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Eurobites: Orange Takes €75M Stake in African Venture

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Robert Mugabe hints at Internet clampdown; Deutsche Telekom still seeks Qivicon partners; EU's Apple-in-Ireland tax probe could take some time.

  • Orange (NYSE: FTE) has taken a €75 million (US$85.1 million) stake in Africa Internet Group, the e-commerce company that operates ten online consumer businesses in 23 African countries and already counts Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) , Millicom International Cellular SA (Nasdaq: MICC) and Rocket Internet amongst its investors. The Group uses Jumia, a platform that allows businesses to market their goods and services online to Africa's emerging middle class. Orange may have to increasingly look to its African and Middle Eastern markets for growth -- last week it abandoned talks with rival Bouygues Telecom about a possible takeover in its domestic market. (See End of the Bouygues Affair for Orange.)

  • Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has hinted that his government may follow China's lead in putting restrictions on the Internet in general and social media in particular. "There is a lot of filth in it [social media]. There a lot of serious insults peddled in there," said the 92-year-old leader, according to the New Zimbabwe website. And you can bet that many of the serious insults are directed his way.

  • Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) is on the lookout for more partners to help it expand the reach of its Qivicon "open" smart home platform. After a slow start to its grand ambitions for Qivicon, DT managed to sign up Dutch operator KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) in March as the first operator outside the DT group to provide smart home services based on the platform. (See KPN Is DT Qivicon Partner in Netherlands and Is DT's Qivicon in a Quagmire?)

  • CityFibre , the UK network infrastructure challenger, has signed commercial agreements with two new partners, Exa Networks and Diva Telecom, adding 350 new sites to its networks in the northern English cities of Leeds and Bradford. Exa, which already serves thousands of schools and colleges in the UK, has also agreed a national partnership with CityFibre specifically targeting the education sector. (See CityFibre Adds New Partners and CityFibre Takes On BT With $136M KCOM Acquisition.)

  • The European Commission 's antitrust boss, Margrethe Vestager, has warned that the Commission's investigation into Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s tax arrangements in Ireland may take longer than expected due to the sheer amount of data her minions will have to wade through. According to a Reuters report, Vestager has asked Ireland for more details about its tax treatment of the technology giant.

  • On a less controversial note for Apple, UK bank Barclays has announced that, as from today, its customers will be able to use the Apple Pay platform at more than 400,000 "contactless" locations in the UK.

  • High-definition TV is driving the growth of channels within the European Union, accounting for 57% of net channel increase between 2009 and 2015, reports Broadband TV News.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • [email protected] 4/5/2016 | 8:57:17 AM
    Orange diversification THis looks like further evidence of Orange's efforts to diversify its business and generate revenues from non-traditional communications/digital services.

    That, it seems, is something that all telco shold be doing, non?
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