Tech / Telecom news – 11 Jan 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

T-Mobile Netherlands are adopting the aggressive strategy of their brothers in the US, with a new €35/month unlimited plan for mobile data, valid across all EU countries (i.e. no extra roaming charges), and a second option also including the US at €60/month… Unlimited seems the way to go for mobile attackers, these days (Story)

Meanwhile, in the US, more conservative AT&T is also using unlimited to attract customers to the DirecTV bundle, at a pretty high price. However there are still remaining customers from older, cheaper unlimited data plans that they want to shift to other options, using price hikes (e.g. from $35 to $40/month just announced) (Story)

Regulation

The EU is drafting a set of regulations related to the Digital Single Market, which will protect media companies from ad blockers (by authorising detection and potential ban of customers using them) and will also apply same rules to all service providers, including telecoms and internet-based firms (e.g. WhatsApp, Skype) (Story)

Devices

Anxiety on apparent Apple’s need to create something new to sustain growth (as smartphones mature) is driving lots of speculations, but this rumor of a partnership with Carl Zeiss to develop Augmented Reality glasses seems pretty reasonable, as Apple could be better prepared than others (e.g. Microsoft) to succeed with that (Story)

Security

It now seems that self-connected cars won’t require always-on connections, as fear of cyber-attacks is making companies like Alphabet’s Waymo connect their cars to the internet «only when they need to”. So it could be that network ubiquity (to be there when needed) comes to be more critical than capacity, for this demand (Story)

NETWORK TECHNOLOGY

Verizon doing Virtual RAN trials with Ericsson. This used to be called Cloud RAN, and involves shifting baseband processing away from access cells, into centralised data centres). Claims of significant efficiency and even functionality (from better cell coordination) advantages. They expect to show this at MWC (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

A startup called Digit is offering a new AI application that works as “a Siri for your finances”, looking at inputs & outputs from users’ current accounts and deciding on amounts to be transferred to a savings account. Seems a bit dangerous, but who knows… They actually claim to have already saved $250m for their customers (Story)

M&A MOVES

SoftBank’s Vision Fund officially starting later this month, with offices in London’s Mayfair district, ex-DBank executives, and what seems to be a very attractive project (with “start-up feel”) for finance people. Experts think they’ll be investing in larger tech companies (telecoms?), as startups cannot absorb so much money… (Story)

A mega-idol of these finance people, John Malone, has just spoken again, at a LionsGate (which he owns) investor event. And he didn’t hesitate to predict that more favorable US regulation could trigger a consolidation wave, and to speculate that cable companies could buy T-Mobile, or that Comcast and Charter could merge (Story)

Yahoo! announced its strategy post-Verizon deal, with the new brand Altaba (from “Alternative Alibaba”), that will incorporate the stakes on Alibaba and on Yahoo Japan (not sold to Verizon). Of course, the deal is far from close, but Yahoo might not have many alternatives to accept whatever price Verizon decides to offer… (Story)