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Euronews: Saudi Arabia Gets Nervous

Also in today's EMEA roundup: Tesco's cut-price tablet; more scandal at MTN; Ethiopia's telecom potential.

  • The authorities in Saudi Arabia are clamping down on social media apps that allow residents to communicate in ways that aren't possible in the "real world," according to this illuminating feature on Reuters. "We know they are watching us, but they cannot control us on social media," says one anonymous acitivist. The number of Twitter users in the kingdom doubled in six months to 2.9 million (out of a population of 27 million) during 2012, while it also has the largest number of YouTube viewers per capita, according to a study cited in the feature.

  • Tesco , the UK retail giant that has been having a relatively tough time of it in recent months, is to launch its own-brand tablet with a price tag of around £100 (US$156), according to this report in The Guardian. The device, which will carry the Hudl brand name, is expected to be launched in time for the start of the Christmas shopping season.

  • MTN Group Ltd. , Africa's largest mobile operator, is finding it hard to eradicate the whiff of sleaze as the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the company's management team collects her belongings under a cloud. Eleanor Potter, who headed up the South African operator's retail stores, left the company over a 120 million Rand ($11.7 million) tender irregularity, according to BD Live.

  • Still in Africa, The Economist carries an in-depth report on how Ethiopia, as the "last big telecoms monopoly," has become the focus of telcos' attention. Among other statistics, the report reveals that mobile penetration, which stands at around 70 percent in the rest of the continent, is only around 25 percent in Ethiopia. The report also claims that the government's recent deal with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763) for a network upgrade will help the state keep a grip on what is being communicated and by whom. (See Euronews: Huawei, ZTE Share $1.6B Deal.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • PaulERainford 8/23/2013 | 6:59:59 AM
    Tesco tablet - every little helps Tesco launching its own tablet would chime in with its attempt to challenge Netflix et al with its Blinkbox service, which would no doubt come pre-loaded. It would also presumably steer users towards the online Tesco shopping experience. Their bread's still rubbish though.
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