Tech / Telecom news — 22 Jun 2017

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Connectivity

In the US, analysts expect T-Mobile to maintain momentum, and net add market share in 2Q17, in a somewhat cooler market this quarter vs. commercially aggressive 1Q. But more heating is expected in the coming quarters, with the new iPhone (expected for the Fall) and 600MHz deployment as key catalysts (Story)

Cloud

Wal-Mart and Amazon are in a total war to dominate retail in the US, and this could now affect the cloud market, as Wal-Mart is pushing its software providers to use Microsoft Azure instead of AWS, in an effort to erode what’s perceived as Amazon’s cash-generation engine (e.g. supporting aggressive e-commerce pricing) (Story)

Oracle’s project to shift their business to the cloud seems to be working beyond expectations, and in their quarterly results yesterday, success in web-based, on-demand computing services impressed analysts and helped achieve a total +2.8% revenue growth (to $10.89bn/Q). Stock rose more than 10% in after hours trading (Story)

Devices

Virgin Mobile USA, an MVNO working on Sprint’s network, said yesterday they will be the first “iPhone-only” carrier in the world, in what’s seen as an effort to address the premium, high-tier segments in the US market, where the Virgin brand may be appealing (as e.g. Virgin Airlines already have a significant penetration) (Story)

The US department of Energy is granting six companies (including Intel and Nvidia) $258m to work on supercomputing technology, and try to catch up with current Chinese leadership in the field. China now holds the two first spots in the list of the fastest computers in the world, according to a document released this week (Story)

HARDWARE ENABLERS

Networks

Liquid Telecom, an African startup building “super fast broadband networks” in south, central and eastern Africa, is prepared to raise $600m in a bond issue, to fund for further network expansion. The company is selling fibre backhaul links to mobile carriers across the continent, including MTN, Bharti, Vodafone and Orange (Story)

SOFTWARE ENABLERS

Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft seen as the only player that can compete with Google in developing the cognitive skills (“world understanding”) required to make virtual assistants’ answers more natural / “intelligent”. Having their own, large scale search operation (Bing) is a key asset for this, and a differentiation opportunity for Cortana (Story)

Analytics / Big Data

Meanwhile, in China, Alibaba’s forecast to grow +45–49% this year, which drove a large increase in valuation, relies to a large extent on its evolution to become a “big data conglomerate”, with the use of massive data aggregated from their shopping, movies, finance and logistics businesses, as a key value added for merchants (Story)

IPOs

Altice USA has raised $1.9bn in its IPO, with an implicit valuation of $22bn, and shares will begin trading today at NYSE. Proceeds from the sale are now expected to be used to reduce the large company’s debt, and the shares could be a vehicle for further corporate expansion in the future (e.g. merging with a mobile carrier?) (Story)

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