EU approves EC's fair usage plan for roaming 

EU approves EC's fair usage plan for roaming
Wholesale data caps remain the last hurdle for the European Union to overcome after member states approved a fair usage policy on roaming proposals. The member states voted to approve fair use proposals put forward by the European Commission, meaning they can be adopted in the coming days. The EC had set a deadline of 15 December to formally adopt the proposals. The proposals mean that consumers or businesses with unlimited data packages will face restrictions on how much data they can use while travelling within Europe. It was key concern raised by figures within the industry.

***Brazilian telecoms company Oi has announced that, pursuant to its judicial reorganisation plan, it has requested the authorisation of a Rio de Janeiro court for the sale of Timor Telecom (TT) to Investel Communications Limited. Following a competitive sale process, Oi received a proposal from Investel for the acquisition of direct and indirect interests in TT for approximately USD36 million, in addition to the payment of the Timorese operator’s debts to Oi in the amount of USD26 million. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that the deal involves a 54.01% shareholding in TT, controlled by Telecomunicacoes Publicas de Timor (TPT), in which Oi owns 76.14%, in addition to a direct 3.05% stake held by PT Participacoes SGPS. The Timorese government currently holds a 20.59% stake in TT, with the remaining shareholders being VDT Operator Holdings (17.86%) and Timorese businessman Julio Alfaro (4.49%).

***Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched its first U.K. data centres, enabling its 100,000 U.K.-based customers to run applications and store corporate data locally. It is AWS's third European region; the other two are located in Germany and Ireland. Called AWS Europe (London) Region, it is divided into two sites, which Amazon calls Availability Zones. These zones can act as colocation facilities, ensuring that a single event doesn't take every customer's cloud-based applications and services offline.

***South Africa-based MTN Group has reportedly begun to repatriate cash from its 49% subsidiary operation in Iran, MTN Irancell. The group had previously been unable to take funds from Iran due to economic sanctions imposed on the country, but these were lifted earlier this year. Bloomberg reports that MTN Group has now managed to extract several hundred million dollars with the help of European banks, and it is looking to take a total of around USD1 billion by the end of March 2017. The money includes a USD430 million loan repayment from MTN Irancell. The South African group recently reaffirmed its commitment to the Iranian market, where it is the number two mobile provider.

*** US mobile giant Sprint has launched its High Performance User Equipment (HPUE) solution, which it describes as ‘a breakthrough innovation designed to optimise 2.5GHz network coverage’. The new technology, which was unveiled at an event in New York City, is said to be capable of extending coverage by up to 30% to nearly match its mid-band 1900MHz spectrum performance, including indoors where an estimated 60% to 70% of all wireless traffic is generated. Testing was carried out in conjunction with China Mobile. Going forward, Sprint’s network is ready for the initial rollout of HPUE, including in its 250 ‘LTE Plus’ [tri-band carrier aggregation] markets and Samsung is expected to support HPUE in devices slated for commercial launch in 2017.

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