G in Ukraine.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) plans to lay off 1,700 employees, according to a Reuters report, which cites a union source. The carrier, which is still lumbered with a mountain of debt, has 53,000 employees in Italy. (See Telecom Italia Sees Domestic Recovery.)

  • The European Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Sky and six major US film studios, asserting that clauses in content licensing agreements that require Sky to block access to its UK and Ireland pay-TV services from other EU member states may be anticompetitive under EU rules. A Statement of Objections is a formal, initial step in European Commission investigations into suspected antitrust violations, offering the parties involved a right to reply.

  • On the flip side of the "geo-blocking" coin, a report from GlobalWebIndex has found that more than 60 million people are watching the BBC's iPlayer online catch-up service for free outside the UK by using VPNs to mask their actual location, reports the BBC. The service, which is funded by the BBC license fee, is meant for UK TV viewers only.

  • Nokia Networks has been chosen to modernize the mobile network of Kyivstar GSM , Ukraine's largest carrier with more than 26 million mobile customers. Nokia is deploying its Single Ran Advanced technology for the rollout of Kyivstar's 3G network.

  • Türk Telekomunikasyon A.S. saw second-quarter group revenues grow 6.9% year-on-year to 3.52 billion Turkish lira (US$1.29 billion), though net income, at TRY335 million ($123 million), was hit by depreciation of the local currency. Not surprisingly, mobile data is a major growth area for the operator, with mobile data revenues growing 48% year-on-year.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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