Also in today's EMEA roundup: Telecom Italia plans on hold; Germany's ISPs get data-dipped; Globo basks in BYOD boom.
Telefónica Digital has underlined the importance of mobile commerce to its future direction by poaching a top MasterCard executive as its new digital financial services director. Pilar Aurrecoechea was MasterCard's general manager for Spain and Portugal, and prior to that she was at Visa Europe. Last November Telefónica announced a joint venture with MasterCard in Brazil to develop mobile payment services in the country. (See Telefónica Appoints Digital Financial Services Director and Money Matters at Telefonica Digital.)
Following the departure of Franco Bernabe last week, new Telecom Italia (TIM) CEO Marco Patuano has been looking to settle nerves by telling labor unions that he has put plans to spin off its fixed-line network and restructure the company on hold, reports Reuters. Unions are concerned that the proposed reorganization could put jobs at risk. (See Euronews: Telecom Italia Boss on the Brink.)
In the latest update to the Snowden-inspired communications spying revelations, Der Spiegel reports that Germany's state intelligence service, Der Bundesnachrichtendienst, has been dipping into the data streams of the country's ISPs. (See Another Day, Another Domestic Spying Revelation.)
Athens-based BYOD software specialist Globo plc is having a year to remember on the London FTSE AIM 100 Index, with stock having almost quadrupled in 2013, reports Bloomberg, making it the top performer on the Index. The company now has a market value of £267 million (US$443 million).
It seems South Africa's regulators may follow the lead of their European counterparts and slash mobile termination rates, in this case by up to 75 percent over the next three years, according to this Reuters report. So that's bad news for MTN Group Ltd. , Vodacom Pty. Ltd. , and Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG), amongst others.
UAE operator Etisalat has extended the reach of its "Flous" mobile commerce service to Niger, the landlocked country in West Africa that has a population of just over 17 million. The service, which allows customers to use their mobile phones to pay for goods and transfer money, amongst other things, will be offered in partnership with Banque Atlantique Niger.
Fact: Using just 1GB of data in Mozambique can cost well over two months' wages for the average person. This is the background to the creation of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), which counts Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Web visionary Sir Tim Berners-Lee amongst its backers. The alliance aims to drive down what it calls "artificially high" Internet prices in developing countries.
It doesn't yet appear that BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s expensive foray into the world of premium sports content is attracting as many viewers as the telco would like: For the next two weeks it is making some of its live sport available to UK viewers on the free-to-air Freeview platform (which is just about everyone that doesn't subscribe to some form of pay TV), presumably to persuade more armchair sports fans to open up their wallets. (See BT's Got Balls.)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading