Eurobites: Plot Thickens Over Egypt's 'Free Basics' Ban

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: NB-IoT drives smart parking in UAE; Amazon reportedly considering a stake in HERE; Telenor's Friday feeling.

  • The Egyptian government blocked Facebook 's Free Basics no-frills Internet service at the end of 2015 because the social media giant refused to enable the government to circumvent the service's security and spy on its users, Reuters claims. Free Basics, which has courted controversy in other parts of the world, was launched in Egypt in October, allowing anyone with a connection to access a limited set of Internet services, including Facebook, for free. (See India Deals Death Blow to Facebook's Free Basics .)

  • Etisalat -- which was one of the operators dragged into Egypt's Free Basics shenanigans -- has teamed up with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in the UAE to launch what they say is the first successful trial of smart parking in the Middle East using narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) technology. (See IoT's Year Zero.)

  • Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is looking at taking a stake in HERE, the mapping company that was bought off Nokia by a consortium of German carmakers, according to a Reuters report. It is thought that Amazon would be a good fit in that it could provide the cloud-computing power that the consortium needs to keep its mapping services up to date.

  • Openet Telecom Ltd. , the Irish BSS specialist, is making its free Weaver NFV software available for download anywhere in the world. Weaver, says the vendor, works to upgrade software and/or configurations within the existing VMs (virtual machines) instead of simply creating new VM instances.

  • NEC Europe has appointed Masahiro Ikeno as its new president and CEO. Ikeno previously served as vice president of NEC's Global Business Unit, where he was responsible for NEC's business operations in North America, Latin America and EMEA.

  • UK mobile operator EE , now a part of the BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) empire, is creating 210 new jobs in North Tyneside in its customer service and sales departments. EE has around 14,000 employees in total.

  • Oh, those zany Norwegians: Telenor Group (Nasdaq: TELN) is getting into the spirit of this special Friday by announcing that "Textese", or the language of SMS, will henceforth become the official corporate language of the company. "After careful calculation, we predict that Textese will reduce the amount of time spent preparing and reading written communication by more than 80%," said an underworked PR person, in a statement.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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