November 24, 2011
Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Zain Group and Orange France nudge up against the force-fed turkey and uninspiring vegetables in today's groaning Thanksgiving table of EMEA telecom news.
Ericsson has struck a US$650 million, five-year managed-services agreement with Kuwait-based Zain, which will see the Swedish giant optimize, modernize and generally look after Zain's IT operations and mobile network in Iraq and the northern region of neighboring Kurdistan. (See Ericsson Lands $650M Iraq Deal and Zain Reports H1.)
Orange France has joined forces with bank BNP Paribas to launch what they claim is metropolitan France's first mobile banking service. Users will be able to manage their online banking with their mobile phones, while contactless payment will be available in the first half of 2012, initially in the southern city of Marseille. At the same time, the French giant has announced that its Orange Money mobile payments service is now being used by more than 3 million people in eight countries in Africa. (See Orange: NFC Won’t Make Us Rich and Nice Move for NFC.)
U.K. regulator Ofcom is telling the country's Internet service providers (ISPs) they need to be more transparent about the way they manage traffic on their networks. ISPs, says Ofcom, need to provide three things: average speed information that accurately indicates the level of service consumers can expect to receive; information about the impact of any traffic management used; and information on any specific services that are blocked. (See Ofcom Acts on Traffic Management, Ofcom Reveals Real UK Broadband Speeds and BBC Hits Out at BT.)
Poland's four mobile operators -- two of them local units of Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Orange (NYSE: FTE) respectively -- have been fined a total of 113 million zlotys ($34 million) by the country's regulator for what have been deemed anti-competitive practices in the mobile TV market, reports Reuters. Three of the four accused have said they will appeal against the fines.
Ailing U.K. music retailer HMV is taking on the likes of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) and LOVEFiLM International Ltd. with the launch of an online movie rental service, reports the Daily Telegraph. HMV had to do something -- its last set of full-year results saw its pre-tax profits slump from £67.3 million ($104.4 million) to £2.6 million ($4.03 million) as CD sales collapse in the face of online competition. (See Netflix Sets Sights on Europe .)
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
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