Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Telecom Italia strikes deal with Eurosport; luxury handset maker in a spot of bother; shares in MTS arrested; Orange goes to the movies.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has been socked by a €2.42 billion (US$2.72 billion) fine from the European Commission for, according to the Commission, abusing its market dominance as a search engine in the European Union by giving an unfair and illegal advantage to its own comparison-shopping feature at the expense of rival comparison-shopping sites. So Google must now, in theory at least, pay the fine and ditch its comparison-shopping feature in its current form within 90 days or else face additional penalty payments of up to 5% of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company. Even for Alphabet/Google, that is big bucks: expect its legal team to be digging in for the long haul…
Telecom Italia (TIM) has struck a content deal with Eurosport to bring major domestic and international sports events such as the Olympics and Tour de France to its TV service. The deal runs until the end of 2020.
It seems there's trouble afoot at the UK headquarters of Vertu , the manufacturer of "luxury" (translation: "obscene") mobile phones that can cost up to £40,000 ($51,000) a piece. As the Daily Telegraph reports, around 200 workers at the plant say their wages are overdue, garbage is piling up uncollected and the company is facing claims by suppliers over unpaid bills. Vertu, once a part of Nokia, is now owned by Murat Hakan Uzan, a Turkish entrepreneur based in Paris.
A legal dispute in Russia between conglomerate Sistema and oil company Rosneft has resulted in Sistema's shares in Mobile TeleSystems OJSC (MTS) (NYSE: MBT) being "arrested" by the financial authorities, meaning they cannot be used, though they have not actually been seized. The arrest was imposed on Sistema's 31.76% stake in MTS but, according to a Reuters report, the operator insists the move will not affect its day-to-day operations.
Which?, the UK consumer organization, has published new analysis pointing out the country's best and worst areas for broadband speeds. And as you might expect, the far-flung Orkneys and Shetland Islands in the north of Scotland are revealed as laggards, with average downlink speeds of less than 10 Mbit/s, while the fastest local authority areas for broadband were identified as Tamworth (in the West Midlands), Reading (an hour or so west of London) and Adur in West Sussex, all of which were up around the 30 Mbit/s mark. The average downlink speed across the whole of the UK is 17 Mbit/s. The UK government has proposed 10 Mbit/s as the minimum downlink speed under its Universal Service Obligation (USO), which anyone would be entitled to request.
China Unicom Global has deployed BICS ' Roaming Hub platform to help its customers stay connected when they travel abroad. At the beginning of 2017, China Unicom Global launched an overseas mobile virtual network operator service called CUniq in Hong Kong, the UK and the US.
Luc Besson: Super-talented movie auteur or overrated and oversexed enfant terrible who never grew up? You decide. Orange (NYSE: FTE) obviously rates him, because it has struck a deal with the maker of The Fifth Element and Nikita to get first dibs on his "highly anticipated" (it says here) summer release, which sports the unwieldy handle Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Orange has secured exclusive pay-TV rights for the movie, and will also sell it through its VoD service.
Cinéma du Luc: Bad-boy Besson puts VR through its paces at an Orange junket last year.