*The U.K.'s Competition and Markets Authority has raised concerns regardingCK Hutchison HoldingsLtd. unit Hutchison 3G UK's proposed of Telefónica's Britishmobile operator unit O2. In a letter to EU Competition Commissioner MargretheVestager, CMA Chief Executive Alex Chisholm said that the merger would hindereffective competition in the U.K.'s mobile telecoms market. Chisholm added thatthe European Commission's proposed remedies to the deal failed to addressconcerns on, among others, network sharing arrangements. He urged Hutchison toeither divest Three or O2's mobile network in its entirety or allow limitedcarve-outs to form a fourth mobile operator.
* Inresponse, CK Hutchison slammed the CMA's objections, Total Telecom reports. In astatement, Hutchison said that divesting either Three or O2 to a new MNO woulddefeat the merger's purpose and highlight the limitations of both companies.The company added that its capacity deals with , Liberty Global plc's Virgin Media Inc., Tesco Mobile and UK Broadband offeredremedies far beyond those proposed in other European telco mergers. VirginMedia CEO Tom Mockridge also defendedthe Three-O2 merger, saying that it would provide a counterbalance to thestrength of the recently merged British Telecom and EE Ltd.
*Microsoft Corp.expressed support for the new transatlantic data known as the EU-U.S. PrivacyShield. In a company blogpost, Microsoft Vice-President for EU government affairs John Frank saidthey have reviewed the details of the agreement and is pushing for itsapproval. Frank added that the company will commit to transparency obligationsincluded in the framework regarding U.S. government requests for access toinformation. In terms of privacy complaints, Frank said the company willrespond within 45 days.
UK AND IRELAND
*Netflix Inc. is setto raise its prices for British users subscribed to the Standard tier of itslegacy package, The Daily Telegraph(London) reports.From the beginning of May, subscribers of Netflix's Standard package will needto pay £7.49 monthly, instead of the current rate of £5.99. Affectedsubscribers may choose to keep paying £5.99, but they will lose HD and multiplescreen viewing options.
*BT's infrastructure unit Openreach announcedthat it has connected 25 million premises to its wholesale fiber broadbandnetwork, or 90% of British households. However, Openreach CEO Clive Selley saidthey will aim to extend fiber coverage across the U.K. to 95% and above. Selleyadded that Openreach is working to improve speeds for the remaining areas thathave not yet been reached by its fiber network.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND ANDAUSTRIA
*Sky would not be allowed to hold sole broadcasting rights for Germany'sBundesliga football matches starting from the 2017-2018 season,finanznachrichten.de reports,citing the country's Federal Cartel Office. That is a setback for , whichcurrently holds complete broadcasting rights for the games across allplatforms. Dirk Böhm, a spokesman for Sky Germany, declined to comment on theFederal Cartel Office's decision. The rights to the Bundesliga are the mostexpensive in Germany, with Sky paying around half a billion Euro each season.
*Deutsche Telekom AGfollowed Vodafone Germany in ending EU roaming telephony and data charges, Handelsblatt reports.The new rates will apply for new customers from April 19, the newspaper wrote,citing comments made by a company spokesman to news agency dpa. The EuropeanParliament has ordered roaming charges to be abolished by June 15, 2017.
*Red Bull appointed a new boss for its Servus TV channel in Austria, DWDL reports.Ferdinand Wegscheider will replace Martin Blank, who is leaving the company.Wegscheider was promoted internally by the TV channel, which was acquired byRed Bull in 2009.
*Netflix held a big press event in Paris on April 11, L'Express reports.Over 300 journalists and bloggers were invited to the presentation at the Citédu Cinéma, with the presence of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, Chief ContentOfficer Ted Sarandos and House of Cards star Kevin Spacey. In relation to theannouncement of an agreement between Vivendi and Mediaset, which seek to launcha content platform in Southern Europe to compete with Netflix, Hastings saidthat Netflix often sees this kind of reaction in the markets where theirservice arrives, but it has never affected the company so far. He added thatNetflix remains focused on the quality of the content.
*Altice NV could sellits subsidiary Altice Media Group to French telco , accordingto La Tribune. Altice Media Grouppublishes L'Express, Libération and Stratégie. Patrick Drahi, the founder of Altice, the parent companyof SFR, owns Altice Media Group through his personal holding. The transactionwould be in line with Dahl's convergence strategy between telecom and media tofeed SFR with content from the Altice Media Group titles, as well as contentfrom NextRadio TV that he controls following his partnership with Alain Weill.
*Since its transition to free-to-air French TV TNT on April 5, French newschannel LCI has seen its audience multiply by a factor of five, Les Echos reports.News Director Catherine Nayl said in an interview that the target for 2019 isto multiply the audience by ten. For this purpose LCI has earmarked aninvestment of around €20 million and will grow its workforce to nearly 200journalists from the current 120.
