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EC approves Deutsche Telekom upgrades; Deezer launches in US

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Bundling fixed & mobile services is still a popular strategy for operators in Western Europe especially in Portugal and Spain

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Fintech Intelligence Newsletter: February 2021

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EC approves Deutsche Telekom upgrades; Deezer launches in US

TOP NEWS

*The European Commission approved arevised proposal allowing Deutsche Telekom AG to upgrade its network usingvectoring technology, yet expects further improvements to ensure competition.German telecoms watchdog BNetzA is required to submit its detailed plansregarding the technical parameters and product prices to the EC by early fall.

*Deezer SA launchedits online music streaming service in the U.S., Le Figaro reports.Although the French music streaming platform already made a foray into the U.S.via agreements with Sonos, Bose and AT&T Inc.'s Cricket Wireless, the current launchexpands Deezer's offer directly to all consumers in the country.

*Vodafone Group Plcand Liberty Globalplc jointly announced the proposed appointments of Jeroen Hoencampas CEO and Ritchy Drost as CFO of the companies' Dutch joint venture, which iscurrently awaiting antitrust approval from the European Commission. Drost isCFO of Liberty Global unit ZiggoNV, while Hoencamp, who is CEO of Vodafone UK, will also assume therole of VodafoneNederland CEO, effective Sept. 1, in anticipation of the JV closing.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* EUAdvocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe said a general obligation to retaindata imposed by a member state on telecom operators may be compatible with EUlaw. In a news releasefrom the Court of Justice of the European Union, the official argued that suchan obligation must be bound by strict safeguards.

UK AND IRELAND

*The U.K. Culture, Media and Sport Committee is calling for significantimprovements at BritishTelecom unit Openreach, otherwise it will push for a spinoff. In a reportcommissioned from a panel of experts, the Committee said Openreach's quality ofservice remains poor, with capital investment remaining flat since 2009.

*Virgin Media Inc.'sVirgin Media Business will connectits 300 Mbps network to the first 9,000 businesses within the next six months,starting with the Portway and Walworth business parks in the British town ofAndover in Hampshire. The move is part of its £3 billion Project Lightningnetwork expansion program.

*Vodafone and Huawei TechnologiesCo. Ltd. conducted a 70 GHz 5G trial in the British town ofNewbury, reaching data rates of over 20 Gbps, Mobile World Live reports.The test reportedly shows the possibility of backhauling data between twolocations, or supporting multiple connections in small areas.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA

*ProSiebenSat.1 MediaSE's ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland and German writers associationVerband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren announced the thirdround of their treatment sponsorship project. During subsequent rounds up to200 applications have been made by prospective script writers.

FRANCE

*Ubisoft's first-quarter 2016 sales reached €139 million, exceeding its targetof about €125 million, the company said in a statement.Digital sales for the French video game developer and publisher represented 75%of total sales, compared with 56% last year.

*Orange SA, along withits Senegal-based partner Sonatel, completedthe acquisition of Sierra Leone-based operator Airtel. The French telecom hopesthe acquisition of Airtel, which has over 1.3 million customers, will furtherstrengthen its strategic position in Africa.

*Altice NV-ownedSFR said in a statementthat its fiber network added 133,000 new homes and businesses in 47municipalities in June. The French telecom now serves over 1,200 French townswith over 8.1 million possible fiber connections and aims to have 12 millionconnections in 2017, 18 million in 2020 and 22 million in 2022.

*ARCEP launcheda public consultation process for its white paper on the Internet of Things.The French telecom regulator said it wants to facilitate the self-regulation ofthe market by taking a proactive approach and collaborating with relevantstakeholders and government authorities.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM ANDLUXEMBOURG

* TheWesterscheldetunnel in Zeeland, which at 6.6 kilometers is the longest roadtunnel in the Netherlands, will be equipped with DAB+ reception, Mediamagazine reports.Tech firm Koning & Hartman will be responsible for the installation andmaintenance of the installation, and must also make improvements to thetunnel's existing FM coverage.

*Luxembourg's government and a group of private investors teamed up to launch afund for facilitating startups that focus on digital technology, Novum Nieuws reports.The fund reportedly aims to make venture capital investments in young companieswith feasible projects in fields such as telecommunications, satellite servicesand IoT.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

*Sony Corp.'s SonyPictures Television Inc. boughta minority stake in Palladium Fiction, a Swedish production company, for anundisclosed price, Deadline.com reports.As part of the deal, Palladium will focus on high-end international dramas,while Sony Pictures Television will oversee international distribution.

