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Eurobites: Biblical storms hit MTN's service in South Africa

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Sky launches social broadband tariff; T-Systems boss gets another five years; "click-to-dial vultures" slammed.

  • MTN's services in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa have been hit by the heavy rains and subsequent flooding in the region, which have caused widespread infrastructure damage and power outages at more than 500 MTN sites. Gaining access to the damaged sites is a major problem, as many roads are damaged and impassable, while battery power backup at many of the sites has already been depleted. And the region is not out of the woods yet – further storms are predicted.

  • And away from the biblical weather, MTN has received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria to run its MoMo mobile money service in the country.

  • Sky, the UK-based purveyor of pay-TV and more, has fallen into line with BT, Virgin Media O2 and others and agreed to offer a "social broadband tariff" for households in receipt of Universal Credit welfare payments. The Sky Broadband Basics tariff, which costs £20 (US$26) a month for 18 months, is only available to existing Sky broadband customers, though Sky is offering a similar product to non-Sky broadband customers through its Now brand.

  • The CEO of Deutsche Telekom's T-Systems IT subsidiary, Adel Al-Saleh, has had his contract extended for a further five years. His contract for the second term begins in 2023 and runs until 2027.

  • Which?, the UK consumer organization, has aimed both barrels at "click-to-dial vultures" who duped customers searching for the helplines of either Sky, BT or TalkTalk on Google into hooking up with a relatively unknown Cypriot broadband firm instead. The firm in question, Supanet, has proved to be not that super after all, says Which?, attracting complaints from customers, some of whom have been hit with extortionate cancellation fees and threatened with debt collectors when they tried to leave. Google has now removed the offending (and misleading) adverts.

  • UK towers company Arqiva has appointed Katrina Dick as its chief legal officer. Dick, an Aussie, has worked for several companies in the communications, media and broadcasting sectors, Virgin Media and UKTV among them.

  • Axian Telecom, which last week closed the acquisition of Millicom's operations in Tanzania and Zanzibar, says it intends significant investment in Tanzania over the next five years, with 4G forming the backbone of plans to provide customers with improved network coverage.

  • UK altnet CityFibre has begun its fiber rollout in the town of Luton, part of a £45 million ($58.5 million) project that also takes in neighboring Dunstable. Instalcom will be doing the actual digging. Vodafone, TalkTalk and Zen have already signed up to sell their broadband services over the completed network.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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