Eurobites: Finns Look for Roaming Opt-Out

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: talk of Telefónica quitting Mexico; Vodafone hit by Gulf crisis; Salt peps up its 4G network.

  • Finland's three main mobile operators -- Telia , DNA Oy and Elisa Corp. -- have asked the country's telecom regulator if they can be granted a one-year exemption from new European Union rules ending roaming charges for EU citizens. As the Finnish website YLE reports, the operators claim that the new rules, which come into force on June 15, would mean a loss in revenue as well as price increases for those who don't use their phones abroad. According to Finnish European MP Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, operators need to prove to regulator FICORA that the new rules would mean more than 3% in lost revenues. (See EU Agrees to Ban Roaming Charges, Enforce Net Neutrality and EU Rules Will Trigger Worrying Data Tsunami, Says BICS.)

  • Telefónica is considering bailing out of Mexico in the face of increased competition there from AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), according to a report on the Vozpopuli website.

  • The increasing isolation of Qatar in the Middle East, as neighboring countries cut diplomatic ties and restrict the use of airspace in protest at what they see as Qatar's attempts to destabilize the region, is bad news for Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) 's Qatari unit. As the Daily Telegraph reports, shares in Vodafone Qatar, in which the mobile giant owns a 23% stake, slumped nearly 10% on Monday as the crisis in the Gulf escalated.

  • And on a global group level, Vodafone is trying to extricate itself from the sort of "automated" advertising offered by the likes of Google and Facebook which can mean that the operator's ads appear on online channels promoting "hate speech and fake news." It has come up with a new set of rules which it hopes will prevent its brand being sullied by association with online nastiness.

  • Swiss mobile operator Salt SA is trumpeting its progress on network expansion, boasting that 88% of its basestations are now equipped with 4G technology, while more than 40% of the Swiss population can access its 4G+ network, with download speeds of up to 300 Mbit/s.

  • Last weekend was a busy one for Interoute Communications Ltd. As UEFA's cloud services provider, it can reveal that there were 4.1 million visits to the UEFA.com website as Juventus got hammered 4-1 by Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League Final. Apparently, footage of Cristiano Ronaldo's reaction to the victory and Sergio Ramos lifting up the oversized trophy were the most in-demand video segments.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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