*Xavier Gandon, former head of French TV channel D8, is slated to take over thedirection of TF1, currently in the hands of Elizabeth Durand, Stratégies reports,quoting an article by La Lettre del'Audiovisuel. Gandon, who began his career on TF6 and Série Club beforejoining the TF1 Group as director of programming for TMC, had taken charge ofthe D8 and D17 channels when they were acquired by Canal Plus group. He wasthen appointed CEO of both channels before handing over the position inSeptember 2015 to Christophe Sabot.
*French and European search engine Qwant doubled the number of users in sixmonths, Univers Freebox reports.Qwant has grown from 8 million monthly visits in October 2015 to 17.7 millionin March 2016. Éric Léandri, CEO and co-founder said that Qwant fulfills a realneed for users through its commitment to respecting privacy and the neutralityof search engine results.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM ANDLUXEMBOURG
*Dutch telco KPN NV,Belgian provider Proximus, Swiss operator and A1 Telekom Austriahave partnered with global telecom association ETIS to enhance the exchange ofcyber threat intelligence among European telcos, Telecompaper writes.According to ETIS, a pilot project to enhance the efficiency of the communityand the quality of the actual threat intelligence shared was recently completedand should result in a more elaborate operational setup, possibly involvingover 20 European telcos.
*Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp is continuing his plans tore-auction the frequencies for commercial radio stations from 2017, Nu.nl reports.The Dutch Lower House, which rather sees the licenses to be extended instead ofauctioned, is opposing the plan as they have argued that the development ofdigital radio might reach a lowpoint when companies need to focus on theauction.
*The Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security will conductan investigation into the influence of foreign investments in Dutch vitalsectors following the recent acquisition of the Delft security firm Fox-IT byBritish cyber security consultancy firm NCC Group, Tweakers writes.The research will be conducted by three professors of the Radboud University inNijmegen. According to sources related to the matter, the investigation wouldfocus on whether the acquisition of Fox-IT, which closely works with the Dutchgovernment, could affect the protection of classified information and nationalsecurity.
* Dutchpublic broadcaster NPO enhanced its app for tablets and smartphones, allowingusers to watch videos without audio but with subtitles, reportsTotaalTV. The new addition is specifically meant for users who can't turn uptheir sound but do want to watch video. The renewed app will also be moreaccessible for people with hearing loss.
*Dutch IT security company Fox-IT recorded an increase of security issues hittingmajor websites in the Netherlands, accordingto a company blog post. The incidents originated from a large malvertisingcampaign affecting popular websites such as Nu.nl, marktplaats.nl and SBS6.nl.At least 288 websites were affected. According to Fox-IT, contact has beensought with the affected advertisement provider as the issue has not yet beenfully resolved.
*TeliaSonera ABcompleted the sale ofits shareholding in Nepal-based Ncell to buyers that include Axiata, theSwedish telco said in a company statement.The US$1 billion deal saw TeliaSonera divest its 60.4% holding in ReynoldsHolding, which owns Ncell. TeliaSonera reached a preliminary agreement to sell itsshares in December 2015. The transaction has been approved by competition andother regulatory authorities. Axiata has 275 million customers in Asia.
*Trading in TelenorASA's shares strengthened in Oslo in response to media reports thatthe telco wanted to sell its telecom operations in India. Telenor refused tocomment on reports, writesDagens Næringsliv. Media reports inIndia suggested that Telenor has placed a valuation of between US$1.6 billionand US$1.8 billion on its India-based operations. The exit rumours areattributed to unnamed industry sources who claim that Telenor is frustrated itcannot offer 3G and 4G services due to local restrictions and an increasinglyprice competitive marketplace.
*Nokia Corp. is primedto deliver its first 5G mobile base station in the fourth quarter of 2016, reports Hufvudstadsbladet. The disclosure comesin the wake of a decision by Nokia to lay off as many as 1,300 workers in Finland. Theproposed 5G system will enable mobile data transfers of up to 10 gigabytes persecond. Due to standardization issues, Nokia may not be able to bring its 5Gsystem to the market until 2020. Nokia calculates that 5G networks can connectover 50 billion mobile devices by 2025.
*Telenor received a time-extension from the European Free Trade Authority (EFTA)to respond to concerns over the telco's perceived dominant market position inNorway, reportse24.no. EFTA has given Telenor until April 11 to respond to its Statement ofObjections. EFTA agreed to a Telenor request for a time extension. The newdeadline is April 25. EFTA is concerned about Telenor's market position inthree main segments; wholesale mobile access and origination services; mobilebroadband services to residential customers; and mobile communications servicesto business customers.
