Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange nurtures startups; Austrian spectrum row; will anyone download the bride-valuation app?
Shareholders in Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT) have approved the $8.4 billion sale of Brazilian operator Oi's Portuguese assets to French group Altice, reports Bloomberg. It is thought the sale could pave the way for greater consolidation in the Brazilian market. (See Eurobites: Portugal Telecom Set to Decide on Altice Sale and Eurobites: Altice Bids $8.8B for Portugal Telecom.)
Orange (NYSE: FTE) has launched a new funding vehicle for startups, focusing particularly on new companies working in areas such as the cloud, mobile payment, the Internet of Things and big data. Orange Digital Ventures, as the program is called, has earmarked €20 million ($22.4 million) for its first year of operation, which it will distribute by making capital investments via minority holdings.
T-Mobile Austria is claiming that it has won the latest round of a legal tussle over the allocation of spectrum, reports Reuters. The European Court of Justice ruled that T-Mobile Austria should have had a say in the divvying up of frequencies after Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (Hong Kong: 0013; Pink Sheets: HUWHY)'s local unit Hutchison 3G Austria GmbH took over Orange Austria in 2012.
BT Sport, the pay-TV arm of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), has extended its relationship with sports broadcaster ESPN, signing a seven-year agreement that will expand the range and amount of ESPN content on BT Sport, up to 5,000 hours a year.
Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has used a BBC debate at Davos to hit out at technology companies' tax arrangements, saying "Firms that take the most advantage of international tax rules are technology companies," adding that he would like to see them bring a "sense of responsibility to the system." (See Eurobites: EC to Charge Apple With Illegal Tax Deals in Ireland.)
And finally… We don't know if this app is for Android or iOS, but it's certainly non-PC: Bloomberg reports that a software developer in South Africa, name of Robert Matsaneng, has come up with the Lobola Calculator, an app that works out the value of a prospective bride, thereby, erm, bringing an African cultural tradition into the smartphone age. The app, says the report, "considers the person's age, height, weight, waist size, and how attractive they are: ranging from 'not at all' to 'really hot' ," then spits out a value in South African rand. Ouch.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading