CARPHONE WAREHOUSE TO OFFER IRISH MOBILE NETWORK - Carphone Warehouse (CPW) will become the next mobile operator in Ireland. The retailer has finalised an agreement with Hutchison Whampoa to offer services using 3’s network, in a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) arrangement. The deal is expected to be officially announced next week, says the Irish Times. CPW, which already operates an MVNO service in Britain on Vodafone’s network using the brand Talkmobile, declined to comment yesterday. It is understood from several industry sources that the company will operate the second MVNO to arise from Hutchison Whampoa’s €850 million takeover of O2. Under competition remedies agreed between Hutchison and the European Commission last month, the combined O2-3 business must facilitate two new MVNOs in the Irish market. UPC last month announced the first MVNO agreement with 3, days after the O2 merger gained competition clearance. CPW’s agreement with 3 will allow it to use up to 15% of 3’s network capacity at a fixed price. This incentivises CPW, which has about 90 retail stores in Ireland, to sign up as many customers as possible to defray the fixed cost.
CENTRAL BANK WARNS ON CROWD-FUNDING - The Central Bank is to warn investors that crowd-funding and peer-to-peer lending is not regulated and is high risk. Crowd-funding, including peer-to-peer lending, involves lending money to, or investing in, a company or project. Low interest rates being paid on deposits has led to huge growth in this type of investing, with the promise of returns of as much as 15% on your money. But the Irish Independent has learned that the Central Bank will today warn that crowd-funding, and peer-to-peer lending, is not regulated in this country. This means that the Central Bank's codes of conduct and protections do not apply to crowd-funding platforms. Client asset rules do not apply, and the State deposit guarantee scheme and the Investor Compensation Fund do not cover crowd-funding schemes. The financial services ombudsman process does not apply in complaints about crowd-funding, and peer-to-peer lending. Crowd-funding experts predict strong growth in Ireland, with new platforms for bringing investors and companies together cropping up regularly. The European Central Bank has prompted the idea, especially as a way to fund start-ups. It is a way money can be raised from a large number of people or organisations to fund a business idea, or a project. This is usually done through a web-based platform.
STAFF 'WORKING LONGER FOR NO EXTRA PAY' - Up to 40% of professionals are working longer hours than they are contracted to with no extra pay - resulting in nearly €93m in lost wages. A stark work-life study of Irish employees, undertaken by IT firm Citrix, shows they are on average working six hours longer a week than contracted. Ireland’s entire workforce spends around 4.2 million hours working for free, the equivalent of over €92.7m in lost salary, says the Irish Examiner. The survey also found that more than 30% of the Irish workforce are currently dissatisfied with their position, 21% would consider moving jobs in order to shorten their commute and more than half (55%) have suffered from some kind of work-related stress over the past 12 months. Employees in mid-level positions suffer more than their peers, are more likely to work longer hours without overtime, and are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs. “Technology now enables us to work from anywhere at any time. We need to move from judging people on how long they spend at their desks to evaluating them on the work they deliver,” according to Grace O’Rourke-Veitch, head of Citrix in Ireland. “By realising that people do not have to be in the office nine-to-five, employers will be able to benefit from a more content and healthy workforce, whilst also attracting the best talent”, she added.
ARGENTINA REFUSES TO SUBMIT TO 'EXTORTION' ON DEBT - President Cristina Fernández of Argentina has raised the prospect of a sovereign default, saying that her government could not succumb to the “extortion” of a US Supreme Court decision that orders it to repay $1.5 billion to “holdout” investors before servicing its restructured debt. In a nationally broadcast speech on Monday, Ms Fernández said she was willing to negotiate but Argentina could not pay a group comprised mostly of hedge funds by June 30, says the Financial Times. The president said she was willing to continue repaying the restructured debt, but the US Supreme Court on Monday said Buenos Aires had to pay $907m to the investors who had not joined restructuring programmes or lose the ability to use the US financial system to pay an equal amount due by June 30 to holders of other Argentine bonds. “What I cannot do as president is submit the country to such extortion,” Ms Fernández said. The president gave no details on how she would continue to pay the more than 90% of bondholders who agreed to a more than 70% haircut on their loans after Argentina defaulted on $100 billion of debt in 2001-02. She said she had told her economy minister to set up “all the tools needed to make the payment to those who trusted in Argentina”.