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Netflix's price hike; TV5MONDE's streaming service; Amazon's UK expansion

TOP NEWS

* Netflix Inc. plans to increase the price of its most expensive subscription tier in Norway and Sweden, tek.no reports. The monthly price for the premium subscription will increase to 159 Norwegian kroner from 139 kroner in both Norway and Sweden, while the cheaper plans will cost the same. The streaming provider will also hike the price of its standard and premium tiers by €1 and €2, respectively, for Belgian customers due to investments in Belgian series, Het Laatste Nieuws reports.

* French TV network TV5MONDE SA is launching a global video streaming service in September, Telecompaper reports, citing Le Figaro. TV5 Monde+ will be an ad-funded subscription service offering French-language programs.

* Amazon.com Inc. opened its first corporate office in northern U.K., which will house more than 600 new employees. The company is hiring for technical and corporate roles for software developers, solutions architects, applied scientists, brand and business development specialists, and finance analysts across Amazon and Amazon Web Services Inc.

PAN-EUROPEAN

* An adviser to the Court of Justice of the European Union said the mass collection of private data from telecom operators by U.K. intelligence agencies, as allowed under national law, is against EU regulations, London's The Daily Telegraph reports. Advocate General Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona said any EU privacy case law should "preclude" any national legislation.

* The European Commission is considering a five-year ban on facial recognition technology in public areas across the EU, Reuters reports, citing a document. The ban will allow EU officials to develop possible risk management measures on using the technology, as well as tougher privacy and data protection rules.

* Video publishing platform Telaria Inc. named William Jones as its head of publisher development in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

UK AND IRELAND

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. unveiled a £20 million investment plan to encourage developers from the U.K. and Ireland to create apps for its Huawei AppGallery, London's Evening Standard reports. The company also debuted 24 Mobile Services Core Kits, which developers can use to create applications for the Huawei AppGallery.

* Pearson PLC Group CFO Coram Williams is leaving the company to assume a comparable position in continental Europe. Williams will step down from the company's board later this year. Sally Johnson, the company's deputy CFO, will succeed Williams and also become an executive director on Pearson's board. The educational publisher could become a takeover target after Williams' departure amid a decline in the company's U.S. sales, The Daily Telegraph reports.

* British Telecom CEO Philip Jansen told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the government needs to clarify competition rules if it were to pursue an election promise of a nationwide rollout of full-fiber broadband services, The Daily Telegraph reports. Jansen said rival operators must be allowed to enter tie-ups for installing fiber networks in rural regions.

* Sky Ltd. CEO Jeremy Darroch is pushing for the creation of a new regulator to combat online abuse. In an article originally written for The Times, Darroch said the current self-regulatory framework involving technology companies "hasn't worked."

* Public broadcaster Channel 4 (UK) opened its new Creative Hub in Bristol, which will focus on producing programs across the daytime drama, factual and popular factual genres.

* BT agreed to become a European distribution partner for Google LLC's cloud gaming platform Stadia. The U.K. telco is launching a limited Google Stadia offer for its fiber broadband customers.

* Kjersti Wiklund and Suzi Williams will join Zegona Communications PLC's board as independent nonexecutive directors, starting Feb. 5. Wiklund will also be a member of the audit and risk committee, while Williams will be on the nomination and remuneration committee.

* Verizon Communications Inc. teamed up with industry peers such as U.K.-based Vodafone Group PLC to create a 5G-focused forum. The 5G Future Forum will collaborate to develop uniform interoperable 5G specifications across key geographic regions, including the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

* Two Endemol Shine Group channels will go live on Channel 5 (UK)'s video-on-demand platform My5, Rapid TV News reports. The agreement is part of a continued expansion of third-party content partnerships on the service. ViacomCBS Inc. owns Channel 5.

* Sky Mobile rolled out 5G connectivity in 20 cities and towns in the U.K., including London, Edinburgh, Belfast and Leeds. The mobile network is aiming to make 5G available in 50 U.K. destinations by summer.

GERMANY, SWITZERLAND AND AUSTRIA

* Deutsche Telekom AG's streaming and entertainment service MagentaTV is adding more exclusive content, 4KFilme reports. The new programs include TV shows such as "Sherlock" and "A Confession."

* ORF's working council filed a declaratory action against the Austrian broadcaster at a labor and social court, Der Standard reports. The council claimed ORF did not adhere to a pay round decided in 2018.

* The Swiss canton of Vaud plans to invest in local and regional media with a CHF6.2 million fund over the next five years, Tagesanzeiger reports. The canton said it was concerned about the media crisis, which led to the demise of print titles such as L'Hebdo and Le Matin.

* Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland GmbH hired Sebastian Moritz as head of social media, Meedia reports. Moritz previously oversaw social media and marketing at Netflix.

