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Eurobites: Orange takes Anytime to the bank

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: UK mobile operators help out with home schooling; Iskratel is high in fiber; Kenya imposes Digital Services Tax.

  • Orange's full-blooded foray into banking continues with the group's acquisition of Anytime, a so-called (but only by Orange) "neobank" that targets sole traders and small businesses, offering business accounts, expense management tools and the like. According to Orange, Anytime is one of the top three banks of its type in France, and has turned a profit since 2018. Anytime's services will initially be offered through Orange channels in France, but will be rolled out in time across Orange Bank's other European markets. Orange introducing its inaugural banking service to France in 2017 and plans to roll it out to seven European countries by 2023. (See Orange Bank Job Is Going Europe-Wide.)

  • In the wake of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's announcement of the UK's third full-on national lockdown, which among other things closes all schools until at least mid-February, the country's mobile operators have been responding to political pressure to do more to help out those children who, for whatever reason, do not have access to fixed-line broadband at home and who are, as a result, reliant on (often pricey) mobile data when it comes to online learning. BT and its mobile subsidiary EE are giving disadvantaged families 20GB of free extra mobile data until the end of this academic year, while Three UK says it is offering unlimited free "data upgrades." For its part, Vodafone began offering free data SIMs to children back in November under its connected.schools program, while O2 said in an email that it is also "part of the scheme."

  • Slovenia's Iskratel has landed a fiber deployment deal in Potosí, Bolivia, one of the highest cities in the world at a wheezy 13,420 feet above sea level. Teaming up with its Latin American partner, Teleserv Group Bolivia, Iskratel is deploying a new optical broadband network for Potosí service provider Cotap. The deployment will be complemented by Iskratel's virtual IMS and unified communications offerings.

  • Digital transactions in Kenya, a category that includes such things as payment for streaming services and mobile apps, are now subject to a newly introduced Digital Service Tax (DST). As Nairobi News reports, the tax is charged at 1.5% of the gross transaction value and will be due at the time of payment for the service to the service provider. For residents and companies with a permanent home in Kenya, however, the DST will be offset against income tax.

  • ITV, the UK's leading commercial broadcaster, has extended its relationship with Yospace, the server-side ad insertion (SSAI) pioneer, until 2022. Yospace supplies targeted advertising on the ITV Hub catch-up service, and the new phase of collaboration sees ITV extend the reach of SSAI to connected TVs, which represent the fastest-growing segment of over-the-top (OTT) viewing in the UK.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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