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Eurobites: MTS Pays US Authorities $850M to Settle Uzbekistan Bribery Case

Paul Rainford
3/7/2019

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Zain and Nokia WING it for IoT; MTN raises revenue, plans assets sale; Austria's 5G auction results.

  • Russia's largest mobile operator, MTS, has agreed to pay the US Department of Justice and the US Securities and Exchange Commission a total of $850 million to settle a case brought by those authorities over allegations of bribery at MTS's subsidiary in Uzbekistan. Following the initial allegations, in 2016, MTS sold its mobile business in Uzbekistan to the government.

  • Zain Saudi Arabia and Nokia are teaming up to develop IoT services, drawing on the Finnish vendor's Worldwide IoT Network Grid (WING) to launch offerings for enterprise customers working in areas such as public safety, aviation and energy.

  • Full-year service revenues at South Africa's MTN Group grew by 10.7% in constant-currency terms in 2018, as its subscriber base increased by 16 million to 233 million customers across 21 markets throughout Africa and the Middle East. It has also announced that it is selling its stake in Botswana's Mascom for $300 million, and has committed to raising 15 billion South African rand ($1 billion) from the sale of assets over the next three years.

  • Austria's communications regulator, RTR, has announced the results of its 5G spectrum auction, the whole exercise raising €187.7 million ($211.4 million) for the government's coffers. For the full breakdown of who got what, see the table below.

    Table 1: Austrian 5G Spectrum Auction: Results

    Region A1 Telekom Hutchison Drei T-Mobile MASS Response LIWEST Salzburg AG Holding Graz
    A01u (Wien + St. Pölten) 140MHz 100MHz 110MHz
    A01r (Niederösterreich + Burgenland) 140MHz 100MHz 110MHz 30MHz
    A02u (Linz + Wels) 100MHz 100MHz 110MHz 80MHz
    A02r (Oberösterreich) 100MHz 100MHz 110MHz 80MHz
    A03u (Salzburg Stadt) 100MHz 100MHz 110MHz 80MHz
    A03r (Salzburg Land) 100MHz 100MHz 110MHz 80MHz
    A04u (Innsbruck + Bregenz) 120MHz 100MHz 110MHz
    A04r (Tirol + Vorarlberg) 120MHz 100MHz 110MHz
    A05u (Klagenfurt + Villach) 120MHz 100MHz 110MHz
    A05r (Kärnten + Osttirol) 120MHz 100MHz 110MHz
    A06u (Graz) 120MHz 100MHz 110MHz 50MHz
    A06r (Steiermark) 100MHz 100MHz 110MHz 40MHz 40MHz
    Source: RTR

  • Omantel Wholesale, the wholesale arm of the Oman operator, has launched a separate entity, Omantel International (OTI), which will manage Omantel's international voice business. Omantel has investments in 20 subsea cable systems, with landings in more than 120 locations around the world.

  • A proposed EU-wide 3% tax on the revenues of Internet giants doing business in Europe, such as Google and Amazon, looks like being ditched, according to a Reuters report. Instead, the report says that the EU is pinning its hopes on a global tax reform agreement being led by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (See Eurobites: EU Wants 3% of the Tech Titans and Eurobites: EU Wants Tax Transparency From Tech Titans.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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