Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: New execs at eircom; MTN faces strike; BT virtualizes the contact center.
The backlash against the harvesting of personal data continues: The Belgian Privacy Commission has stuck the boot into Facebook , adopting a "first recommendation," which is basically a warning shot across the bows of Facebook for what the Commission perceives as the social media giant playing fast and loose with the personal data of not just those who are active, all-sharing users of Facebook, but also those who have explicitly opted out of sharing their data with the company. It also criticizes Facebook for being less than co-operative with the Commission, describing Zuckerberg & Co. as being "particularly sparing with precise answers."
Irish incumbent eir has made a couple of C-level appointments: Huib Costermans joins as CFO from KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN), while Erik Slooten, formerly of T-Mobile Czech Republic a.s. , becomes CIO. The operator's third-quarter results have also been posted, showing revenue down 1% year-on-year to €311 million (US$354 million) and EBITDA up 8%, though eircom admits that the previous year's figure was unusually low due to the financial effects of storm damage. Mobile was a bright spot for the operator, with third-quarter revenue up 5% to €87 million ($99 million) and 9,000 net postpaid additions in the quarter.
South Africa's MTN Group Ltd. is facing a major strike on May 20, with 2,000 members of the country's Communication Workers Union who work there planning to walk out as part of a demand for higher bonus payments. Reuters reports that the union is also pressing for a 10% salary raise and wants contractors made into full-time employees benefiting from associated terms and conditions.
Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) has formed a partnership with venture capital firm Coral Group to create a $200 million investment fund to help bring new products and services to market. (See Telefónica Pumps $200M Into Innovation Fund .)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has landed a six-year contact center virtualization contract with Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East. The new platform will provide Emirates contact center workers with updated SIP technology, enhanced multi-channel support and a single user interface to handle voice, email and web chat interactions. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) has introduced cheaper international roaming through its new Travel Voice tariff, which offers 30 minutes' talk time and 30 text messages for Swisscom customers traveling outside the European Union for 15 Swiss francs ($16).
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading