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Eurobites: Minister deals blow to TIM's network-control hopes

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Ofcom measures mobile and broadband satisfaction in UK; developer targets online bullying; analyst giant swallows smaller rival.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM) has received a rebuff to its hopes of controlling a single national broadband network, created through a proposed merger of its fiber assets with those of Open Fiber, according to a Reuters report, citing la Repubblica newspaper. Italy's deputy industry minister, Stefano Buffagni, reportedly told the newspaper that "a single network company that supplies wholesale access services to all operators cannot be in the hands of a single, vertically integrated majority shareholder." Buffagni did add, however, that he was not opposed to the idea of an earlier TIM proposal to hive off its network business, to be controlled either by the Italian state or a newly floated company. (See Telecom Italia desperate to control Italy's only fiber network and Telecom Italia crumbles like a Roman ruin.)

  • When it comes to mobile phones, you're better off with a supermarket than a telco. That is one of the conclusions that could be drawn from the latest customer satisfaction survey of the UK's main mobile and broadband companies carried out by Ofcom, the country's communications regulator. Ninety-seven percent of Tesco Mobile customers expressed their "satisfaction with overall service" in the survey, with Giffgaff, which, like Tesco Mobile, is a mobile virtual network operator running on O2's network, grabbing second place on 95%. O2 itself (which is Telefónica's UK arm) managed 93%, while Three brought home the rear, on 89%. On the broadband front, Plusnet, the BT-owned no-frills provider, ruled the roost with 93% overall service satisfaction, while TalkTalk – something of a repeat offender in these surveys – limped home in last place with a 78% score.

    Supermarkets 1, Telcos 0 (Source: Ofcom)
    Supermarkets 1, Telcos 0
    (Source: Ofcom)

  • A Finnish-Norwegian tech company has come up with a new tool that it thinks can help reduce online bullying among children. According to Bloomberg (paywall applies), developer Tietoevry has devised an "open-source font" called Polite Type that rewrites what are deemed unnecessarily hurtful words as they are typed, replacing, for example, "I hate you" with "I disagree with you" and blurring problem words for which alternatives cannot be found.

  • Relx, a global analytics firm, has acquired smaller UK rival Scibite in a deal worth around £65 million (US$85.4 million), according to City A.M. Scibite, which will be incorporated into Relx's Elsevier division, supplies big data analytics to pharmaceutical companies.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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