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SoftBank to drop Sprint, T-Mobile merger; BBC faces legal action over gender pay

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. is set to end talks to merge Sprint Corp. with T-Mobile US Inc. after failing to agree on the ownership structure, The Nikkei reports, citing a source with knowledge of the matter. SoftBank is reportedly expected to reach out to T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom AG about its decision to end deal talks as early as Oct. 31.

* The British Broadcasting Corp. is facing the possibility of legal action under gender equality legislation after new diversity obligations for large companies in the U.K. came into force this year.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* Discovery Communications Inc.'s Eurosport unveiled plans to bring full live and on-demand coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games via the Eurosport Player platform across the sports network's 48 markets. Eurosport will also introduce the use of augmented reality and enhanced data in its analysis of the games via its "Eurosport Cube" studio.

UK AND IRELAND

* London Mayor Sadiq Khan is pushing through plans to build a film and TV production studio in London's Dagenham East to boost the U.K.'s production industry. A study revealed how Dagenham East can become an "ideal location" for Hollywood-style productions.

* Liberty Global plc named Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Balan Nair as president and CEO of its Latin American and Caribbean operation after the latter completes its spinoff from Liberty Global. Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries will serve as executive chairman of the Latin American company following the spinoff, with Nair also serving as a director.

* Sky plc's former head of nonscripted commissioning, Celia Taylor, is joining Tinopolis Group-owned Mentorn Media as managing director, the factual production company said. Taylor is taking over from Jonathan Hewes, who will solely focus on his role as CEO of another Tinopolis unit, Pioneer.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Swiss news agency Schweizerische Depeschenagentur has merged with Swiss picture agency Keystone to create Keystone-SDA Group, in an effort to continue the growth of both companies. Partner Austria Press Agency, which is also a shareholder in Keystone, will oversee the new company's technological competencies.

* The Swiss Verband Schweizer Medien rejected a proposal to allow audience targeted advertising at the Schweizerische Radio- und Fernsehgesellschaft. The VSM argues that additional commercialization would be a burden for private TV channels.

* Sabine Rau, Berlin correspondent at German public broadcaster ARD, will replace Ellis Fröder to manage ARD's studios in Paris, effective Nov. 1.

FRANCE

* Euronews said it has been tapped by Eurostar as the sole news provider on the French railway operator's onboard entertainment system. Eurostar passengers will be able to access Euronews content in French and English via the complimentary onboard Wi-Fi service.

* Webedia SA announced the launch of ES1, a new TV channel dedicated to eSports. ES1 will go on air in December via a partnership with Orange SA, accessible to Orange subscribers before being distributed in a paid bundle, and will be rolled out to other operators starting in January 2018.

* Iliad SA's Free has started using its first own multi-operator 3G tower, Univers Freebox reports. The Aude site is the first of 234 planned towers for which Free will take the lead.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Dutch copyright watchdog BREIN forced streaming service Moviestreamer to terminate the sale of its illegal IPTV packages and software. For every day Moviestreamer keeps selling the packages, which link to illegal streaming sources, BREIN will impose a fine of €5,000.

* Operator CAI Harderwijk will start a campaign in November to assess whether there is interest in fiber services in outlying areas of the Dutch city of Harderwijk, Telecompaper reports. Currently, the provider's fiber network already covers the majority of homes in Harderwijk and the adjacent town of Hierden.

* The police, the public prosecutor, and certain payment services in the Netherlands have agreed on a new rule that will block webshops that fail to comply with all necessary quality requirements, De Telegraaf reports. The new rule says that if there are at least three scam reports about a webshop at the national scam hotline, its payment account will be terminated.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Danish operator YouSee A/S, a subsidiary of TDC A/S, will focus more on producing its own content, Finans reports. YouSee's head of content and media, Christian Morgan, said the company is entering a collaboration on content production on the week of Oct. 30, with more partnerships to come in the future.

* Elisa Corp. said that it will be the first mobile operator in Finland to offer 1 Gbps mobile internet. Customers in Tampere will have high-speed internet access by year-end.

* Ericsson AB said that it is deploying a 5G-ready LTE network for Entel Chile, which will be backed by the former's Massive MIMO technology. The deal is part of an extension of the companies' 20-year strategic partnership.

* Nokia Corp. said Zain Saudi Arabia will deploy Nokia's FastMile equipment, after a trial of the technology reached speeds of 20 Mbps. The technology will be deployed in the western and southern regions of Saudi Arabia, as well as the cities of Jeddah and Mecca.

* Swedish game production company Paradox Interactive AB said that it appointed Alexander Bricca as its new CFO. Bricca joins the company from Modern Times Group AB's video-streaming service Viaplay, where he has been finance chief since 2014.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Sky's streaming service Sky Spain rolled out its app on Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s smart TVs, Broadband TV News reports. Touted as Sky's first smart TV app in Spain, the app will be accessible to Samsung smart TV models released from 2014.

* Cosmote SA teamed up with Nokia to conduct the first live 5G demonstration in Greece, Telecompaper reports. Cosmote achieved speeds of up to 4.5 Gbps in its live testing, which allowed the audience to use virtual reality applications.

* Italian state infrastructure firm Infratel extended its public consultation on the third tenders for the development of a national high-speed broadband network in the country's Calabria, Puglia and Sardinia regions, Telecompaper reports. The operators are given until Nov. 20 to confirm their levels of coverage in the regions and provide their roadmap for the next three years.

EASTERN EUROPE

* The Russian State Duma allotted about 3 billion Russian rubles to Channel One for content production and acquisition, as well as cost reimbursements in the next two years, Broadband TV News reports, citing Vedomosti.

* Multimedia Polska SA will begin carrying tvo, the newly launched home shopping platform in Poland, Broadband TV News reports. Tvo, which rolled out early in October, provides a streaming channel and a dedicated internet service.

FEATURED NEWS

The Week Ahead: Social media giants called to testify on Russian interference: Executives from three major new media companies — Google, Twitter and Facebook — are being called to Capitol Hill this week to testify about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.

M&A Replay: European deals: Telefónica closes Telxius stake sale; UPC, Ziggo merger annulled: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of European media and communications deal announcements, completions and updates from Oct. 23 to Oct. 28.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Middle East 4G roundup: In an analysis of four Middle Eastern markets covered by Kagan, at the end of 206, Pakistan had the lowest 4G penetration at 4% of total subscribers. Turkey was tops with 55.3% followed by UAE at 20% and Israel with 11%.

Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Charlotte van Hek and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.