* Plessey Semiconductors Ltd. said it will work with Facebook Inc. to help the social media company to create prototypes and develop technologies for augmented reality and virtual reality use.
* The Spanish government postponed an upcoming auction of 700 MHz spectrum for 5G services due to the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports, citing a statement.
* Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin appointed Andrei Lipov as head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, effective immediately, UrduPoint News reports, citing a published decree. Former head Alexander Zharov has recently been appointed as the head of JSC Gazprom-media Holding.
* MIPTV will host a stripped-down online event March 30 to April 3 as an alternative to the annual international television market, called off earlier this month due to coronavirus fears.
* Apple Inc. launched a new app and website focused on COVID-19 screening to keep people informed and take necessary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
UK AND IRELAND
* U.K.'s TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC named former British Telecom Wholesale CEO Paul Reynolds to its board as independent nonexecutive director, Telecompaper reports. The appointment will take effect in April.
* British regional edge colocation provider Proximity Data Centres received new funding from Intermediate Capital Group PLC-owned ICG-Longbow that will allow for an £80 million deployment of 18 new data regions throughout the region, Tech.eu reports. The total amount of the funding was undisclosed.
* British Broadcasting Corp.'s BBC England inked a memorandum of understanding with the Community Media Association allowing the organization of 300 community radio stations to air BBC's local radio content free of charge during the coronavirus pandemic.
* U.K.'s National Health Service tapped tech companies Microsoft Corp., Palantir Technologies UK Ltd., Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Web Services Inc., London-based AI technology company Faculty and Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC to help develop a data platform for its COVID-19 response.
* Christian Köhler and Claudia Mina sold their shares in German post-production company Pirates 'N Paradise to long-term Managing Director and shareholder Gabor Hacsi, reports German news site New Business. Mina will continue to oversee the second post-production facility in Berlin, while Köhler withdrew completely from the business.
* German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung saw digital subscriptions increase by about 12,000 for F+, reports German news site DNV-Online.net.
* Altice Europe NV, the parent company of SFR, will not distribute any dividends to its shareholders in response to the French government's request to limit dividend distribution, reports Le Figaro.
* The Hommell Group signed the effective transfer of its flagship magazine Auto-Hebdo to Didier Calmels for an undisclosed amount, according to CB News. The transfer is expected to take place in mid-May and Romain Bernard, the current Auto-Hebdo editor-in-chief, will retain his position.
* A landslide off the west coast of Africa impacted two underwater cables in the area, causing network traffic disruption in the French overseas territories of Mayotte and Reunion, reports Le Figaro. The incident could delay the commissioning of a new cable, the Dunant, initially scheduled for September.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* New Dutch operator Freedom Internet, the successor of KPN NV's halted daughter company XS4ALL Internet BV, postponed its scheduled March 30 launch due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports TotaalTV.
* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets welcomed the proposition of the Dutch government to amend the telecom law to require access to cables and related facilities given the economic or physical barriers to their replication, reports Telecompaper.
* Publisher Mediahuis NV is selling its current office in Amsterdam to a joint venture of investment company Angelo Gordon and manager of real estate funds APF International for an undisclosed amount, reports Villamedia. Mediahuis will still continue to operate its Dutch activities from the location and intends to focus on its core area of journalism.
* Danish hosting company One.com A/S completed the acquisition of Netherlands-based rival Hostnet bv for an undisclosed sum.
* Norwegian operators Telenor ASA, Telia Carrier Norway AS, Ice Group ASA, GlobalConnect, Funn AS and Ceragon Networks AS registered for the country's auction of 5G-relevant radio frequencies starting May 6, according to telecom regulator Nkom.
* Finnish network services company Teleste Corp. is in talks to lay off its approximately 500 employees in Finland for about 90 days due to the spread of the coronavirus.
* Talks about the provision of government support for the Danish media sector have been paused, Børsen reports. The government suggested providing support of 12.5 million Danish kroner to battle the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, but opposition parties said that the sum is inadequate.
* Media house Altinget is cutting 22 full-time positions across its publications, which include altinget.dk, altinget.se and newsletter Mandag Morgen, Journalisten reports. The company said that its ad sales, networking and new subscriptions have all been affected by the crisis.
* Spanish regional operator Euskaltel SA will continue efforts to expand its network in time for the launch of its Virgin Media-branded services in the second quarter. The company is working to boost its network capacity due to an increase in usage amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
* French media group Vivendi SA remains committed to its role as a long-term investor in Telecom Italia SpA, in which it owns a 24% stake, Reuters reports, citing a statement. Activist investor Elliott Management Corp. earlier cut its stake in the Italian telco.
* Austrian mobile virtual network operator Spusu will delay the launch of its services in Italy to the second quarter of 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis, Telecompaper reports, citing Austria Presse Agentur.
* Enel SpA wholesale broadband unit Enel Open Fiber SPA rolled out fiber-optic services in portions of Pomezia and Aprilia in Italy's central Lazio region, Telecompaper reports.
* Portuguese operator NOS SGPS SA nominated Ana Rita Cernadas, Cristina Maria de Jesus Marques and Jose Carvalho de Freitas as nonexecutive directors, subject to shareholder approval, Telecompaper reports.
* Spi International Inc. affiliate Kino Polska TV SA secured a deal to distribute The Walt Disney Co.'s content to channels Stopklatka, Zoom TV and Kino TV.
* Russian operator Rostelecom PJSC and VTB Bank PJSC jointly formed a new company, registered under the name Big Data Platform, which will focus on the development and monetization of big data-based offerings, including artificial intelligence and machine-learning technologies.
* In other Rostelecom news, the company, through its subsidiary Bashinformsvyaz, completed the acquisition of a 50.27% stake in regional operator Archangel TV Co., Telecompaper reports, citing Nag.ru. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
* Slovak President Zuzana Caputova signed a law allowing state institutions to use data from telecommunications operators to monitor quarantine and prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Telecompaper reports, citing Zive.aktuality.sk.
* Russia's Yandex NV launched NVIDIA Corp.'s application library Nvidia GPU Cloud in Russia, which customers can use free of charge, Telecompaper reports. Yandex also plans to invest about $40 million in the NVIDIA project.
* Polish company INEA SA plans to provide its wholesale services under a new brand called Fiberhost, Telecompaper reports, citing Telko.in. The creation of the new brand is part of a move to separate its wholesale and retail segments.
* Makedonski Telekom denied reports on social media that it activated a test 5G network. The operator said it only conducted laboratory tests last year.
Mediaset España boosts ProSiebenSat.1 stake; TIM, Vodafone complete towers deal: Mediaset España Comunicación SA secured an additional 9,902,500 shares in ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, Vodafone Group PLC's Vodafone Italia SpA and Telecom Italia SpA completed the merger of Vodafone Italy's towers into Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane SpA.
Commercial AR/VR software already a billion-dollar market: Augmented and virtual reality hardware has yet to deeply penetrate businesses, but software powering that new class of technology is already driving billions in annual revenue for software vendors.
Phoebe Magdirila, Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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