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Services/apps mobile

Eurobites: Facebook Brings Internet-Lite to Europe

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Brussels goes after Google over Android; Telefónica chooses NEC for cloud support; FTTH in Zimbabwe.

  • Facebook 's Mark Zuckerberg plans to bring his company's free Internet project, Internet.org, to Europe, according to a Daily Telegraph report. The project, which counts Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Samsung Corp. among its backers, has been used to provide poor people in India, Ghana, Zambia and Colombia with a no-frills form of Internet access. Internet.org is founded on an app that allows smartphone users to browse selected health, employment and local information websites (and Facebook, of course) without incurring data charges.

  • Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) is headed for a showdown with Brussels over its Android mobile operating system, among other things. The European Commission has opened formal proceedings against the search giant, focusing on whether Google has illegally hindered the development of rival mobile operating systems by entering into anticompetitive agreements relating to Android. Separately, the Commission has sent a Statement of Objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant market position in Internet search services by "systematically favouring its own shopping product in its general results pages."

  • Telefónica Business Solutions has signed a four-year deal with NEC Corp. (Tokyo: 6701) that will see the Japanese firm provide support for the cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms and services that Telefonica offers to enterprise customers in Europe and Latin America.

  • Liquid Telecom has expanded its FTTH network in Zimbabwe, bring (up to) 100Mbit/s broadband to homes and businesses in Victoria Falls through ZOL Zimbabwe, part of the Liquid Telecom Group.

  • Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) has officially "initiated a review of strategic options" for its HERE digital maps and navigation business, following speculation that HERE was being offered to prospective buyers, with Uber cited as a prospective purchaser. (See Nokia Puts HERE Up for Sale and this Eurobites item.)

  • German mobile operator Drillisch, which is using capacity on the networks of Telefónica Deutschland GmbH and E-Plus Service GmbH & Co. KG , is to buy phone retail chain The Phone House Deutschland from current owner Dixons Carphone, reports Reuters. Drillisch will pay with a combination of shares and future cash flows. The Phone House claims more than 1 million subscribers.

  • UK pay-TV operator Sky is extending its "Buy & Keep" movie service, which allows customers to stream or download a movie and be sent a physical DVD of the same movie to keep, to mobile devices. Previously, the service was only available on Sky+HD set-top boxes.

  • The world of taxi-hailing is about to get even more complicated in the UK, reports the Daily Telegraph. As apps such as Uber continue to stir things up for the highly regulated traditional London cabbie, an app, called Maaxi, is being launched that will allow users to book a seat in a licensed black cab (i.e. the sort cabbies own and operate) rather than hailing the whole cab, thereby splitting the cost of the ride with all sorts of possibly interesting strangers. Things could get cozy…

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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