Displaying items by tag: Italy

Italian regulator threatens Facebook with €5m fine

Written on Monday, 27 January 2020 11:01

Italy’s Competition Authority (ICA) has taken legal action against Facebook, threatening to fine the social media giant for failing to comply with their terms regarding data practices involving user data which were previously set in November 2018.

The ICA issued a statement which read that if a company failed to comply with their terms, it would potentially result in a €5 million fine.

Facebook was fined €5 million back in November 3018 after the ICA found that the social media giant did not inform its users adequately about their personal data collection procedure and how it was being used for commercial purposes. More specifically, they were penalized on the grounds of “the remunerative aims underlying the supply of the service , while at the same time emphasizing that it is provided free of charge.”

The ICA also asked Facebook to put an end to this and publish an amending statement which was to be shown on the homepage of the website as well as the app and the person profiles of all Italian users.

However the regulatory agency found that, upon registering on the social network, users “are still not adequately and immediately informed about the collection and use of their personal data for commercial purposes” and that “Facebook did not publish the amending statement”.

When it comes to regulator probes, Facebook has been under the spotlight over the past few years.

A spokesperson rom Facebook stated, “We are reviewing the authority decision… We made changes last year, including to our terms of service, to further clarify how Facebook makes money. These changes were part of our ongoing commitment to give people more transparency and control over their information.”

Published in Finance

TIM (Telecom Italia), in collaboration with Nokia, has achieved a wavelength speed of 550 Gigabits per second (Gb/s), a new European record for data transmission over a long-distance backbone network.

Published in Telecom Operators

Vodafone and Huawei achieve 5G data connection in Italy

Written on Thursday, 16 November 2017 07:19

Vodafone has achieved the first 5G data connection in Italy. The 5G trials were conducted by Vodafone in partnership with Huawei, which made available a radio base station using Massive MIMO technology.

It’s part of trials in Milan promoted by the Ministry for Economic Development. Vodafone, which was selected to conduct 5G trials in the Milan metropolitan area, used frequencies in the 3.7-3.8 GHz portion of spectrum made available by the Ministry.

The 5G data connection was achieved using an antenna located at the Vodafone Village in Milan, marking the start of the planned network rollout.

The success of the 5G trial represents a major step forward. This was a real live test demonstrating use of 5G Prototype equipment that already meets the current 3GPP standard, including Massive MIMO technology, which increases both capacity and coverage.

During the test, it was possible to appreciate the performance of the 5G network, reaching download speeds of more than 2.7 Gigabits per second, with a latency of just over a millisecond.

Published in Telecom Operators

French media group Vivendi declared on August 7 that it “does not exercise any de facto control over Telecom Italia” under Italian law, following a request by Italy’s market watchdog Consob to confirm the matter.

The company’s growing influence in Italy’s telecom sector has come under scrutiny since it bought a stake of 24 percent in Telecom Italia and took 29 percent of the country’s largest commercial broadcaster, Mediaset.

If Vivendi said it effectively controls Telecom Italia, it would be forced to consolidate the group’s debt pile of 25 billion euros into its accounts and would give the Rome government the right to step in as it is allowed to do for companies of national interest, Il Sole 24 Ore reported.

Vivendi denied having de facto control of Telecom Italia in a press release saying its participation in the company is “not sufficient enough to allow it to exercise, on a stable basis, a dominant influence at Telecom Italia shareholders’ meeting.”

In this respect, it added, “all empirical data – including attendance at the ordinary shareholders’ meetings of Telecom Italia held between June 22, 2015 through May 4, 2017, the shareholdings held by the various investors and the results of the voting on resolutions – unequivocally reveal that Vivendi is not in a position to control Telecom Italia ordinary shareholders’ meetings.”

Vivendi’s statement came two months after it received the conditional approval from European Union antitrust authorities for its plan to gain control of Telecom Italia.

Telecom Italia said recently that its board on July 27 had acknowledged that Vivendi was “directing and coordinating” the operator. However, Telecom Italia never specifically addressed where the media group had total control over it, Reuters said.

The Italian government was also looking into whether Vivendi breached an obligation to inform Rome of its “direction” role at Telecom Italia, which is a requirement for organizations that are considered a strategic national asset.

Published in Government

The CEO of Telecom Italia is set to accept a severance package rumored to be worth around €30m to pave the way for his imminent departure from the organization. Speculation has been rife for a number of months in relation to unrest between the CEO of the Italian incumbent Flavio Catteneo and its largest shareholder Vivendi.

It has emerged that Catteneo is expected to leave the Italian operator by mutual consent after negotiating the terms of the severance package. Vivendi which controls the operators board has been at loggerheads with the CEO for the past number of months, and a source close to Telecom Italia said the situation had become untenable for both parties, claiming ‘something had to give’.

