Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: BT cautions against "Brexit"; Orange completes Kenyan sale; why SMEs shouldn't lose mobile phones.
International operator VimpelCom Ltd. (NYSE: VIP) has handed a major digital BSS transformation deal to Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) as it aims to simplify its global IT infrastructure. The deal, valued at more than $1 billion by the vendor, includes software upgrades and associated professional services across 11 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific. VimpelCom is aiming to build a cloud-based BSS platform called the Digital Stack that can support all its emerging services, such as mobile financial services, mobile entertainment and IoT-based applications. "The new Digital Stack will help us better respond to our customers while also centralizing and simplifying our business, creating lean and agile operations that will result in a more efficient cost structure across our global footprint," said VimpelCom CEO Jean-Yves Charlier in a prepared statement. Ericsson will operate and manage the international platform, which will have the vendor's Revenue Manager software at its heart. (See VimpelCom Plans BSS Upgrade With Ericsson.)
BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) has nailed its colors to the mast of the UK's European Union referendum debate by writing a letter to its 81,400 employees telling them why it thinks leaving the EU would be bad for the British economy, reports the BBC. BT management collaborated with its labor unions on the letter, which echoes the expressed views of many -- but not all -- large companies operating in the UK, Microsoft and Ford among them. The result of the referendum, which takes place on June 23, appears to be too close to call, with different polls predicting different outcomes.
Orange (NYSE: FTE) has completed the sale of its 70% stake in Telkom Kenya to Helios Investment Partners, though in its statement announcing the deal the French giant said that Africa and the Middle East "remains a strategic priority for the Group."
A study by Vodafone UK has concluded that an employee not having a mobile phone for just one day can lose his or her company as much as £12,000 (US$17,000) in revenue. The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 small British companies, was commissioned to help plug Vodafone's Rapid service, which aims to get a replacement phone into the hands of small businesses within four hours of an approved claim being made. More than half of the businesses surveyed didn't have business phone insurance covering work mobiles.
Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has warned that the French government's attempt to apply the "right to be forgotten" principle globally is "opening a disastrous can of worms" by paving the way for large-scale web censorship. As Reuters reports, a European Court of Justice ruling allowed people to have search results that came up with their name in an inappropriate or irrelevant context removed, but the French have insisted that the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) apply the ruling across all their global domains, rather than just the ".fr" one. (See Eurobites: EU Warns Google Over 'Right to Be Forgotten' Opportunism.)