Eurobites: EU Data Laws Clear Another Hurdle

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Vivendi makes itself comfortable at Telecom Italia; Huawei scores smart home deal in Belarus; Dixons Carphone has strong H1.

  • The European Union has moved an important step closer to turning its proposals for data protection reform into law, with Parliament and Council negotiators reaching agreement on the two draft laws in the package. The proposals have the twin aims of giving European citizens greater control over their private data and creating greater clarity for businesses looking to do business digitally in Europe. If the deal is approved in committee on Thursday it will be put to a vote by Parliament in the new year and, if it is voted through, EU member states will have two years to transpose the provisions of the directive into their national laws. While broadly pleased with the news, the European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) believes the lawmakers have "missed the opportunity" to repeal the ePrivacy Directive, thereby creating, in ETNO's eyes, "regulatory asymmetry" across the EU. (See EC Proposes Reform of Data Privacy Laws.)

  • French media conglomerate Vivendi has won its battle to gain greater influence over the strategy of Telecom Italia (TIM) , winning four seats on the board and blocking a change in share structure that would have weakened its stake, reports the Financial Times. It seems the French have a thing for Telecom Italia at the moment: Xavier Niel, the billionaire owner of Iliad (Euronext: ILD), has also acquired securities equating to 15% of the Italian incumbent.

  • Belarus-based Beltelecom has signed a smart home deal with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. , with the aim of reaching 200,000 households with features such as home security intelligence, cloud storage and home automation. Huawei will supply its NetOpen smart home platform, gateways and terminal equipment as its side of the bargain.

  • Dixons Carphone , the UK-based mobile phone retailer, has had a good first half, with headline profits before tax up 23% year-on-year, to £121 million (US$181.4 million). In the UK, its new MVNO, iD, reached 200,000 subscribers. In July, Dixons Carphone announced a partnership deal with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) in the US, which saw them planning to collaborate on a pilot program to build and operate about 20 new Sprint stores.

  • There have been a few executive departures from Telekom Austria Group this year (including the CEO and CTO), and the latest to pack his things is Michael Jungwirth, who has resigned as the carrier's director of human resources and regulatory & European affairs. He will leave the company at the end of the year. Since July 2014 Telekom Austria has been controlled by América Móvil S.A. de C.V. , the Mexican operator owned by Carlos Slim. (See Eurobites: Carlos Slim Lands Telekom Austria Eurobites: Telekom Austria CEO Resigns.)

  • Swisscom AG (NYSE: SCM) is looking to bolster its R&D with the creation of the Swisscom Digital Lab on the campus of Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). Areas of interest for the lab include new user interfaces, professional and household robotics, intelligent towns and buildings, biological sensors and artificial intelligence.

  • BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s success in nabbing the rights to European Champions League soccer matches from Sky has not improved its position in the UK's official telecom popularity stakes, according to a Daily Telegraph report. Regulator Ofcom 's latest count of customer gripes found that between July and September subscribers to BT's pay-TV services complained to Ofcom at more than twice the rate of the previous quarter, while its broadband and landline businesses also saw complaints rise steeply.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

  • Mitch Wagner 12/16/2015 | 1:38:24 PM
    "Dixon's Carphone" As an American not familiar with the brand, I'm glad to see Dixon's is sticking with the "Carphone" name. They do know that you can use mobile phones outside your car (or, as Dixon's probably says "horseless carriage") now, right?
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