Some shareholders have expressed their criticism to the amount the outgoing CEO will receive for his severance pay-off. However, the CEO was quick to defend the sum pointing out the list of successes he had delivered for the telecommunications colossus.

It has also been reported that Telecom Italia will hold a meeting of its Nomination of Remuneration Committee with only one item listed on the agenda, which is the examination of a proposal of mutual termination of the relationship of the company and Mr. Flavio Catteneo.

However, it was only a few weeks ago, a defiant Catteneo announced his intentions to remain on as CEO until the end of 2020, dispelling rumors he was set to quit the operator. Reports circulated that Vivendi had already lined-up a three-pronged leadership team to replace the CEO.

Tensions continued to soar, but the relationship completely broke down when it emerged that Vivendi planned to appoint its CCO Amos Genish as Telecom Italia’s new Managing Director in order to work alongside Catteneo.

The latest high-profile departure represents a recurring and worrying trend at Telecom Italia. Catteneo’s imminent exit means that the Italian telecommunications colossus will now have its third CEO in just two years. Marco Patuano left the firm in March, 2016, amidst reports of clashes with Vivendi. The French company which is the operator’s largest shareholder is increasingly attempting to extend its control on the operator.

Vivendi now is total control of both the Telecom Italia board and installed its own CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine as the chairman of the operator earlier this year. In addition, the company gained permission from the European commission to assume control of the operator in May 2017.

However, the company’s progress has not gone unnoticed by Italy’s authorities. Italian regulator Agcom ordered Vivendi to cut its stake in either Telecom Italia or broadcast firm Mediatek in April, to meet stringent Italian media ownership rules. Vivendi is contesting the decision.

Published in Telecom Operators

Italian operator Telecom Italia has announced that the Republic of San Marino will become the first country in Europe to have a 5G mobile network. Telecom Italia made the prediction following the disclosure of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with government officials from San Marino.

In a statement issued to the press, Telecom Italia indicated that it plans to update mobile sites of its network with 4.5G in order to enable it to conduct trials on some features of 5G technology, such as evolved mast towers and carrier integration. The interim 3GPP standards for the revolutionary next-generation technology will be released in March 2018.

The Italian operator which is headquartered in Rome also disclosed its intentions to double the amount of existing mobile sites in San Marino, it also plans to install several dozen small cells in the innovative project which would make the microstate the first in Europe to have a 5G mobile network.

In a joint-statement in relation to the MOU between Telecom Italia and government representatives of San Marino, it said, “The particular geographical shape of this territory - and the distribution of its industries favor the use and development of innovative technologies. Thanks to this work, it will be possible to start the first testing of 5G technology on a national scale within the next year.”

San Marino is one of smallest countries in the world with a population of around 30,000 people. Some of the objectives of the project include a new mobile infrastructure with considerable transmission capacity that would be ten times that of 4G. The infrastructure would also be able to connect to large objects ahead of the 2020 deadline set by the EU.

According to Telecom Italia Mobile’s head of technology the scale of the project would see San Marino being established as the first 5G state in the world, which would place it ahead of technological superpowers such as South Korea and Japan. The race to deploy 5G continues to intensify between government bodies and operators.

Reports emerging from Italy suggest that the leading Italian operator has already begun installing 100 small cells in Turin as part of 5G network trials being led by the Italian government. However, it’s being suggested that it has more freedom to experiment in San Marino because there are fewer restrictions on the use of airwaves.

Earlier this month, a consortium of European operators including Telecom Italia expressed its desire to launch 5G services quickly. Industry analysts have predicted that the work currently underway in San Marino will be crucial to 5G in Europe.

Published in Telecom Operators

Following a “challenging year,” British telecoms group BT says it plans to lay off 4,000 jobs worldwide in an effort to drive down costs after posting falling profits. The company will cut jobs across three divisions including global services, group functions, technology, services and operations, BT said in its annual results statement.

BT currently employs 102,500 staff around the world and operators in 180 countries. It will take a one-off restructuring charge of $388 million (357 million euros). The company saw its pre-tax profit fall by a fifth to £2.35 billion in the financial year to the end of March. It was hit by an Italian accounting scandal, troubles at its Openreach broadband unit, and challenging trade both in the UK and abroad.

“Technology trends mean that we are now less dependent on owning physical local network assets around the world, creating the opportunity to reposition Global Services as a more focused digital business,” said BT CEO Gavin Patterson, adding that the company was therefore restructuring its Global Services division and expanding its cost transformation program. “This will help offset market and regulatory pressures and create the capacity for future investment,” Patterson said.

