In Brief:Saudi Telecom mulls creating towers company 

Saudi Telecom Company is considering splitting off its telecoms towers into a separate entity that would enable it to move forward with a sale.The Saudi Arabian incumbent's CEO said that his company is "seriously considering" creating a new entity to sell its towers portfolio."We are doing our internal assessment in terms of what value it will bring us," said the CEO.."It's not about the money. It's about creating efficiency in operation," he added.Saudi Arabia's telecoms operators have been examining their options with regard to towers for some time. Mobily's 10,000 mobile towers could command a price of up to US$2 billion.

***France’s Orange Group has begun informal talks with Millicom International Cellular (MIC) regarding a potential takeover of the latter’s mobile operations in Senegal, Chad and Ghana. The unnamed sources were quoted as saying that MIC is looking to discard its assets in West and Central Africa, where it has come under pressure from regulators to extend its network into rural areas. The development follows Orange’s acquisition of MIC’s subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tigo DRC, which was completed in late April this year. Tigo Ghana is the third largest cellco in the country, with a market share of 14.0% at end-March 2016, behind Vodafone Ghana (21.8%) and MTN Ghana (47.1%). In Chad, meanwhile, Tigo has a market share of approximately 56.2%, whilst its main competitor Airtel Chad claims around 43.0% of the space, with state-owned Groupe Sotel Tchad taking the remaining 0.8%. Orange already has a presence in Senegal, where it leads the market by a substantial margin. The cellco already controls approximately 56.1% of the market, and a merger with Tigo Senegal would boost that figure to around 79%.

***The European Commission has teamed up with Facebook,Twitter, YouTube and Microsoft to announce a new code of conduct designed to combat illegal online hate speech. The aim is to respond the challenge of ensuring that online platforms do not offer opportunities for illegal online hate speech to spread virally. Although many EU member states already seek to enforce many of the new code’s policies in their national laws, the rules are the first attempt to codify how the IT companies themselves deal with the spread of illegal hate speech online. “The recent terror attacks have reminded us of the urgent need to address illegal online hate speech,” said EC justice commissioner, adding that “social media is unfortunately one of the tools that terrorist groups use to radicalise young people and to spread violence and hatred."

***Irish-owned pan-Caribbean telecoms group Digicel has invested EUR40 million (USD44.5 million) to expand and upgrade its mobile network in El Salvador, in a bid to offer improved data connectivity and customer experience.The Digicel marketing director said that the Central American country is a key focus for the group this year, adding that the company is rolling out a brand redesign across all El Salvadorian assets, from in-store designs to billboards and other advertising. A range of new products and services will also be launched, including a flat rate of USD0.12 per minute for pre-paid customers to call any network, and free access.

***Tech giants Microsoft and Facebook have teamed up to build a 6,600km submarine cable system the firms claim “will be the highest-capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic” with speeds of 160Tbps

•***Globe and PLDT buy up Philippines rival for spectrum
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•Orange to buy Millicom Africa operations
•AT&T makes bid for Yahoo
•EU states free up 700MHz band
•Packet selects Zayo for international connectivity