Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: GSMA sets out single-market concerns; Telecom Italia cancels dividend; Apple's remarkable tax efficiency.
The "connected car" concept has received another tap on the accelerator with the announcement of an agreement between Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) and the Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi. Beginning with selected Audi models in 2015, the plan is to equip new cars with embedded SIM cards/chips developed specifically for the automotive industry. The SIM will use the Vodafone network and M2M service platform to provide customers with Internet access on the road. (See AT&T Ups the Stakes in Connected Cars.)
The GSM Association (GSMA) has clubbed together with a group of European telco bigwigs to pen a letter to Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the European Commission , setting out what they think is needed to help make the proposed "single market" for telecom a success. As might be expected, the rolling back of regulation tops the wishlist, together with a re-working of the "antitrust framework" and a fresh look at the way spectrum is allocated across the region. (See Euronews: Single Telecom Market Is Go! and GSMA, Mobile Operators Pitch on Single Euro Market.)
Telecom Italia (TIM) recorded a loss of €674 million (US$937 million) in 2013, with domestic revenues almost 10% down on the previous year. The operator has therefore decided not to distribute dividends for ordinary shares, although it pledges to remunerate all shareholders again next year, in the light of "signs of recovery" it claims to be able to discern in the market.
The number of subscribers to high-speed broadband in France grew by 28% last year to 2.1 million, according to regulator Arcep . Its definition of "high-speed" is a download rate equal to or greater than 30 Mbit/s. The number of those still lumbering in the slow lane, however, stood at 22.8 million at the end of the fourth quarter. (See L'Arcep Updates on French Broadband.)
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) could be in for further flak over its tax arrangements following revelations in the Irish Times that between 2004 and 2008 its ASI entity in Ireland paid just $36 million in corporation tax on pre-tax profits of $7.11 billion -- way below the $890 million that ought to have been paid at the 12.5% corporation tax rate. According to the report, the accounts do not explain why this lower tax rate was applied.
The head of Europol's cybercrime center, Troels Oerting, has warned that the number of cyber-attacks on people using public WiFi is on the rise. He recommends that people should just enjoy their oversized, overpriced coffees and wait until they get home before doing any online banking.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading