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September 20, 2021
Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Orange turns to Ericsson for mobile money boost; Vodafone, ITU combine on mobile Internet initiative in Africa; BT's emissions target moves closer.
UK cable operator Virgin Media has teamed up with Plume, a mesh Wi-Fi specialist, to make Plume's HomePass smart home service available to all UK households – including those not covered by Virgin's network. HomePass works with all Internet service providers and uses cloud-controlled adaptive booster pods to create a "self-optimizing" Wi-Fi network throughout the home, as well as offering features such as device security, in-home motion sensing and parental controls. Virgin is charging £99 (US$135.51) for an annual HomePass subscription with one "SuperPod" as standard, with additional pods starting at £99 each.
Orange has turned to Ericsson's Wallet Platform to bolster its mobile money offering in 14 of the countries in its Orange Money footprint, starting with Senegal. Orange Money is now available to more than 60 million subscribers in 17 countries across Africa and the Middle East, where it facilitated more than €62 billion in transactions in 2020 alone.
Vodafone has joined forces with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to launch an initiative aimed at getting billions more people – many of them in Africa – to access the Internet through a smartphone by 2030. While mobile accounts for 86% of connections to the Internet in low- and middle-income countries, billions of people continue to use feature phones without an Internet connection, and the 2G market continues to grow – meaning that the "digital divide" becomes ever more stark. To coincide with the launch of this initiative, Vodafone, Vodacom and Safaricom have published the second Africa.Connected report, which examines how the use of 4G can be accelerated in sub-Saharan Africa.
BT has brought forward its target for net-zero carbon emissions from 2045 to 2030 for its own operational emissions and to 2040 for its supply chain and customer emissions. In 2020, the company announced that it had completed the switch to 100% renewable electricity worldwide and committed to moving the majority of its 33,000 strong commercial fleet to electric or zero-carbon emissions vehicles by 2030. (See The greenwashing of telecom.)
The UK government says that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will raise Amazon's pitiful record on proportionate tax payments when he meets up with company founder and noted space-botherer Jeff Bezos in New York today (Monday). As Reuters reports, Amazon's revenues in the UK increased by more than half in 2020, to £20.63 billion ($28.23 billion), but its UK division somehow paid just £18 million ($24.6 million) in direct taxes.
Sure has won a second major contract from the Isle of Man government, this one for managed wide-area network services. The company will be sole provider of managed WAN services for all government sites in the east of the island, including Douglas and Onchan.
UK-based Colt Technology Services has appointed Andrew Edison as executive vice president for sales, marketing and customer relationship management (that's a supersized lanyard right there) and Mark Beeden as chief of staff to the CEO. Both are in-house appointments.
— Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading
Read more about:Europe
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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