*TeliaSonera commenced a strategic review of its credit management servicesbusiness centered around Sergel Group in the Nordic and Baltic countries, reportsDagens Industri. Sergel operates asTeliaSonera's in-house collections unit. Sergel also delivers credit managementand debt purchase services to external customers. TeliaSonera has not ruled outa future sale of Sergel. Media-based reports in February 2016 speculated thatTeliaSonera had hired Swedish investment bank Carnegie to find a buyer.Potential named suitors included Intrum Justitia and Lindorff Arvato.
*The Spanish units of VodafoneGroup Plc and Orange bagged soccer rights deals with Mediapro,granting access to La Liga and Copa del Rey matches for the next three seasons,Digital TV Europe reports.Vodafone will reportedly show eight soccer matches per day via Mediapro's beINSPORTS La Liga channel, which can be accessed via the Vodafone TV over-the-topservice, ONO fiber network and xDSL TV. Vodafone also reportedly secured adistribution deal for the beIN SPORTS channel for the next two seasons. Orangealso landed similar deals, according to the report. Mediapro previouslyopened up soccerbroadcasting rights to TelefónicaSA's rivals, following an order from Spanish competition regulatorCNMC.
*Italian power utility Enel SpA is nearing a deal with fiber optic operator Metroweb SpA for a fiberoptic joint venture, Telecompaper reports,citing Il Sole 24 Ore. Enel's newly formedEnel Open Fiber venture will reportedly take 50% in a new entity, with Metrowebtaking the other half. A deal could be closed in two weeks, according to thereport.
*Orange reached an agreement with Vodafone in Spain to use the HFC network ofthe latter's acquired broadband operator ONO, Telecompaper reports,citing Xataka Móvil. Orange reportedly aims to expand its network coverage tothe Spanish provinces of Alicante, Cadiz, Castellon, Murcia, Baleares andValencia, and connect fiber-optic broadband to 1 million premises in thoseareas. Orange ADSL customers can choose to shift to the Vodafone-ONO networkfor an additional €3 per month, to access Internet speeds of up to 100 Mbps,according to the report.
*Lama Energy Group-owned New Digi TV bagged exclusive Premier League rights inthe Czech Republic for three seasons, Broadband TV News reports.The deal kicks off from the 2016-17 season. New Digi TV currently holdsexclusive Czech rights to Spain's La Liga, according to the report.
*Liberty Global's Czech unit UPCCzech Republic added 43 new channels to its Horizon Go mobile TVservice, Digital TV Europe reports.The operator is now offering up to 123 channels, including 50 in HD, accordingto the report. Subscribers of the basic Klasik package will have access to 53mobile channels, while Komfort and Komplet customers will have 104 and 123channels, respectively.
*Cypriot operator CYTA, operating under the Cytamobile-Vodafone brand, haslaunched two new apps for cloud storage and access to sports content,respectively, Telecompaper reports.Users will reportedly be able to access their cloud files from their mobile andconnected devices via the PersonalCloud app, which Red customers can availfree, up to 5GB of storage, depending on subscription plans. Other customershave to pay €1.39 a month to access 10 GB of cloud storage. Meanwhile, the LiveSports app is free for Red 4 subscribers, which enables access to the CyprusCup, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League, according to thereport. Other customers will be charged €1.01 a week to use the service.
: Cablevision's over-the-top deal with Hulu couldexemplify the future of content as more digital providers look to partner withtraditional TV operators to draw in more customers.
: DISH subscribers can now use its Hopper 3 DVR to streamNetflix's catalog of Ultra HD TV shows and movies, while Verizon Wirelessunveiled an exclusive offer for HBO over-the-top service HBO Now.
: SNL Kagan provides a wrap-up of media and communications dealannouncements and completions from April 4 to April 8.
: SNL Kagan provides a wrap-upof European media and communications deal announcements, completions andupdates from April 4 to April 8.
: Recentlyrebranded Freeform plans for late-night programming, a refreshed app and a newMarvel show.
: A MIPTV audience inCannes, France, heard how local broadcasters now have a greater opportunity tocreate partnerships that can help to distribute content beyond their ownborders.
: Based onour analysis of Univision Communications Inc.'s owned-and-operated TV stationsin the 120 MHz recovery scenario, we estimate that the company could generate$1.96 billion in pretax proceeds from 11 duopoly stations in eight markets inthe FCC incentive auction and potentially more through channel sharingarrangements in three non-duopoly markets with major affiliate group ownerEntravision Communication Corp.
: Presenting the editor's top picks from SNL Kagan'sexclusive research and analysis for the week ended April 8.
Sylvia Edwards Davis, Patrick Winters, Charlotte vanHek and Gerard O'Dwyer contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has aneditorial deadline of 7 a.m. London time. Some external links may require asubscription.