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Mobile security

Eurobites: Germany Wants Answers on Network Snooping

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Bouygues signs Netflix deal; TDC buys Norwegian cable operator; UK operators send Scots a warning.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) representatives are to be among a gaggle of telecom executives questioned by German parliamentary investigators over reports of network snooping by intelligence agencies in the US and UK, reports Bloomberg. Over the weekend German magazine Der Spiegel carried allegations that both the US National Security Agency and the UK's GCHQ targeted German providers, though Deutsche Telekom has said it hadn't found any evidence that such activities had taken place. (See Euronews: Merkel's Mad as Hell at NSA.)

  • Bouygues Telecom has become the first French operator to strike a deal with Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), the rapidly expanding OTT video streaming service. Under the terms of the agreement, Bouygues' Bbox Sensation and Android TV Box customers will, as from November, get access to the Netflix service directly on their TVs. Expect similar deals with other European operators to follow shortly. (See Eurobites: Could Netflix Crash Europe's Networks?)

  • Denmark's TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC) has agreed to acquire Get , a Norwegian cable operator, for 13.8 billion Norwegian kroner (US$2.2 billion), reports Bloomberg. The acquisition will give TDC half a million new cable customers in Norway and will make it a competitor of Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN), which also offers TV and broadband services there.

  • Britain's beleaguered high streets have been dealt another blow by the decision of Phones 4u Ltd. , one of the country's largest independent mobile handset retailers, to call in the administrators, reports the Daily Telegraph. Phones 4u blames its likely demise on Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), which decided not to renew its distribution contract with the retailer. EE then followed suit, leaving the retailer without any major mobile operators on its books and with little option but to immediately close its 550 standalone stores.

  • Gigaclear , one of a select band of companies challenging BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) in UK fiber rollout, is set to go public on London's AIM exchange to help fund its expansion plans, reports the Financial Times (subscription required). Gigaclear claims that more than 400 communities have approached it with a view to improving their Internet access. (See Gigaclear Secures Funding for Rural FTTH Rollout.)

  • With the referendum on Scottish independence only three days away, six of the biggest UK telcos have taken it upon themselves to write an "open letter" to no-one in particular outlining its concerns should the Scots vote "Yes." In what could be described as coded language, the joint statement says: "We may … need to modify our networks to reflect the reality of an independent Scotland; and we may need to consider whether to modify the services offered in Scotland, given its relatively demanding topography and relatively low population density. Any of these factors could lead to increased industry costs." This follows similar warnings by leading UK retailers that independence may come at a price -- in a very real sense.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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