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Vodafone plans 1,130 jobs cuts in Italy

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Vodafone plans 1,130 jobs cuts in Italy

Vodafone

The mobile network intends to give increasing pressure in the country’s mobile market.

The company will open negotiations with local trade unions over 1,130 redundancies, it said in a statement on Monday.

Vodafone employs around 7,000 people in Italy, according to its website.

 

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Mohamed Salah joins up with Vodafone and UNHCR as first Instant Network Schools Ambassador

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Mohamed Salah has become the first Ambassador for Instant Network Schools – which connect refugee and host country students to a quality digital education – as the programme prepares to expand into his home country of Egypt for the first time.

Instant Network Schools was set up in 2013 by Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to give young refugees, host communities and their teachers access to digital learning content and the internet, improving the quality of education in some of the most marginalised communities in Africa.

To date, the programme has benefited over 86,500 students and 1,000 teachers ensuring that refugees and children from the communities that host them have access to accredited, quality, and relevant learning opportunities.

There are 36 Instant Network Schools currently operating across eight refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR are jointly investing €26 million to expand the programme to benefit 500,000 refugee and host community students and 10,000 teachers.

By 2025, 255 new Instant Network Schools will be opened, including 20 schools planned this year.

Mr Salah will visit some of the schools supported by the programme and will help to raise awareness of the need and importance of quality education for refugee children and for more investment in digital technology that provides a connection to the outside world and gives students a chance to shape their own futures.

Mohamed Salah said: “I’m partnering with Vodafone Foundation and UNHCR to close the gap between the education available to refugees and their peers living in settled communities. Instant Network Schools is an important initiative that I am proud to represent which is transforming learning for a generation of young people across sub-Saharan Africa and soon also in my home country, Egypt.”

Andrew Dunnett, Vodafone’s Group Director of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Sustainable Business and Foundations, said: “Over 50% of the world’s 70.8 million displaced people are children and they can spend their entire schooling in refugee camps with limited access to a quality education. Mohamed Salah shares our passion about the importance of education as a pivotal building block for personal and societal development and will help us to promote and expand the Instant Network Schools programme.”

Dominique Hyde, UNHCR’s Director of External Relations said: “We are very proud of our long-term partnership with the Vodafone Foundation, and we are delighted to welcome Mohamed Salah as Ambassador of UNHCR and Vodafone’s Instant Network Schools programme. On and off the football field, Mohamed is a positive and inspirational role model for youth all around the world. His optimism and passion perfectly align with the Instant Network Schools programme. Connected education brings hope to refugee youth, giving them the inspiration, motivation and opportunity to achieve a better future.”

Mr Salah, who was named by Time Magazine in 2019 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, is well known for his philanthropy in a range of areas including education.

Mr Salah has been a brand ambassador for Vodafone Egypt since the end of 2017 and has fronted the company’s brand advertising campaigns ever since. In 2018, Vodafone Egypt launched the ‘Mo Salah World’ promotional price plan which offered customers 11 free voice minutes every time he scored a goal.

Instant Network Schools

An Instant Network School transforms an existing classroom into an online hub for learning, complete with internet connectivity, sustainable solar power and a robust teacher training programme.

At the heart of an Instant Network School is technology provided by Vodafone Foundation, the Instant Classroom, a digital ‘school in a box’ that can be set up in a matter of minutes.

It includes:

  • 25 tablets for students
  • 1 laptop for the teacher
  • 1 projector
  • 1 speaker
  • 1 4G connectivity/Wi-Fi router to connect to the internet
  • in built solar charging for the tablets and laptops cables
  • a library of digital educational resources.

A recent evaluation of the existing programme over one year showed a positive impact on learning outcomes, including an increase in informational communications technology (ICT) literacy of 61% for students, improved confidence, motivation and academic performance. Wider analysis shows higher levels of school attendance, with examples of young people accessing tertiary education from within refugee camps for the first time.

Vodafone is UNHCR’s largest corporate partner for Connected Education, supporting the delivery of the United Nations SDG number four (ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all) and 17 (strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development).

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Zambia cancels licence of Vodafone franchise holder over poor capacity

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Zambia’s communications regulator said on Thursday it had cancelled the licence for Vodafone’s local franchise holder, citing a lack of technical and financial capacity.

Vodafone in 2016 licenced Afrimax, a telecommunications service provider in sub-Saharan Africa to offer customers high speed 4G data services using the Vodafone Zambia brand.

