Euronews: BT Drives Into Middle East, Africa

BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), the European Commission and KPN Telecom NV (NYSE: KPN) are the big fish in today's trawl of EMEA telecom headlines.

  • BT is looking to hire around 170 new employees as part of a program to double its business in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa. It is hoping to repeat the success of similar initiatives in Asia Pacific and Latin America which, it says, have boosted orders by more than 50 percent in the first nine months of this financial year. (See BT Expands in Turkey, Middle East and Africa, Euronews: Sales Down, Profits Up at BT and Euronews: BT Profits Up 36% in Q2.)

  • The European Commission has written to the Dutch regulator, OPTA , telling it that its proposals for new termination rates in the Netherlands won't wash, as the proposed rates are much higher than those recommendeded by the EC in 2009. Neelie Kroes, the European Commission's vice president for the Digital Agenda said: "This case is important to lay down the roles of national authorities and courts in applying EU telecoms rules in a coordinated way that brings maximum benefit to consumers and to competition." (See EC Rejects Dutch Termination Rate Proposals and EC Addresses Dutch FTTx.)

  • Still in the Netherlands, incumbent KPN apologised on Monday in national newspapers for having to disable 2 million email accounts, reports Reuters. The action was taken following a security breach in January that resulted in the personal data of more than 500 of its customers ending up in public view online. (See KPN Lowers 2012 Profit Outlook and KPN CFO Resigns.)

  • Bloomberg reports that South Africa's Telkom SA Ltd. (NYSE/Johannesburg: TKG) is facing a fine of 3.5 billion rand ($454 million) for allegedly abusing its dominant market position by charging too much for its services.

  • Also facing a fine -- albeit a relative tiddler -- is Vodafone Ireland , reports the Irish Times. ComReg, the Irish regulator, has told it to say sorry to the tune of €400,000 ($527,000) for breaching EU regulations intended to prevent "bill shock."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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