Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Kudelski settles patents spat with Apple; BBC closes iPlayer loophole; Telenor appoints new CFO.
Customers of Lebanese mobile operator Alfa are being offered downlink speeds of up to 262.5 Mbit/s following the launch of the country's first 4G LTE-Advanced network, courtesy of Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) technology. The new network makes use of carrier aggregation to combine two frequencies to improve throughput and spectral efficiency. Alfa is a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom , and its network serves close to 2 million subscribers.
Kudelski Group , the Switzerland-based digital security specialist, has settled its legal differences with Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and agreed to dismiss all pending litigation. Financial details of the settlement were not disclosed. Earlier this year, Apple lost a legal battle with Kudelski's OpenTV Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTV) unit that centered on various streaming patents -- in 2014 OpenTV had sued Apple, claiming that the iPhone, iPad and other Apple products infringed its intellectual property rights.
As from September 1, all users of the BBC's iPlayer catch-up streaming service who do not own a government-issue TV license will be required to pay the TV license fee, the Guardian reports. Previously, only those who watched live TV on iPlayer had to pay the license fee, which currently stands at £146.50 (US$193.97) per annum. The loophole -- which allowed BBC viewers to watch the broadcaster's programs without a license -- was thought to have cost the BBC £145 million ($191 million) a year in lost revenue. According to a spokesman from TV Licensing, fewer than 2% of UK households only watch catch-up TV.
Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has appointed a new chief financial officer, Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup, effective November 1. Rostrup, who is currently president of agricultural products firm Yara North America, will replace Acting CFO Morten Karlsen Sørby, who is to assume a new role as chief transformation officer.
The UK's Government Digital Services (GDS), which advises British government departments on how to provide online services and manage data, has a new chief executive. As the BBC reports, Kevin Cunnington is stepping into the hotseat of an organization that has faced a fair amount of flak for the way it has handled several major public sector projects. Cunnington will be GDS's third chief executive in just over a year.
BBC iPlayer BBC iPlayer is a great, ad-free service and I think it's only fair that everyone who uses it should help keep the BBC going by paying for a licence fee. When the likes of Sky are hitting folk with around GBP40-50 a month for their services, GBP145.50 for a full year seems like pretty good value to me. The BBC: you'll miss it when it's gone.