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Euronews: March 3

Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Telecom Italia (TIM) top the bill in today's roundup of headlines from the EMEA region.

  • As expected, Ericsson's nomination committee has proposed the CEO of carmaker Volvo, Leif Johansson, as the Swedish vendor's new chairman. Investors will vote on the proposal at the company's annual general meeting on April 13. (See Euronews: Jan. 12.)

  • Didier Lombard, the former chairman of France Telecom who had been criticized for the way he handled a wave of employee suicides and was ultimately compelled to make way for Stéphane Richard, has now been forced to give up his post as a €500,000 (US$691,000) a year special adviser to the company, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). The French labor minister's criticism of the lucrative appointment was thought to have triggered the decision. (See Lombard Leaves France Telecom, FT CEO Adds Chairman's Role, FT's CEO Under Pressure, France Telecom Under Fire and FT Responds to Suicides.)

  • Meanwhile, FT's mobile unit Orange France has signed a 2G roaming agreement with domestic rival Iliad (Euronext: ILD), with the understanding that the agreement will be extended to cover 3G networks once Iliad launches its 3G service next year. Iliad bought France's fourth 3G license in December 2009 for €40 million ($55.4 million), and has been trying to establish a roaming agreement with other French operators for some time. (See Iliad, Orange Sign Roaming Agreement, Euronews: Dec. 2, Iliad Gets French 3G License and 3G Déjà Vu in France .)

  • Investors are suggesting that Franco Bernabe is looking good for a second term as CEO of Telecom Italia, reports Bloomberg. Bernabe has reduced debt and promised higher dividends, which has gone down well with many of those who will decide his fate on April 12, when his current mandate expires.

  • Doin' the du, big-time... The full-year profits of UAE operator Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co. (du) are up fivefold to 1.31 billion dirhams ($357 million) in 2010, reports Bloomberg. The company was helped by the UAE government deciding to cut its royalty fees, meaning that its slice of the du pie dropped from AED 264 million ($71 million) to AED 184 million ($51 million). (See The UAE's Fiber-Filled Future.)

  • The Daily Telegraph reports that the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) is planning to charge those who want to use the international (i.e. non-U.K.) version of its iPlayer catch-up service less than $10 a month for the privilege. This, the paper points out, works out at considerably less than the price of a U.K. TV license, which costs £145.50 ($236.7) a year and is mandatory for all those watching live TV broadcast in Britain, even if viewing online.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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