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Facebook accused of misleading EC; Vivendi takes Mediaset stake past 25%

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Facebook accused of misleading EC; Vivendi takes Mediaset stake past 25%

TOP NEWS

* The European Commission accused Facebook Inc. of providing misleading information when the commission conducted a probe into the social networking giant's acquisition of WhatsApp Inc. in 2014, according to a news release. The commission's allegations stemmed from WhatsApp's move to share user data with Facebook for product development and advertising purposes.

* Vivendi SA announced it now owns 25.75% of Mediaset SpA share capital and 26.77% of its voting rights. Vivendi has crossed the 20% and 25% thresholds for Mediaset share capital.

UK AND IRELAND

* The BBC Trust, the British Broadcasting Corp.'s governing arm, gave the green light to the proposed conversion of BBC Studios into a commercial unit. The BBC Trust also made several recommendations to the new BBC Board and to British media watchdog Ofcom regarding BBC Studios, among them the reconciliation of any potential conflicts between BBC Studios' operations and the BBC's overall brand and reputation.

* Ofcom released its latest telecoms and pay TV complaints report, covering July to September. British Telecom emerged as the most-complained-about U.K. broadband provider, with 36 complaints per 100,000 customers, while its units Plusnet and EE Ltd. ranked second and third with 30 and 26, respectively. In the mobile sphere, Vodafone Group Plc drew the most complaints, with 18 per 100,000 customers.

* The Irish High Court ordered the liquidation of Irish broadcaster Irish TV after the latter failed to secure funding, The Irish Times reports. Created in 2011, the company employs 30 people in Westport, according to the report.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* The Federal Network Agency in Germany urged telecommunication companies interested in 5G to communicate their intentions by March 2017, Infosat reports. It said it planned to make the frequencies available early on to allow companies to plan investments accordingly.

* Vodafone is offering broadband speeds of up to 400 Mbps for more than 6 million households in Germany. The current standard for Vodafone's fiberglass network is 100 Mbps, although 93% of households have 200 Mbps.

* Publishers and German public broadcaster ARD are negotiating a compromise over how much text the broadcaster can present online, NDR reports. Several publishers went to court over an earlier, text-heavy version of the Tagesschau app; the Higher Regional Court in Cologne ruled that broadcasters must limit the amount of text that had no context with their programming.

* EWE and the local utility companies of Schüttorf-Emsbüren are providing high-speed internet service of up to 100 Mbps for an additional 450 households in the region. The utility companies extended their fiberglass network, run and marketed by EWE.

* The Federal Network Agency in Germany disconnected 2,600 phone numbers over erotic text message spam and high-priced phone lines, and banned the imposition of fees on clients over the past year, Telecompaper reports. It had received 7,200 complaints.

* Savecall, a German information technology and services firm, will become the provider of Telia Carrier's products in internet protocol, wavelength and ethernet. The Telia Co. AB unit owns and operates one of the largest backbone fiberglass networks worldwide.

FRANCE

* AFP is targeting 1,000 new clients by 2021 with enhanced video and business services, Les Echos reports. The French news agency expects to increase its video activity by 39% in 2017 with improved delivery times and methods, including via the internet, and estimates that up to 1,900 TV channels could potentially be interested.

* Altice NV unit SFR announced that as of November, 4G and UHD mobile broadband was available in 16 more cities and 1,578 municipalities. In addition, 73,000 new fiber connections across 53 municipalities were rolled out.

* As part of its TechNoël celebrations, Bouygues Telecom is offering unlimited data to its mobile customers over the Christmas weekend, Bbox-news.com reports. The offer takes place over a 48-hour period from 12:01 a.m. Saturday to 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Belgian energy provider Engie called in infrastructure manager Zites to support the development of Engie's IoT network, Knack reports. The rollout of Engie's network based on Sigfox technology was initiated in 2015, and is expected to compete with Proximus' LoRa network after both are completed.

* Liberty Global plc unit Ziggo N.V. announced it will stop activating individual smartcards, Tweakers reports. As a result, customers will no longer be able to buy a second smartcard and activate it, but instead must rent one at Ziggo for a monthly fee of €2.