The company registered as Mobile Broadband Ltd. has lately been experiencing operational problems and issued a statement in July saying its shareholders had failed to recapitalise it.

Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority said in a statement Vodafone Zambia would cease to operate from Oct. 20.

“The Zambia Information and Commmunications Technology Authority has cancelled network and service licences issued to Mobile Broadband Limited, trading as Vodafone Zambia Limited,” it said in a statement.

“The cancellation is on the grounds that Mobile Broadband Limited has ceased to fulfil the eligibility requirements … by not being technically and financially capable of meeting the obligations and terms and conditions of the licence.”

No one at the company was immediately available to comment. (Reuters/)
ERO/SN

Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha

 

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Oman signs deal with Vodafone to set up 3rd mobile operator

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(Xinhua/NAN) Oman’s Ministry of Transport and Communications announced on Thursday that Oman Future Telecommunications and the British Telecommunications Company, Vodafone, has signed a strategic partnership agreement to set up the third mobile operator in the country.

The Omani ministry said on its Twitter account that the new mobile operator would come under the name of Vodafone Oman, which would provide basic services for the operation of the new company.

This, it said, would include: the use of the brand as well as technical knowledge and operational support provided by the British strategic partner.

The ministry confirmed that the contract period between the two partners would last for a period of 15 years and that the company would commence operations next year.

It added that the company would be an operating partner without owning a shareholding capital of Vodafone Oman. (Xinhua/NAN)

YI/SN

Edited by Yahaya Isah/Silas Nwoha

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EU to probe deeper into Vodafone, Liberty Global deal – source

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EU antitrust regulators are likely to launch a full-scale investigation into Vodafone’s 21.8 billion dollars purchase of Liberty Global’s (LBTYA.O) assets in Germany and eastern Europe, a person familiar with the matter said.

The deal between Vodafone and U.S. cable pioneer John Malone’s Liberty will enable the world’s second-largest mobile operator to better compete with Deutsche Telekom in the German rival’s home market.

The opening of a so-called in-depth investigation will in practical terms mean the European Commission’s rejection of a request by the German cartel authority to take over the case.

Edited by: Udochukwu Ifionu/Grace Yussuf
(NAN)

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Italian government approves app for Coronavirus contact tracing

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The Italian government has approved the use of a mobile phone app to support contact-tracing efforts in the fight against the spread of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The decision was taken in an overnight cabinet meeting, the government said on Thursday in a statement.

The use of the app, known as “Immuni,” will not be compulsory, but officials say it will be effective only if at least 50 per cent of the population downloads it.

The app allows a user who tests positive for the novel coronavirus to warn people he or she has been in close contact with via an anonymous message.

To ensure privacy, Immuni will not use geolocation technology but is expected to detect nearby mobile phones using Bluetooth, which should therefore always be turned on.

The government said people who refuse to use the app will not be penalised in any way, and said only public or state-controlled institutions will store and handle data from the app.

According to media reports, the app should be ready by mid-May.

According to Vittorio Colao, a former Chief Executive of Vodafone and Head of a Government Advisory Panel on Lockdown Exit Plans, “It is important to launch it by the end of May”.

“If everybody or nearly everybody has it by the summer, good; otherwise it will not be of much use,” Colao told the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Wednesday.

Italy is one of the countries in the world worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with 27,682 deaths and 203,591 infections reported as of Wednesday.

Edited By: Fatima Sule/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Conspiracy theories spark attacks on 5G masts in Britain, Netherlands

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Coronavirus-inspired conspiracy theories have sparked dozens of attacks on telephone network masts in Britain and the Netherlands, with the perpetrators apparently believing 5G transmissions are the cause of the disease.

“In Britain, 20 masts belonging to telecommunications giant Vodafone have been set ablaze,’’ the firm’s chief in Britain Nick Jeffery said on Monday.

In the Netherlands there have been 16 attacks in recent weeks, at the weekend two masts in Amsterdam caught fire.

“There is absolutely no link between 5G and the coronavirus, there is no science-based evidence 5G is harmful to human health,’’ Jeffery wrote recently on careers platform LinkedIn.

Experts say the theory that 5G masts are responsible for the pandemic is “total madness”, while British cabinet minister Michael Gove called it “dangerous nonsense”.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte warned of the consequences of destroying masts.

“It’s life-threatening because it directly affects emergency calls,’’ he said.

