Eurobites: Shareholders put the heat back on Ericsson execs over Iran scandal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Spotify suspends service in Russia; Netflix invests in South African productions; Zen rides on CityFibre network nationwide.

  • Ericsson CEO Borje Ekholm and several of his senior-executive colleagues might not be out of the woods yet regarding the scandal involving alleged payments to Isis in Iran. According to the Financial Times (paywall applies), Norway's $1.3 trillion oil fund – a top ten Ericsson shareholder – is set to vote against discharging Ekholm and several other directors from liability for the collateral damage of the Isis affair at Tuesday's annual meeting. And two advisory companies, Glass Lewis and ISS, have also both recommended that shareholders vote against Ekholm et al.

  • Spotify, the Sweden-based audio streaming service, plans to suspend its service in Russia following the Putin regime's introduction of a new media law that essentially bans any negative coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As Reuters reports, the company has already closed its office in Russia in response to what it called the "unprovoked attack on Ukraine."

  • Netflix, which also suspended its Russian service earlier this month, has pledged to invest more than 900 million rand ($61.7 million) in South Africa-based productions over the next couple of years, Business Tech reports. The company intends to create co-productions alongside local studios such as Film Afrika and Gambit Film, the report adds.

  • Zen Internet, the Manchester-based UK Internet service provider, has become the third ISP to join altnet CityFibre across its national footprint. The expanded agreement between the two companies will enable Zen to use CityFibre's complete rollout, deploying full-fiber infrastructure in 285 cities, towns and locations across the country by 2025.

  • UK network service provider Freshwave has teamed up with telecom reseller Online Systems to create a 4G private network for Verdant Leisure, an operator of trailer parks in Scotland. Vodafone agreed to share some of its spectrum with Freshwave in 2019 to help offer high-speed broadband in areas without 4G connectivity, as well as to promote efficient use of its spectrum. Connectivity will be made possible by a network of small cells and a mini antenna on each trailer. The network uses Vodafone's 2600MHz spectrum in areas where the operator does not yet use it for public services.

  • Openreach, the semi-autonomous network access arm of UK incumbent BT, has appointed Natalie Ceeney as an independent non-executive board director. Ceeney, who replaces Liz Benison, is a seasoned non-exec who started her career at McKinsey & Company.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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