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Regulatory/Politics

Eurobites: Truphone gets help with Abramovich problem

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange is not the only fruit; video-consultations for African diaspora; Telefónica opens training facility.

  • UK-based Truphone has hired consultancy FRP Advisory to "help review its strategic options" after news stories linked the company to recently sanctioned (and UK-based) Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. In a statement, a company spokesperson said: "It should be emphasised that Truphone is not subject to any sanctions. The business will continue to operate as usual, and we remain committed to delivering the highest quality of service to customers and partners, as well as ongoing support to its employees." As TechCrunch reported last month, Truphone has previously disclosed raising more than $200 million from two funds that each count Abramovich as their main financial contributor. Truphone has understandably attempted to play down the Abramovich connection, saying that the oligarch did "not have a relevant 'interest' for the purpose of UK sanctions legislation in Truphone."

  • Orange has announced it is to rebrand as Pamplemousse, which is the French word for "grapefruit." In a statement, Xavier Prendlepith, executive vice president for identity nurture, said: "We feel the move to a larger citrus fruit reflects the upscaling of our wider ambitions in the connectivity space. We plan to reach many more segments of the industrial ecosystem, while still remaining essentially plant-based. Marvin Gaye once compared the world to 'a great big onion,' but we feel that now the time is right for a truly massive grapefruit of digital transformation."

    (Source: Milana Jovanov on Unsplash)
    (Source: Milana Jovanov on Unsplash)

  • Elsewhere on what is soon to be Planet Pamplemousse, Orange has teamed up with DabaDoc to develop a medical video-consultation service for families in the African diaspora. The idea is that the diaspora can help those still living in their country of origin with health problems: The customer, from the diaspora, wishing to offer a DabaDoc Consult signs in to an Orange trans-country payment platform, chooses the amount they wish for the consultation, and then pays for the service by bank card. The beneficiary of the DabaDoc Consult then receives a code that they can use as payment for the video consultation on the platform.

  • Telefónica has created what it's calling a "campus" at its Madrid headquarters which will be used for digital skills training either face-to-face or remotely via the likes of Microsoft Teams. Channelling his inner pamplemousse, Telefónica's chairman, José María Álvarez-Pallete, said: "Our roots lie in communication and telecommunications. That is our past, our future is connecting lives. This campus is above all a place from within Telefónica for the whole world to connect."

  • NTT Data UK, the UK/Ireland arm of the Japanese-based IT services giant, has appointed Fernando Apezteguia as its new CEO. Apezteguia has been with the company for more than 20 years.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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