Tech / Telecom news — 7 Dec 2016

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

F+M convergence could start to heat up in the UK, after Sky’s announcement of its MVNO, and as Virgin Media is now reacting with more focus on own mobile service, hiring an ex-Tesco Mobile executive to lead the deployment of their new 4G platform. Virgin will have to renew its MVNO contract in the coming months (Story)

Video / Content

Some investors are pressing Disney to sell ESPN to monetise the asset ASAP and then pay a dividend or even invest in something with better future, like Netflix. This is linked to declining ESPN numbers and negative trends for live sports audiences. However, probably no one would want to pay a premium for this (Story)

At an industry event hosted by UBS, R Stephenson from AT&T commented on the success of their DirecTV Now streaming application, which has apparently beaten all expectations by reaching the initial Dec16 targets in just the first day (!) He however declined to provide detailed numbers to justify this (Story)

Enterprise

At the same UBS event, Verizon’s CEO has said that deploying fibre access out of its core footprint could be a tool they use to “steal” SME customers from cable. So Verizon apparently agrees with cable in the fact that network speeds are key to differentiate the offer. But it is not clear if that is so good for Verizon, after all… (Story)

Channels

Amazon could be preparing as much as three new, radically innovative formats for brick and mortar grocery stores to be open soon. Last Monday, they revealed the “Amazon Go” store, which would use AI-powered technology to eliminate checkouts, cash registers and lines, but they also have two drive-through prototypes (Story)

NETWORK

DT is complaining to UK’ Ofcom for the enforced legal separation of Openreach. DT owns 12% of BT and there have been lots of rumours that a BT acquisition was the next target in the German operator’s aim to be an European consolidator. After Openreach further separation, DT could now consider to leave the UK (Story)

BIG DATA & ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Uber is acquiring AI startup Geometric Intelligence, as the basis to have their own AI R&D, in a sign that this is becoming a key asset to compete in applications. Geometric Intelligence is a somewhat secretive company, trying to combine deep learning with a rule-based approach, making it possible to use much less data (Story)

OPERATIONAL TRANSFORMATION

Google has announced they will be consuming only renewable energy for its operations (basically linked to their data centres around the world) next year, and this will make them the biggest consumer of solar + wind energy in the world. The move is supposed to be enabled by falling prices and higher availability of renewable (Story)

CAPITAL ALLOCATION

Sprint’s and T-Mobile’s stocks heating up after Trump appeared in public with M Son from SoftBank who announced commitment to invest $50bn and create 50K jobs in the USA. This could be more related to VC investments through new SoftBank’s fund, but probabilities of a T-Mobile + Sprint deal could be increasing as well (Story)

Verizon finally confirmed the sale of 24 US and LatAm data centres to Equinix for $3.6bn in cash. CEO said yesterday that the deal was a consequence of Verizon “not having very much scale in data centres” so they were putting the money “to better use”. As a result, Equinix already has 175 facilites globally (Story)