Vodafone’s Jeffrey said that one of the British masts attacked provided mobile service to a hospital in the central English town of Birmingham.

“It’s heart-rending enough that families cannot be there at the bedside of loved ones who are critically ill.

“It’s even more upsetting that even the small solace of a phone or video call may now be denied them because of the selfish actions of a few deluded conspiracy theorists,’’ he said

According to National Health Service England director Stephen Powis, mobile phone networks are essential in the fight against the pandemic.

“I’m absolutely outraged and disgusted that people would be taking action against the infrastructure; we need to tackle this emergency,’’ he said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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News Analysis: Italy forms task force to prepare for economy re-opening

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The expert task force appointed to help shepherd Italy through the gradual re-opening of the country’s economy has to maintain a delicate balance between economic and health concerns, analysts said.

More than five weeks into Italy’s national coronavirus quarantine, the outbreak is showing signs of coming under control. The number of COVID-19 patients in Italian hospitals is slowly falling, and the rate of new infections has slowed.

On Tuesday, Italy took a small step toward re-opening certain economic sectors, including book and stationery stores, businesses selling baby products, and electronics repair shops. Grocery stores and pharmacies have remained open since the start of the national lockdown. The new rules will remain in place until at least May 3.

The next step, according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, has been dubbed “phase 2”: gradually widening the reopening process while re-organizing public spaces to allow for widespread safeguards, such as social distancing and the use of masks and gloves in public.

To decide when and how “phase 2” will begin, Conte appointed a special task force of economists, labor leaders, managers, and psychologists led by Vittorio Colao, a former chief executive for mobile phone giant Vodafone, to advise him on the topic. The task force will work together with the pre-existing Technical and Scientific Committee.

“The appointment of Colao is a sign that the government is taking the task force very seriously,” Tommaso Monacelli, an economist with Bocconi University of Milan, told Xinhua. “Colao is a person of great abilities with a proven ability to find unusual solutions to problems. I don’t think he would have taken the job if there was not going to be a substantive role to play.”

Monacelli pointed out that it was still not clear what the full mandate of the task force will be or what powers it will have.

Giuseppe Arleo, coordinator of the department from the think tank Competere which monitors the restart of the European economy after the retreat of the pandemic, said the way this intermediate stage is carried out will decide how soon Italy can return to normal life.

“This next stage has to be done correctly,” Arleo said in an interview. “The challenge is to balance the health needs of residents by making sure they are as safe as possible, while also taking into account the economic needs of the country.”

Arleo said it was clear the Italian economy would not be able to wait for a coronavirus vaccine to re-open, raising the stakes for how “phase 2” is carried out.

“If things are re-opened too quickly, the virus could come rushing back,” he said. “The plan has to involve simplifying bureaucracy and making sure the equipment needed, like masks and gloves, are available. But it has to get done as quickly as possible. We cannot stay in the first stage indefinitely.”

“Prime Minister Conte is in an extraordinarily difficult position, and he has made an important decision about who will help him get through it,” Arleo noted. Enditem

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Italy forms task force to prepare for economy re-opening

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The expert task force appointed to help shepherd Italy through the gradual re-opening of the country’s economy has to maintain a delicate balance between economic and health concerns, analysts said.

More than five weeks into Italy’s national coronavirus quarantine, the outbreak is showing signs of coming under control. The number of COVID-19 patients in Italian hospitals is slowly falling, and the rate of new infections has slowed.

On Tuesday, Italy took a small step toward re-opening certain economic sectors, including book and stationery stores, businesses selling baby products, and electronics repair shops. Grocery stores and pharmacies have remained open since the start of the national lockdown. The new rules will remain in place until at least May 3.

The next step, according to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, has been dubbed “phase 2”: gradually widening the reopening process while re-organizing public spaces to allow for widespread safeguards, such as social distancing and the use of masks and gloves in public.

A shop selling children’s products reopens in Rome, Italy, April 15, 2020. (Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua)

A shop selling children’s products reopens in Rome, Italy, April 15, 2020. (Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua)

To decide when and how “phase 2” will begin, Conte appointed a special task force of economists, labor leaders, managers, and psychologists led by Vittorio Colao, a former chief executive for mobile phone giant Vodafone, to advise him on the topic. The task force will work together with the pre-existing Technical and Scientific Committee.

“The appointment of Colao is a sign that the government is taking the task force very seriously,” Tommaso Monacelli, an economist with Bocconi University of Milan, told Xinhua. “Colao is a person of great abilities with a proven ability to find unusual solutions to problems. I don’t think he would have taken the job if there was not going to be a substantive role to play.”

