Eurobites: Vive les vieux smartphones, says France

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Zain revenue down; real-estate companies warned on digital failings; more bad ads from UK mobile operators.

  • The French government is considering the introduction of new regulation that will deter operators from promoting the unnecessary early renewal of smartphones. As Reuters reports, the proposed regulation is part of a "tech and environment" roadmap intended to lessen the environmental impact of the smartphones sector. Orange, Bouygues and SFR are all guilty of trying to persuade customers to upgrade their devices on new contracts even though their old phones still work perfectly well, says the report.

  • Zain Group, which operates across the Middle East and Africa, saw full-year revenue fall 2% year-on-year in 2020, to KD1.63 billion (US$5.3 billion), while EBITDA for the period declined by 8% to reach KD673 million ($2.2 billion). In a statement, Zain said that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic dented its revenue by $417 million for the full year.

  • The real-estate industry needs to up its tech game if it is to compete against "digital-first" companies that have encroached on its turf over the past decade, according a new report from Nordic operator Telia and the Arthur D. Little consultancy. Facilities managers, says the report, need to embrace the Internet of Things and analytics software that offers insights into crowd movement within buildings and other property-related issues.

  • Three and O2 have both fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority's weekly roll-call of shame. A TV, website and paid-for search ad by Three were banned for not adequately substantiating the claim that the operator had the "best network for data," while O2's TV and newspaper ad claiming it was the "UK's No.1 network" was found to be misleading because the comparisons it made with competitors were unclear.

  • Hyperoptic, an alternative network provider in the UK, has been chosen by housebuilder Avant to supply full-fiber gigabit connectivity to 22 housing developments in Scotland, north-east England, Yorkshire and the Midlands, potentially reaching around 2,000 households.

  • Telecom Italia (TIM)'s board of directors has unanimously approved its "slate for renewal," presenting the following ten candidates: Salvatore Rossi (chairman), Luigi Gubitosi (CEO), Paola Bonomo, Franck Cadoret, Luca De Meo, Arnaud de Puyfontaine, Cristiana Falcone, Giovanni Gorno Tempini, Marella Moretti and Ilaria Romagnoli.

  • Nokia has landed a three-year network upgrade deal with Globe Telecom of the Philippines. The deployment, which includes 5G rollout, will cover the second and third largest islands of Mindanao and Visayas, and will begin in Q2 2021, with completion expected in 2023.

  • French antitrust investigators have come down hard on Google for what they allege is the search giant's failure to properly conduct negotiations over the right to reuse content from news publishers. According to a Reuters report citing two unnamed sources, Google's failure to comply with existing protocols was "exceptionally serious."

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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