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September 26, 2011
SFR , Etisalat and OTE S.A. start the week in today's roundup of EMEA telecom headlines.
French operator SFR has decided to give away a 3G femtocell to any subscriber who wants one. The little devices cost €49 (US$66), which will be automatically reimbursed as soon as it is connected and activated. As for its macro network, the operator has rolled out HSPA+ in the country with 43 percent of the population covered with mobile broadband speeds up to 21 Mbit/s. SFR also said it is testing an Auto Connect Wi-Fi service that will seamlessly switch users from Wi-Fi to 3G connections, depending on hotspot and mobile coverage conditions.
UAE-based operator Etisalat has launched an Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile network on its home turf, offering speeds of more than 100 Mbit/s. The company plans to have around 1,000 base stations serving the network by the end of the year. (See Etisalat Switches On LTE-FDD in UAE, Etisalat Selects Zhone and Etisalat Posts Q2, Preps LTE Launch.)
Greek operator OTE -- which is 40 percent owned by Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) -- has responded to the parlous state of Greece's economy by effectively cutting pay by 11 percent through a reduction of the working week from 40 to 35 hours. Existing pay and conditions will be reinstated in 2015. (See OTE Cuts Pay, Euronews: DT Ups Its Hellenic Holding, OTE Reports Q2 and Euronews: May 6.)
The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority has put the cat amongst the pigeons by ruling that ISPs can only advertise downlink speeds that 10 percent of their subscribers can actually reach, reports The Independent. Broadband service providers in the U.K. have repeatedly been criticized for misleading customers with their "up to" claims on potential speeds. (See 'Up To' No Good and ISPs Shamed by UK Broadband Speed Tests.)
Vodafone UK has upset more than a few of its customers with the announcement that it plans to "simplify" its monthly bills by the simple expedient of rounding them up to the nearest 50 pence, reports The Guardian. The cost of some "out-of-bundle" calls (i.e. those that bust the data cap) is also going to increase by 67 percent, though the cost of other calls will come down. (See Vodafone's Key Data Points.)
Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
Paul is based on the Isle of Wight, a rocky outcrop off the English coast that is home only to a colony of technology journalists and several thousand puffins.
He has worked as a writer and copy editor since the age of William Caxton, covering the design industry, D-list celebs, tourism and much, much more.
During the noughties Paul took time out from his page proofs and marker pens to run a small hotel with his other half in the wilds of Exmoor. There he developed a range of skills including carrying cooked breakfasts, lying to unwanted guests and stopping leaks with old towels.
Now back, slightly befuddled, in the world of online journalism, Paul is thoroughly engaged with the modern world, regularly firing up his VHS video recorder and accidentally sending text messages to strangers using a chipped Nokia feature phone.
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