Eurobites: Telecom Italia gets go-ahead for Oi carve-up

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: SA president finally pins down spectrum auction date; European publishers get the hump with Google; YouView exec heads to TalkTalk.

  • Italy's antitrust authority, CADE, has given the go-ahead to the acquisition of mobile assets belonging to Brazil's Oi by TIM Brasil, Telecom Italia's South American subsidiary, as part of a joint bid with Telefônica Brasil and Claro. Oi filed for bankruptcy protection in 2016, citing a debt load of $19 billion. No financial details of the deal have been disclosed.

  • The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, has used his "state of the nation" speech to, among other things, signal the start of the high-frequency spectrum auction in three weeks' time and commit to facilitating the "rapid deployment of broadband infrastructure across all municipalities by establishing a standard model for the granting of municipal permissions." The auction has been subject to years of delays, with operator Telkom being a particular thorn in the side of regulator ICASA. (See SA spectrum showdown gets April court date.)

  • The European Publishers Council has filed an antitrust complaint with the European Commission against Google in a bid, it says, to "break the ad tech stranglehold" the search giant has over publishers and other businesses in the ad tech ecosystem. Specifically, the Council calls on the Commission to "hold Google accountable for its anticompetitive conduct and impose remedies to restore conditions of effective competition in the ad tech value chain."

  • UK operator TalkTalk has appointed Susie Buckridge as general manager of group product, a new role at the company. She will lead a new department encompassing TalkTalk's consumer, wholesale and B2B units. Buckridge joins TalkTalk from YouView, the TV platform part owned by TalkTalk which was set up to bring together in one place the various catch-up services of UK's public service broadcasters.

  • The African Development Fund and the government of Malawi have signed a grant agreement for $14.2 million to carry out infrastructure upgrades and create a more efficient and transparent digital payment system. The project is intended to boost financial inclusion in the country, particularly with regard to women and those living in rural areas.

  • UK mobile operator Three has introduced an in-stadium network at Stamford Bridge, home to English Premier League soccer heavyweights Chelsea FC. Fans equipped with a 5G device will be able enjoy speeds of up to 250 Mbit/s. According to Three, this makes it the first Premier League stadium in the UK have switched on 5G "across its entirety."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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