Eurobites: ETNO, GSMA fear telco taxation creep

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: malware plays havoc in Africa; Google stunned by miniscule Russian fine; new names in Cuckoo's nest.

  • The European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO) and the GSMA have come together to voice their concerns over proposals from the OECD that seek to clamp down on "tax planning strategies" used by multinationals, telcos and other tech companies among them, to avoid paying their fair share of tax in countries where they are clearly generating huge profits. In a statement, ETNO and GSMA say that while they welcome the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework agreement, they are concerned that the proposals fail to "recognize the essential contribution of the telecommunications sector to the world's economies and its key features with respect to investment, tax and regulatory regimes." They also claim that the Inclusive Framework has "shifted from its original purpose of levying taxes on digital services in jurisdictions where the customer resides to a broad application that potentially subjects large multinationals within the telecommunications industry, who already pay their fair share of taxes, to double taxation." In the telecom industry's defense, they point out that multinational telcos already shell out for spectrum, are subject to extensive regulation and invest heavily in local infrastructure. (See EU to press ahead with digital levy plan.)

  • The process of "digital transformation" and the advent of widespread remote working in Africa has made the continent more alluring to those lovable purveyors of malware, new research from cybersecurity company Kaspersky reveals. During the first half of 2021, malware attacks rose by 5% in the region, with South Africa – at 32 million attacks – bearing the brunt. Nigeria – ironically, perhaps, given that it is often perceived as one of the major sources of cyber-nuisance – saw the largest percentage increase in attacks, up 23%.

  • Well, it looks like it's all over for Google. It's had a good run, but now we'll have to go back to Ask Jeeves to find the phone number of our nearest plumber. Because Russia, you see, has imposed a fine of 6 million roubles (US$80,881) on the search giant for, as Reuters reports, failing to delete content that Russia deems illegal. All things must pass, as a Beatle once said.

  • Cuckoo, "the UK's most loved national broadband provider" it says here, has announced a number of high-level appointments. Sarah Ahern joins as head of strategy and operations (from delivery app company Just Eat), Daniel Mali (previously at Monzo) is named as operations lead, and the appropriately monikered Ben Bentley (previously at Schroders Personal Wealth) becomes finance lead.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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