* A majority of the Dutch House of Representatives approved the adoption of a new law that enables police to hack computers of suspects in criminal investigations, Nu.nl reports. If software vulnerability is discovered and used to access data, the police are obligated to report it to the responsible software developer afterward.

* Vodafone Nederland customers will be offered unlimited data during the upcoming holidays, TotaalTV reports. The promotion will be active on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Opera Software ASA sold a controlling stake in Opera TV, an independent cloud and embedded software developer for over-the-top deployment, to Moore Frères & Co., an investment run by former Viacom Inc. executives, Advanced Television reports. Post-transition, Aneesh Rajaram, who was the general manager of Opera TV, will reportedly take over as Opera TV's CEO.

* DNB Bank is in potential partnership and outsourcing talks with Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., e24.no reports. The dialogue covers the development of Vipps, the Norwegian bank's mobile payments app. DNB is considering the use of the Microsoft Azure platform and Amazon Web Service's cloud service to support Vipps' future development.

* Fingerprint Cards Ab's share price rose by 4.9% on the Stockholm Stock Exchange on Dec. 20, Dagens Industri reports. The share price gained value on news that Fingerprint's built-in FPC1025 sensor was integrated into the new Samsung Notebook 9 PC. The sensor allows a secure sign-in with a single touch.

* Ericsson AB declined to confirm media reports that it may lay off 1,000 employees in Italy due to a local contract setback, Dagens Industri writes. Reports suggested Ericsson lost out to China's ZTE in pursuit of a US$1 billion network services contract with Hutchison's 3 Italia and VimpelCom's WIND Telecomunicazioni SpA.

* Finland's Seinäjoki city contracted telco Elisa Oyj to conduct a study to identify ways to improve the council's long-term digitization strategy, Elisa said in a statement. Elisa highlighted multichannel customer services as one area of improvement. The area comprises building control, e-government and mobile payment transaction applications.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Mediaset SpA said it risked being paralyzed by Vivendi SA's aggressive stake-building. The Italian broadcaster's board will submit a complaint to telecom regulator AGCOM against Vivendi for an alleged violation of Italian audio-visual sector laws.

* Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said he was "very concerned" by Vivendi's moves to boost its stake in Mediaset, and called for respect of market rules in the country, Reuters reports.

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone Greece struck a content deal with CBS Corp. for the Vodafone TV service, Telecompaper reports. Under the deal, several CBS series will be included in Vodafone TV's on-demand offering.

* Monitoring group Turkey Blocks said some internet users in Turkey experienced severe slowdowns in accessing Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter Inc. and Google Inc.'s YouTube following the assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov. The Turkish government also imposed a national broadcast ban following the incident. Alphabet Inc. owns Google.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Hungarian telco Invitel will distribute Scripps Networks Interactive Inc.'s Food Network and Fine Living, starting Jan. 1, 2017, Broadband TV News reports. Both networks will be available with Hungarian dubbing.

* Fight content provider CSI Sports struck carriage deals for its HD channel Fight Sports in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Advanced Television reports. Starman A.S., Lattelecom Group and Telia Co. AB's TEO LT AB and Cgates UAB agreed to carry the channel.

* Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service accused Asus, Alcatel, LG and Sony Corp. of having an agreement on smartphone prices, Telecompaper reports, citing Tdaily.ru. The regulator said the prices of several smartphones from the four companies are similar across retail chains.

* Mail.ru Group launched cloud storage services for Russian businesses, namely Cloud for Archives and Cloud for Working Groups, Telecompaper reports.

FEATURED NEWS

VR Focus: Facebook firmly believes in VR, despite slow start: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be a firm believer in virtual reality technology, but the social media giant faces some stiff challenges when it comes to the adoption of VR.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of TV & Film: TV outlet content spend expected to slow: While consumer eyeballs have partly shifted to digital video sources, a significant audience remains tied to the linear television world.

Amanda Kelly, Stefanie Eschenbacher, Koen Pijnappels and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require a subscription.