Monacelli pointed out that it was still not clear what the full mandate of the task force will be or what powers it will have.

Giuseppe Arleo, coordinator of the department from the think tank Competere which monitors the restart of the European economy after the retreat of the pandemic, said the way this intermediate stage is carried out will decide how soon Italy can return to normal life.

A medical worker works at Intensive Care Unit in Sant’Orsola-Malpighi hospital in Bologna, Italy, on April 15, 2020. (Photo by Gianni Schicchi/Xinhua)

A medical worker works at Intensive Care Unit in Sant’Orsola-Malpighi hospital in Bologna, Italy, on April 15, 2020. (Photo by Gianni Schicchi/Xinhua)

“This next stage has to be done correctly,” Arleo said in an interview. “The challenge is to balance the health needs of residents by making sure they are as safe as possible, while also taking into account the economic needs of the country.”

Arleo said it was clear the Italian economy would not be able to wait for a coronavirus vaccine to re-open, raising the stakes for how “phase 2” is carried out.

“If things are re-opened too quickly, the virus could come rushing back,” he said. “The plan has to involve simplifying bureaucracy and making sure the equipment needed, like masks and gloves, are available. But it has to get done as quickly as possible. We cannot stay in the first stage indefinitely.”

“Prime Minister Conte is in an extraordinarily difficult position, and he has made an important decision about who will help him get through it,” Arleo noted.

Medical staff work at Intensive Care Unit in Sant’Orsola-Malpighi hospital in Bologna, Italy, on April 15, 2020. (Photo by Gianni Schicchi/Xinhua)

Medical staff work at Intensive Care Unit in Sant’Orsola-Malpighi hospital in Bologna, Italy, on April 15, 2020. (Photo by Gianni Schicchi/Xinhua)

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Hundreds detained in India for defying ban on protests against citizenship law

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Police on Thursday detained hundreds of people in New Delhi and the southern city of Bengaluru and shut down the internet in some places as protests entered a second week.

The protest was over a new citizenship law that critics say undermines India’s secular constitution.

Citing law and order concerns following violent protests against the law during the past week, authorities imposed bans against public gatherings in parts of the capital and two big states – Uttar Pradesh in the north and Karnataka in the south.

Protesters, defying the bans, held rallies at Delhi’s historic Red Fort and a town hall in Bengaluru, Karnataka’s state capital, but police swept in to round up people in the vanguard of those demonstrations as they tried to get underway.

According to an aide, in Bengaluru, Ramchandra Guha, a respected historian, and intellectual was taken away by police along with several other professors.

“I am protesting non-violently, but look they are stopping us,” said Guha before being surrounded by police.

Police said that they had detained around 200 people in the city, where according to protest organisers thousands of people attended four protests held in the city.

At the Red Fort protest, an academic turned politician Yogendra Yadav as among some 100 that police said they had detained.

“We are here to peacefully demonstrate against this law,” Mohammed Maz, a bearded middle-aged protester told Reuters as he was led away by police.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dug his heels in over the law that lays out a path for people from minority religions in neighbouring Muslim countries, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, who had settled in India before 2015 to obtain Indian citizenship.

Opponents of the law say the exclusion of Muslims betrays a deep-seated bias against the community, which makes up 14 per cent of India’s population, and that the law is the latest move in a series by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to marginalise them.

Train stations around Red Fort were shut to prevent protesters joining the rally, and authorities also ordered mobile carriers to suspend internet services in some parts of the capital.

“As per the directive received from the government, data services are stopped at a few locations,” Vodafone Idea’s customer care tweeted in response to a user’s question about its network in Delhi.

According to a media report, in Hyderabad, another major city in the south, 50 protesting students were detained by police.

On Sunday, police stormed New Delhi’s Jamia Millia University, firing tear gas and wielding batons to break up a protest by hundreds of students, injuring scores.

During a violent protest in another part of the capital this week, protesters, some masked, fought pitched battles with police.

Anger against Modi’s government has burst into the open after a series of moves that were seen as advancing a Hindu-first agenda in a country that has long celebrated its diversity and secular constitution.

In August, the government took away Muslim majority Kashmir’s autonomy and later the Supreme Court cleared the way for the construction of a Hindu temple on a site disputed by Muslims, and had been a flashpoint for years.

Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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