Patterson did not receive his 2016/2017 bonus from BT’s remuneration committee which totaled £338,398, as a result of a string of issues. The company revealed in January news of an accounting scandal at its Italian division which cost the group £530 million. In addition, British regulator Ofcom hit BT with a bill of around £350 million in March, in fines and compensation following delays to high-speed cable installations by its Openreach broadband unit.

“The past year has been challenging,” said BT remuneration committee chairman Tony Ball. Unfortunately our performance has been significantly affected by the accounting irregularities in our Italian business, the issues that arose in Openreach… and the significant challenges we faced in the UK public sector and international corporate markets.”

The BT committee had made “a number of difficult decisions this year in light of these circumstances and exercised its discretion accordingly,” Ball said. Openreach maintains tens of millions of copper and fibre lines connecting telephone exchanges to homes and businesses across the UK.

Published in Telecom Vendors

Over 1,000 jobs are at risk at Ericsson in Italy following the failure by the Swedish telecommunications company to secure a lucrative contract worth €1 billion to upgrade the network of Italy’s recently created joint-venture between Wind and 3 Italia.

3 Italia and Wind signed off on a deal to merge their local units in Italy in November, after a rigorous European Commission approval process, in a collaboration that creates the country’s largest operator. The companies aim to launch joint services in January.

However, it’s now likely that Ericsson will have to fire at least a quarter of its staff in Italy, following its failure to secure the contract for the network upgrade. It has been reported that the respective owners of 3 Italia and Wind, CK Hutchinson and Vimpel-Com have chosen China’s ZTE to carry out the network upgrade.

This has not yet been officially confirmed in Italy, but sources say ZTE have won the order – while it is believed Huawei and Nokia were also in contention for the order.

This is just the latest in a number of setbacks suffered by the struggling vendor. In October Ericsson announced that it would be slashing 3,000 jobs due to a combination of poor financial results and their failure to secure tenders for a number of vacant contracts that were up for grabs in the sector.

Ericsson has also had to fight off and refute allegations of bribery which came to light when former executives told the SEC that they had carried out a number of briberies across a whole host of different countries. One executive extraordinarily claimed Ericsson bribed the President of Costa Rica in order to secure a contract in the country.

All these setbacks, poor results and scandals have ultimately led to the inevitable departure of long-time CEO Hans Vestberg. He will officially leave his post at the beginning of next month where he will be replaced by Borje Ekholm. However, the incoming CEO now has to deal with this monumental setback in Italy – to go with all the other issues and problems urgently needing to be addressed at Ericsson.

Ekholm will be tasked with finding a way to revive the company’s fortunes amid an industry slump as operators curb investments in infrastructure.

Published in Telecom Vendors

EU finally clears Hutchison and VimpelCom merger deal in Italy

Written on Sunday, 04 September 2016 07:30

In 2015, Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Hutchison, and Russia’s VimpelCom, both agreed to merge their 3 Italia and Wind networks, but the deal was rejected by the European Commission, demanding that they make room for new entrants in the Italian market. On Thursday, September 1, the EU cleared the deal between the companies after they agreed to sell some of the business to boost competition.

In July, France’s Iliad, parent company of the low-cost operator Free, said it would acquire frequencies and radio towers from Hutchison and VimpelCom, AFP reports. “The effective structural remedies offered by Hutchison and VimpelCom fully address the commission’s competition concerns,” the European Commission announced, referring to its strict competition policies which is the reason the merger was rejected in the first place.

"They will ensure the market entry of French telecom operator Iliad as a new mobile network operator in Italy," said the commission in a statement. "This means that the parties can grow and reap the benefits of combining their assets, whilst Italian mobile customers will continue to profit from effective competition."

Hutchison has had a rocky road with the European Commission, which also blocked its 14 billion euro ($15.6 billion) acquisition of Telefonica’s O2 mobile unit in the UK in May because the commission felt it would harm competition.

The EC had concerns about the Hutchison and Wind merger at the beginning because VimpelCom’s Wind currently ranks third in the Italian market, while Hutchison ranks fourth. Together, the companies would have become the largest entity ahead of Italia’s Tim and Britain’s Vodafone.

When VimpelCom, controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and Norwegian telecoms group Telenor, which holds a third of the company, announced their merger last year with Hutchison, they said it would bring some 31 million mobile phone clients in and sales of over 6 billion euros. Both companies welcomed the merger.

"Today is a good day for businesses and consumers across Italy. This joint venture will unlock major investment in Italy's digital infrastructure," Hutchison said in joint statement. "The combined business will not only be good for consumers, businesses and the economy in Italy, but will also deliver long-term value to its shareholders," VimpelCom added.

Published in Telecom Operators