Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT's accounting methods questioned; Orange agrees sale of Dominican unit; Hutchison Whampoa appeals against auction results.
Vivendi 's supervisory board has unanimously approved the demerger of SFR , its struggling telecom unit. In a statement, Vivendi said, "The demerger plan would… offer SFR greater strategic autonomy to seize opportunities in a transforming market." SFR is one of a group of French mobile operators that has found it difficult to cope with the challenge of cut-price upstart Free Mobile . (See Free Disrupts French Mobile Market.)
A spat has broken out in the UK between BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) and rival fixed-line operator TalkTalk over the effects of BT's accounting methods on its competitors, reports the Daily Telegraph. TalkTalk claims that a report submitted to regulator Ofcom shows that BT reallocates costs in such a way that it is able to recoup them from the wider industry, pushing up BT's annual wholesale fee for an unbundled line by £7.31 (US$11.92) to £109.88 ($179.23).
Confirming rumors circulating earlier in the week, Orange (NYSE: FTE) has agreed the sale of its Dominican unit to investment company Altice for $1.4 billion. The unit had 3.4 million subscribers at the end of September 2013 and employs approximately 1,400 people.
Hutchison 3G Austria GmbH , Hutchison Whampoa's Austrian unit, is to appeal against the result of the country's recent 4G auction, which left it without any of the most useful 800MHz spectrum, reports Reuters. The three carriers vying for spectrum -- H3G, T-Mobile Austria , and Telekom Austria AG (NYSE: TKA; Vienna: TKA) -- were each allowed to bid for up to 50% of the spectrum up for sale.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has launched CheckAp, an app that checks up on other apps to make sure that they are not posing a security risk by gathering or transmitting more personal data than is strictly necessary. It's available in Android and iOS versions -- see this press release for more details.