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Eurobites: Commission Chief Sinks Spanner Into Roaming Works

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telenor begins selling its stake in VimpelCom; Agama joins the RDK club; smartphones in space! (well, quite high up anyway).

  • European Commission plans to ease the potential pain for operators of next year's abolition of mobile phone roaming charges have fallen into disarray following the intervention of the body's president, Jean-Claude Juncker, Reuters reports. The Commission had proposed that "fair use" conditions should apply, which stipulated that customers who used their phones while abroad for more than 90 days a year or 30 days in a row could be subject to roaming charges. Juncker, however, had other ideas, and has ordered the draft to be revised to make it less favorable to operators. Telcos worry that customers in one EU country could abuse the system by registering with an operator in another, taking advantage of lower tariffs and not being penalized by roaming charges. In a statement, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) said that "fair use clause is essential to the proper functioning of European telecom markets," adding that "Any threshold should be fully consistent with the definition of periodic travelling as stated in the Regulation. The 90-days threshold is well beyond such definition." (See Eurobites: Dunroamin' and EU Agrees to Ban Roaming Charges, Enforce Net Neutrality.)

  • Norway's Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) has begun the sale of a part of its 33% stake in VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP), placing almost a quarter of the American Depository Shares it owns in the Russian operator on the block in the US. Telenor found itself embroiled in a bribery scandal in Uzbekistan in which its affiliate VimpelCom was implicated, the fallout saw several Telenor execs having to clear their desks. According to this MarketWatch report, Telenor has been seeking a buyer for its stake in VimpelCom since October 2015. (See Eurobites: 'Uzbekgate' Scandal Claims More Telenor Scalps, Eurobites: 'Uzbekgate' Scandal Claims More Telenor Scalps and Eurobites: Norway Dumps Telenor Chairman.)

  • Agama Technologies AB , the Swedish video customer experience specialist, has signed up to the Reference Design Kit (RDK) community as a licensee. The RDK is a software bundle intended to provide a common framework for powering customer premises equipment from TV service providers.

  • Cradlepoint Inc. , an Idaho-based vendor that develops multimode router technology designed for wireless and wired connections that is deployed by enterprises, has opened its new EMEA headquarters in the southern English town of West Byfleet. According to its president of EMEA, Hubert Da Costa, its NetCloud platform has been designed specifically for the "Interprise era." Say what, Hubert? (See Cradlepoint Expands in EMEA.)

  • T-Systems International GmbH , the enterprise arm of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), has begun the extension of its data center in Biere, which it hopes will boost the cloud capacity of the facility by 150%. Big-name customers currently using T-Systems private cloud services include Shell and Daimler.

  • The European Data Center Association has appointed Nicola Hayes as its new managing director. Hayes is the founder of Andrastra Consulting, which offers consultancy services to companies selling products or services into the data center industry.

  • Quirky record-breaking has moved on a bit from the days when folk tried to outdo each other in the learned field of "how many people can we stuff into this camper van?" Last week, as Reuters reports, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. attached its Honor 8 smartphone to a weather balloon and floated it up in the skies above Sweden in a bid to set the record for the highest "live-stream" from such a device. The balloon burst at an altitude of 18,421 meters, which sounds quite high but apparently is not as high as boffins had hoped for. Now the marketing aces at Huawei must wait to see if their stunt propels the vendor into the record books…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • mendyk 9/14/2016 | 9:00:18 AM
    Re: The Junker Spanner Meanwhile, I saw a news crawl this morning regarding an EU pronouncement that 5G will be available everywhere in the EU by 2025. Seems as though someone in the PR department has returned from summer break refreshed and ready to go.
    Gabriel Brown 9/14/2016 | 5:57:03 AM
    Re: The Junker Spanner The European telecom services market is a mess of inconsistencies and contradictions. How can you have a single market when the cost of calling someone in, say, France from the UK is £1.50 per minute? The current situation is absurd.

    Not sure there's a solution either because, as you say, there are such different price points and variations in ability-to-pay across the "market".
    James_B_Crawshaw 9/12/2016 | 2:16:43 PM
    The Junker Spanner Just what will the new EC president propose? Unlimited roaming would presumably lead to a rise in service costs in low income European countries (where spectrum costs are lowest) and a decrease in charges in high income countries. I don't think that is what the lobbists intend ...
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