Mobile services

Eurobites: Telenor Faces $105M Fine for Freezing Out Third Norwegian Operator

Also in today's Thanksgiving-ignoring EMEA regional roundup: EU set to approve Microsoft's LinkedIn acquisition; business rates relief for UK fiber rollouts; TalkTalk offers new-look YouView.

  • The Norwegian Competition Authority is considering imposing a fine of 906 million kroner (US$105 million) on Telenor for what it says is the operator's abuse of its dominant market position in Norway. According to the Authority's statement, Telenor failed to give rival Network Norway proper access to its network, effectively impeding the entry of a third mobile operator into the Norwegian market. Telenor has until March next year to come up with a response to the allegations.

  • The European Commission is set to approve Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s planned $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn Corp. , provided the software giant makes small changes to the concessions it has already promised to allay competition concerns, according to a Reuters report citing unnamed sources. (See Microsoft & LinkedIn: Marriage Made in the Cloud.)

  • Wednesday's Autumn Statement from the UK government grabbed headlines by promising an additional £740 million ($921.8 million) for 5G trials and £400 million ($498.7 million) for fiber-to-the-premises rollout, but another significant announcement that almost slipped under the radar related to business rates, the local tax that is levied on businesses. Telcos will, as the Financial Times reports, be given a five-year exemption from the rates as they apply to existing and planned networks, news that constitutes a nice early Christmas present for the likes of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) and smaller rivals such as CityFibre . (See Eurobites: UK Govt Pledges £740M for 5G Trials, £400M for FTTP.)

  • TalkTalk , the broadband and pay-TV provider, says it will be the first to offer the "next generation" version of the YouView hybrid TV platform, which is the fruit of a joint venture between various broadcasters, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva . The revamped service features, among other tweaks, a more image-led layout and a TV Planner app which allows viewers to set reminders or record live TV via their mobile. BT is reportedly in the process of trying to take full control of YouView, having been frustrated at what it saw as the slow development of the platform. (See Eurobites: BT Seeks Control of YouView Remote.)

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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