Eurobites: Telekom Austria CEO Resigns

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: EC approves German broadband aid; IoT center opens in France; making Cologne smarter.

  • Hannes Ametsreiter, the CEO of Telekom Austria Group , has surprised the European telecom world by announcing that he will step down from the role as from July 31. No reason was given in the company's official statement, but a source quoted on Reuters said that he had been offered a position with an unnamed company. Ametsreiter has been CEO of Telekom Austria since 2009, and his contract was due to run out at the end of next year, with an option to extend it until 2018. Telekom Austria is majority owned by Carlos Slim's América Móvil S.A. de C.V.

  • The European Commission has approved a €3 billion state aid package to support the rollout of next-generation broadband in Germany. One sticking point was the inclusion of vectoring technology in the proposal, under the terms of which large numbers of households have to be bundled together to be served by a single provider. The Commission objected to this on grounds of perceived "anti-competitive effects," so the German government has promised that an access product capable of granting full access to vectored networks for competitors will be developed shortly and submitted to the Commission for approval.

  • French President Francois Hollande has opened an 8,300 square meter design and manufacturing center in Angers dedicated to the Internet of Things, reports Reuters.

  • On a similar theme, Swiss IoT analytics firm AGT International has joined a project that is seeking to transform Germany's Cologne into a bona fide smart city. AGT will be providing its analytics knowhow to support the building and running of low-energy neighborhoods, integrated infrastructures for waste and energy and sustainable mobility, including smart traffic management and electric vehicles. Cologne is one of three cities taking part in the European Union's Horizon 2020 Lighthouse Projects, the other two being Barcelona and Stockholm.

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has introduced a smartphone-based "scan, pay and go" system at its stores. Using a free app, customers will be able to scan the barcode of the accessory they are buying with their smartphone camera and then choose a payment method.

  • There's a profile of the new head of UK regulator Ofcom in The Guardian which may make worrying reading for some British operators. Sharon White, the profile says, seems to be very much taking the side of the consumer, and is working at a speed that has "left other regulators for dust." Last week Ofcom announced that, under the terms of a revised Code of Practice, broadband customers will have the right to exit contracts without penalty if the download speeds they actually receive fail to match what they were promised on taking out the contract in the first place.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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