*Telenor ASA's Indiaunit will not participate in the country's upcoming spectrum auction, The Economic Times (India) reports.The move is in line with the operator's earlier announcement indicating an exitfrom the country, where it has been posting losses and struggling to expandoperations.

*Plans by Ericsson ABto bolster finances could result in the lay-off of thousands of employeesacross the Group, reportsSvenska Dagbladet. CEO Hans Vestbergdefended the company's unexpectedly weak second-quarter 2016 result, but thepoor overall performance raised more doubts regarding Vestberg's future as headof the company.

*Caller ID company TrueCaller AB recorded a significant loss of 182.5 millionSwedish kronor in 2015, twice as high as in 2014, DI Digital reports.Truecaller co-founder Alan Mamedi confirmed that a difficult prevailingsituation in U.S. equity markets caused the company to cancel the launch of afresh funding round in 2015.

*Telenor reportedsecond-quarter 2016 revenues of 32.47 billion kroner. The company's organicEBITDA growth exceeded 6%, while revenues were impacted by low device sales.

*Schibsted ASA willimplement a new round of cost-reduction measures despite a growth in earningsby its Online Classifieds business, reportse24.no. Schibsted reported second-quarter EBITDA of 637 million Norwegiankroner, compared to 642 million kroner for the same period last year.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

*Telecom Italia SpA'sinternational unit TI Sparkle saidthat it launched a new Internet Protocol point of presence at the AIMS datacenter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The new IP PoP aims to address the growingdemand for advanced IP and ethernet services in Malaysia and neighboringcountries.

*Free-to-air platform Tivù rolled out TivùOn, a combined TV program guide andfree catch-up service, Telecompaper reports.The platform, which allows users to access content aired over the past sevendays, is initially available on Tivùsat decoders as well as on LG and SamsungTVs and set-top boxes.

*Telefónica SAintroduced a multiroom Wi-Fi decoder that will allow its Movistar+ clients towatch video across the home without cable connections, Telecompaper reports.The Spanish telco will charge a €50 one-off fee for the device.

*Portugal started implementing new rules that seek to boost consumer protectionin telecom contracts, Telecompaper reports.Under the rules, operators must save a recording of calls for contracts made byphone. In the case of contracts made in person, the telcos must informcustomers about the contract period in writing.

EASTERN EUROPE

*Smart TV solutions provider Foxxum GmbH struck a partnership with Russianonline streaming service ivi.ru, according to a newsrelease. As part of the deal, Foxxum GmbH added the ivi.ru app to its Smart TVsolution, a move that is expected to help both companies expand their Smart TVbusiness in all Russian-speaking countries.

*Polish direct-to-home platform nc+ is adding three channels from 's Viasat Worldto its Extra+ package, effective July 20. The channels are Polsat ViasatHistory, Polsat Viasat Explore and Polsat Viasat Nature, Broadband TV News reports.

*Polish Digitization Minister Anna Strezynska said the 700 MHz band for mobileservices could be released in the country in 2020 at the earliest,Telecompaper reports,citing Telko.in. She pointed out that the government is still working tocoordinate frequencies in areas along its Russian borders.

FEATURED NEWS

: S&P Global Market Intelligence presents aroundup of recent programming announcements from various networks and onlinevideo platforms, including the debut of reality competition series "OneShot" on BET and LOGO greenlighting gay dating reality show "FindingPrince Charming."

: The successful leveraging of a muchbeloved IP to a viral hit with the new game "Pokémon Go" could promptNintendo to make other popular characters available for mobile platforms.

: In this feature, S&PGlobal Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top,video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Asian markets.

: In this monthly feature, S&PGlobal Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top,video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different African andMiddle Eastern markets.

: At registers across the U.S., banks, retailers and thirdparties are competing to be consumers' mobile wallet of choice.

FEATURED RESEARCH

: Even though subscriptions to streamingmusic services grew at the fastest rate ever in 2015 — with the leadingservices nearly doubling subscriber bases from 2014 — the business model hasyet to make sense. SNL Kagan examines the opportunities and challenges in ourexclusive new report.       

: The biggest PPV event of this month, UFC 200, aired live July9, but it will be several weeks before estimates on buys surface.

: According to SNL Kagan's survey of 2013 deals, a total of 23carriage agreements, covering 59.8 million video subs, entered their third yearin 2016.

RECENT EARNINGS

: Microsoft's stock jumped roughly 4% inafter-hours trading after the company beat expectations with its 2016 fiscalfourth-quarter results on the back of its cloud computing segment.

Amanda Kelly, Anne Freier,Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dosehas an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links mayrequire a subscription.