Eurobites: EU Wants Tax Transparency From Tech Titans

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Microsoft signs up to Privacy Shield framework; 3 Sweden taps Nokia for TD-LTE; Telefónica boosts LTE coverage with BICS IPX agreement.

  • Some of the world's leading technology-cum-communications companies, including Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), may be forced to be much more transparent about their tax arrangements within the European Union, according to a BBC report. The European Commission is set to unveil plans today to introduce rules that will force multinationals with more than €750 million (US$854 million) in sales to detail how much tax they pay in which EU countries, as well as what is secreted away in certain tax havens. The news comes in the wake of the Panama papers controversy, which has once again put the spotlight on companies and individuals with Byzantine and often questionable tax arrangements.

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has become the first US technology heavyweight to say it will sign up to the new Europe-US data transfer framework, Privacy Shield, which has replaced the discredited Safe Harbor arrangement. As Reuters reports, Microsoft said it would use Privacy Shield to transfer users' data to the US from Europe, adding that it will "put in place new commitments to advance privacy as this instrument is implemented." (See Eurobites: US Buffs Up Data 'Privacy Shield' and Eurobites: 'Safe Harbor' Heads for Calmer Waters.)

  • 3 Sweden is to tap Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK)'s knowhow to deploy TD-LTE-Advanced mobile broadband technology on its network. The deployment will allow 3 Sweden to take advantage of spectrum in the 2600MHz band 38, which the vendor claims offers significantly higher capacity and download speeds.

  • Speaking of Nokia, the Finnish government is to apply for financial aid from the European Union to help combat the hardship caused by the vendor's decision to cut around 1,300 jobs in Espoo, Tampere and Oulu, reports YLE. Finland has received such help in the past in the wake of job losses at the likes of Nokia and Microsoft.

  • Telefónica 's Business Solutions unit has signed an IPX agreement with Belgium's BICS in a bid to boost its LTE coverage worldwide.

  • UK cable operator Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) has expressed its bafflement at the decision by the Competition & Markets Authority to attempt to persuade the European Commission to veto the proposed merger of O2 and 3. In an open letter to the CMA, CEO Tom Mockridge points out that just three months ago the same authority gave its blessing to BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA)'s takeover of EE , and claims that the union the CMA is opposing would in fact "provide a counter balance to the strength of BT/EE, offering an alternative source of capacity to other providers who will drive competition in their own right."

  • SSE Enterprise Telecom, the UK provider of network infrastructure services, has extended its fiber network to connect up Colt Technology Services Group Ltd 's Welwyn Garden City data center, 40km from London.

  • BT has landed the contract to upgrade and manage the global communications infrastructure of Panalpina, a freight forwarding and logistics company. The new network will be a hybrid affair, based on BT's IP Connect and Internet Connect services.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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