Euronews: March 31

Orange (NYSE: FTE), Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) slug it out in today's round of telecom news from the EMEA region.

  • The new Tunisian government, installed following the demise of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, has taken a controlling 51 percent chunk of Orange Tunisia , in which France Telecom holds a minority stake, reports IT News Africa. (See France Telecom Reports 2010 .)

  • Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom are holding talks with a view to network sharing in Austria and Romania, according to Handelsblatt (report in German). Earlier this year the pair announced that they were actively investigating possible avenues of cooperation in European markets, both fixed and mobile. (See FT, DT Team on Customer Benefit.)

  • U.K. regulator the Ofcom has proposed another new set of wholesale line charges that Openreach , BT's wholesale access division, can charge rival operators. Under the proposals, the prices charged for various types of lines will all be decreased according to an inflation-linked formula, with shared unbundled lines being cut by the most in percentage terms. (See Ofcom Proposes Openreach Price Cuts and Ofcom Proposes BT Wholesale Price Cuts.)

  • Microsoft has let it be known that it's filing a formal complaint to the European Commission over what it sees as Google's "broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative" in the online search market. Brad Smith, Microsoft's senior vice president & general counsel, blogs that Google has prevented Bing, Microsoft's rival search offering, from, among other things, properly indexing YouTube entries.

  • Further evidence, if it were needed, of Britain's irrevocable slide into "we're all off to hell in a handcart" decadence comes with the results of a survey from TNS , which confirms that Brits are more addicted to social networking via their mobiles than any other set of Europeans you care to mention. Around 16 percent of all Brits access the likes of Facebook every day from their mobiles. Makes you think. Something. (See UK Mad for Mobile Social Networking, Not Tablets.)

    Elsewhere in the EMEA region:

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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