* Germany's Cartel Office plans to partially ban Facebook Inc. from collecting user data in Germany, Bild am Sonntag reports, citing unnamed sources. The German regulator is concerned about the social network's exchange of data with third-party providers, including Twitter Inc., games apps and website operators, as well as Facebook subsidiaries WhatsApp Inc. and Instagram Inc. A decision is due in the coming weeks.
* Discovery Inc. is applying for broadcasting licenses in the Netherlands to mitigate the consequences of a potential no-deal Brexit, TotaalTV reports. Discovery, which provides TV channels Discovery Channel, TLC, ID and Eurosport, will also establish a European operational headquarters in the Netherlands, moving a number of jobs to Amsterdam from London.
* A Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. employee and a former Polish security services officer have been arrested in Poland on spying allegations, the Financial Times reports, citing local TV broadcaster Telewizja Polska SA. Shortly after the arrest news broke, Wang Weijing, its employee suspected of spying for the Chinese government and who had been arrested in Poland, had been fired by the Chinese company, Bloomberg News reports, citing an emailed statement from Huawei. French Internal Affairs Minister Joachim Brudziński has urged the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to decide whether to ban Huawei equipment from the groups' member markets, Reuters reports.
* European hedge funds are having difficulties raising capital from American investors due to the U.S.' concerns about the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation, London's Financial Times reports, citing sources. A number of EU-based funds were unable to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the recent months due to the regulator's concerns over access of data from the EU-based companies.
UK AND IRELAND
* World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. opened its first non-U.S. training facility to localize content around the world. The U.K. Performance Center is a 17,000-square-foot property in London with two training rings, strength and conditioning equipment and content creation infrastructure.
* Right Of Reply, which helps to counter online reputational damage, is planning to float on the London Stock Exchange within months, U.K.'s The Daily Telegraph reports. Founded by Swiss investor Alfredo Villa, the company has tapped Stanford Capital Partners Ltd. as an adviser for the planned float.
* Channel 4 (UK) has appointed Pete Andrews head of sport, effective March, Advanced Television reports. Andrews will report to Ed Havard, the company's head of entertainment, events and live.
* Pierre Nanterme stepped down as chairman and CEO of Accenture PLC, effective immediately, for previously announced health reasons. Accenture CFO David Rowland will serve as interim CEO of the consulting and outsourcing services company.
GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA
* ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE has denied rumours of a takeover by media conglomerate Axel Springer SE, Handelsblatt reports. A ProSiebenSat.1 spokeswoman said the company is "working with Springer operationally in some areas" but dismissed takeover rumors sparked by a report in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
* Deutsche Telekom AG's T-Systems International GmbH is selling its mainframe service business to International Business Machines Corp., Reuters reports, citing Handelsblatt. About 400 T-Systems employees across six countries will work for IBM following the deal.
* Telekom Deutschland GmbH has acquired 100% of shares in IT specialist Goingsoft GmbH. The Austrian company develops and implements IT solutions for the hospitality and healthcare industries.
* Ericsson has demonstrated a millimeter wave link with a data transmission rate of 40 Gbps in a joint project with Deutsche Telekom. The companies said they are the first to have achieved a data throughput four times greater than current millimeter wave solutions.
* Expected departures at France Télévisions SA will not exceed 1,000 net job losses by 2022, according to Les Echos, which has accessed an internal draft "plan for the restructuring of the workforce." The draft plan also reportedly said departures will be on a voluntary basis.
* France Télévisions has sealed a deal with producers that will enable it to distribute acquired content across its free and subscription digital offers, Digital TV Europe reports. The French public broadcaster struck the deal ahead of the planned launch of Salto, its over-the-top joint venture with TF1 Group and Groupe M6.
* Altice France SA said Laurent Eichinger has been appointed managing director of RMC Sport. From March 4, he will lead the RMC Sport teams and will be supported by the pay TV channels RMC Sport 1, 2, 3 and 4. Rodolphe Massé was also appointed director of the news editorial board of RMC Sport. Altice France is a unit of Altice Europe.
* The municipality of Mons and Altice France's SFR have announced the arrival of optical fiber for about 370 homes and business premises. The company is working on an additional 340 fiber connections.
NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG
* Outgoing Belgian Telecom Minister Philippe De Backer said the government should reduce its share of 53.6% in Proximus as managing a telecom company is not one of the responsibilities of a government, De Tijd reports, citing statements in TV show "De Zevende Dag." De Backer further argues that a fourth telecom provider should be allowed in the Belgian market.
* British satellite operator Inmarsat PLC is preparing a relocation before April to Luxembourg for its Inmarsat Venture SE unit, which operates its European Aviation Network service across the European Union, Advanced Television reports, citing a statement. Inmarsat's decision follows the threat of the U.K.'s EU exit on the business, since the relevant licenses granted to Inmarsat Ventures are based in London.
* An online petition to convince KPN NV to maintain the XS4ALL Internet BV brand has reached almost 30,000 signatures, TotaalTV reports. KPN will move activities from subsidiary brands Telfort BV, XS4ALL and Yes Telecom Netherlands BV to the KPN brand, after which many XS4ALL customers reportedly feared to lose the service quality and privacy they are used to in their current subscription.
* Flemish local radio station Radio MAX has been forced to change its name after a losing a lawsuit against Dutch broadcaster Omroep MAX, Radiovisie reports. Radio MAX reportedly sees no other option than to accept the ruling.
* Finnish telecom operator DNA Oyj has acquired European Mobile Operator Oy, which owns mobile virtual network operator Moi Mobiili Oy, for an undisclosed sum. Moi Mobiili will keep its staff and remain a separate brand from DNA post completion of the deal, which takes effect immediately.
* Within Reach Group BV, backed by private equity firm Waterland Equity Investments BV, acquired Danish telecommunications company Ipnordic for an undisclosed sum. The companies will accelerate growth opportunities including opening new growth markets in Europe. Ipnordic will retain its name and office space.
* Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies Inc. have achieved a non-stand-alone 5G New Radio data call on the 2.6 GHz band. This brings a new sub-six frequency band one step closer to commercial rollout, Ericsson said.
* Norwegian police has confirmed that it is investigating possible data fraud in music streaming service Tidal, Dagens Næringsliv reports. The investigation concerns manipulation of listening figures, after allegations that about 320 million plays of songs by Beyoncé and Kanye West were fake.
* Telefónica SA launched the Telefonica Empresas brand, which brings together all of its business-to-business services for companies and public administrations, Telecompaper reports. The new brand will offer services related to connectivity, cloud, security, big data, the internet of things and the digital workplace.
* Spanish ICT development agency Red.es will review 11 applications submitted by ad hoc telecom consortiums for funding grants to two 5G pilot projects in the country, Telecompaper reports. The consortiums involve the likes of Orange SA, Nokia Corp., Vodafone Group PLC, Ericsson, Telefónica, Huawei and Euskaltel SA, as well as research institutions.
* Indico Capital Partners, supported by the European Investment Fund, will invest in early-stage startups based in Portugal through a recently closed venture capital fund. Indico raised €41 million out of the total committed funding of €46 million for the fund.
* The Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries, or HAKOM, has delayed its approval for Hrvatski Telekom's proposed acquisition of pay TV service evotv, Broadband TV News reports, citing Seebiz. The watchdog cited antitrust concerns and has asked for additional information on the deal.
* Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC managed to stabilize the prices of its products sold in Russia through their online shops, following the country's tax rate increase to 20% from 18%, Telecompaper reports, citing Cnews.ru. In contrast, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Microsoft Corp. hiked the prices of its products in Russia.
* Latvia has begun enforcing a law that requires local internet service providers and operators to block pirated streams of TV content, Telecompaper reports, citing Mediasat.
Conference Chatter: CES 2019: As connectivity technology proliferates, security takes center stage: At one of the world's biggest technology trade shows, cybersecurity — and how unprepared most consumers and even regulators are to address it — emerged as a key theme at various panel discussions interspersed with flashy new product announcements.
Technology: Worldwide fiber-to-the-home, DSL equipment spending swings upward in Q3'18: During third quarter 2018, fiber-to-the-home and DSL equipment spending reached $2.27 billion, up 8% over revenue in the second quarter of 2018 but down 7% from third quarter 2017.
Anne Freier, Daniela Latini, Amanda Kelly, Koen Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.
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