* Deutsche Telekom AG announced that Greek subsidiary OTE has agreed to sell its entire stake in Telekom Albania Sh.A. to Bulgarian company Albania Telecom Invest AD for €50 million. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the first half.
* Facebook Inc. will implement its political advertising rules and other tools to curb election interference to more countries, such as in Ukraine and the European Union, Reuters reports. Under the rules, advertisers should be based in the country of the ads' focus. The rule will take effect in Ukraine in February.
* The German government is discussing plans to create security standards that would hinder Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. participating in an upcoming 5G auction, Reuters reports, citing Handelsblatt. The Norwegian Police Security Service stressed that Huawei should not be allowed to build 5G networks in Norway, E24 reports.
UK AND IRELAND
* YouTube has taken down an advertisement from group Britain First for failing to adhere to its advertising rules, London's The Guardian reports. The 5.5-minute ad reportedly shows group leader Paul Golding with his supporters confronting volunteers at a Muslim outreach. The group, which was banned from Facebook for a similar concern, said it will "launch proceedings against YouTube for their politically motivated censorship," the report quoted the group spokesperson as saying. Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC owns YouTube.
* CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd.'s Three Ireland has won the bid to provide communication network for energy company ESB Networks Ltd.'s project to upgrade electricity meters to support smart services beginning 2021, Telecompaper reports. Thee Ireland will be working with Siemens Aktiengesellschaft's Irish unit and smart metering company Kamstrup for the project.
* ClearCourse Partnership LLP bought membership and customer relationship management solutions provider Silverbear Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. ClearCourse is backed by technology-focused private equity firm Aquiline Capital Partners LLC.
* WorldRemit Ltd. is planning a round of funding in the next six months, before a potential buyout or stock market launch of the British company, Bloomberg News reports. WorldRemit had a valuation of about $800 million after its December 2017 funding round.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* Privately held data management company Veeam Software AG raised $500 million in investment from Insight Venture Partners, with "strong participation" from strategic investor Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. Michael Triplett, managing director at Insight Venture Partners, will join Veeam's board.
* General Atlantic Service Co. LP is acquiring a minority stake in Germany-based powercloud GmbH for an undisclosed sum, Reuters reports. The private equity firm would aid powercloud in its market expansion initiatives, the report noted.
* Microsoft Corp.'s Swiss unit has appointed two new members to its management team, CEtoday.ch reports. Thomas Winter has become the new head of SME and partner business, while Christian Widmer now leads the public sector division.
* Bouygues Telecom SA reorganized its management team, appointing Edward Bouygues as chief strategy officer. The operator said the new organization aims "to amplify the focus on excellence in customer experience."
* The culture committee of the French Senate unanimously adopted a draft law creating online neighboring rights for publishers and news agencies, NextInpact reports. The draft provides for a right to remuneration over 20 years, rather than the initial 50 years, but now extends from search engines to apply to all sites.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Talpa Media BV owner John de Mol will change TV channel SBS6 into a family channel, Nu.nl reports, citing the Dutch media mogul in a TV interview. De Mol also said he had plans to start a partnership with RTL Group in the design of the channel offer in the Netherlands, but did not work out.
* Cable provider Caiway Kabeltelevisie BV will increase tariffs as a result of investments and cost increases, effective March 1. Prices of Caiway's Alles-in-1 HD and fiber subscriptions are raised by at most €2.50, for which the customer receives higher upload and download speeds in return.
* The Dutch Radiocommunications Agency's 1008 kHz frequency is now available to low-power medium-wave frequency channels, Media Magazine reports. The frequency was previously used by radio channel Groot Nieuws Radio, which has now reportedly shut down their medium wave broadcasts.
* Ericsson Senior Vice President Helena Norrman will leave the company by June 30.
* IT company Tieto Oyj has won a two-year extension of its contract to provide user-friendly IT service to the Swedish county of Skåne. The contract value is 300 million Swedish kronor, and may be extended for a further six years.
* Spanish digital media company 2btube purchased a majority stake in Ecuadorian production company Touché Films for an undisclosed price, Digital TV Europe reports, citing a statement. Under the deal, 2btube will co-invest in producing more content and expanding the reach of Touché Films' Spanish-language comedy sketch channel Enchufe.tv.
* The number of digital terrestrial TV users in Spain has reached its lowest level, with 76.4% of Spaniards watching TV via the platform, Advanced Television reports, citing the latest figures from Spanish regulator CNMC.
* Russian national operator Rostelecom PJSC and mobile telco MegaFon have created a joint venture to develop 5G services in the country, Telecompaper reports, citing RNS.
* Rostelecom is considering acquiring DataLine, which is regarded as the second largest provider of online hosting services in Russia, Telecompaper reports, citing Kommersant.
* Messaging app Telegram will remain blocked in Russia despite the liquidation of its U.K.-based parent entity Telegram Messenger LLP, Telecompaper reports, citing Vedomosti. Telegram was blocked in Russia after it refused to allow intelligence agencies in the country to access encrypted messages of suspected terrorists.
* The Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries, or HAKOM, is seeking views from the public on Hrvatski Telekom's proposed acquisition of HP Produkcija doo, which owns pay TV service evotv, Broadband TV News reports. The regulator will accept submissions until Jan. 30.
Conference Chatter: UK regulator: Legislation needed to address gap in broadcast, online rules: In response to growing calls to level the regulatory playing field between internet platforms and public service broadcasters in the U.K., a top official with the country's media watchdog said new legislation is needed.
Technology: 5G looms as component shortages constrict broadband CPE market in Q3'18: Component shortages for critical parts continued to affect the CPE market in the third quarter of 2018 as 5G continues to affect future plans for most manufacturers.
Anne Freier, Sylvia Edwards Davis, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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