FRANCE

* Spanish media group Promotora de Informaciones SA failed to sell its noncontrolling stake in French newspaper Le Monde, Les Echos reports. The sale to Matthieu Pigasse, Daniel Kretinsky and Xavier Niel did not take place and could threaten Le Monde's capital increase.

* The French securities regulator confirmed that 15,239,719 shares have been tendered to Iliad SA's open-market share buyback offer. The settlement for the repurchased shares will take place Jan. 31.

* Video streaming provider Dailymotion SA has been removed from Free's Freebox Révolution device, Univers Freebox reports.

NETHERLANDS, BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG

* Dutch public broadcaster NPO is open to teaming up with global companies such as Netflix, Videoland, The Walt Disney Co. and Amazon to produce "high-quality" Dutch drama series, NOS reports, quoting NPO Chairman Shula Rijxman.

* Lynn Wesenbeek, a former employee of Flemish TV company VTM, will join the board of Flemish public broadcaster VRT, De Tijd reports.

NORDIC COUNTRIES

* Telenor ASA announced top-level management changes at three of its Asian subsidiaries, effective Feb. 1. The chief executive of Telenor Myanmar, Sharad Mehrotra, will become the new CEO of Thailand-based Total Access Communication PCL, or dtac. Following Mehrotra's reassignment, Telenor Myanmar will now be led by Hans Martin Hoegh Henrichsen, currently chief corporate affairs officer, as the acting CEO. In Bangladesh, deputy CEO and chief marketing officer of Grameenphone Ltd., Yasir Azman, has been appointed as the new CEO.

* Telenor is spinning off Telenor Norge AS' infrastructure division into a new separate unit, E24 reports. The new company, to be named Telenor Infra, will have the responsibility of all passive infrastructure across Telenor's telecom networks in Norway.

* TV 2 Danmark A/S Chief Digital Officer Anders Blauenfeldt is leaving the company, the Danish commercial public broadcaster reports. Blauenfeldt and TV 2 are in a spat over developing the broadcaster's digital services, including streaming service TV 2 PLAY.

* Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd. completed a 5G video test call while simultaneously streaming video content on a 4G device with Ericsson's Spectrum Sharing technology. The test used the telco's 5G network in Australia and Singtel's pilot 5G network in Singapore.

SOUTHERN EUROPE

* Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS will create and improve technologies and services using its principles of artificial intelligence, Telecompaper reports, citing a company statement at a press conference.

* Italy's Ministry for Economic Development will allocate an additional grant of about €46 million for digital transformation projects to small and medium enterprises, micro-companies and business networks, Telecompaper reports. The grant is an extension of the earlier allocation of €50 million.

* Cellnex Telecom SA's board approved policies on equity, diversity and inclusion for the group. The policies will focus on gender diversity, generational diversity, affective-sexual diversity, cultural diversity and functional diversity.

EASTERN EUROPE

* Mobile TeleSystems PJSC merged its mobile and fixed businesses in Moscow, Broadband TV News reports, citing Kommersant. MTS subsidiary Moscow City Telephone Network PJSC previously operated its fixed businesses.

* Serbian operator Telenor doo invested over €220 million, primarily in infrastructure and network capacity, over the past year and a half since it was bought by PPF Group NV, Telecompaper reports, citing CEO Mike Michel's statement to Beta News Agency.

* Rostelecom PJSC unit Bashinformsvyaz acquired an 18.36% stake in the Russian Fund for Development of Internet Initiatives, Telecompaper reports, citing sources mentioned by Vedomosti. The acquired stake could reportedly cost about 1 billion Russian rubles.

* Polish game developer CD Projekt SA said the release date of "Cyberpunk 2077" will be moved to Sept. 17. The company said it needs "more time to finish playtesting, fixing and polishing."

* Yandex NV closed a lease agreement for 18,000 square meters of office space at the Moscow-City business center, Telecompaper reports, citing RNS. Financial terms of the agreement were undisclosed.

* Russia plans to run new reliability tests of its sovereign internet space on March 20, Telecompaper reports, citing Tdaily.ru. The test will be run 4x this year, including the planned testing in March.

FEATURED NEWS

Hires and Fires Europe: Liberty Global unit gets new CEO; Guardian Media names new chief: Liberty Global PLC named Baptiest Coopmans as the new CEO of its UPC Schweiz unit, while Guardian Media Group PLC appointed Annette Thomas as the company's new chief executive.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Turkey tests 5G, grows postpaid amid currency free fall: Turkish operators grew the industry's postpaid base by 3.3 million users year over year in the third quarter of 2019, and average data consumption increased by 31% in the same period.

Anne Freier, Amanda Kelly, Marieke Pijnappels and Esben Svendsen contributed to this report.

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